Its theme was "O Come Thou Wisdom." A great local group, Jubilee Faithful (read about them and use their resources on our new Community page), sponsored the afternoon.
Isn't that a perfect theme? "COME, WISDOM!" amplified my heart's aching call for insight, understanding, and hope. Sharing our longing for wisdom was especially powerful and important after the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Connecticut, which had happened just two days before.
The structure was simple and lovely. It combined a vespers service, silent and shared reflection, and Taize prayer. With perfect pace, the words and music and silence created exquisite spaciousness for Presence - mine to myself, ours to each other, and most richly for God's presence in and among us.
We were gently and expertly guided by Mary J. Novak, whose work as a lawyer led her to a second graduate degree in theology and ministry and to international work in peacebuilding. Mary is also a trained spiritual director and retreat leader. This year she's a Special Assistant at LCWR and a Chaplain-in-Residence at Georgetown University.
Mary's reflection introduced me to the new ideas and insights that keep nourishing and challenging me. Have you heard of Jurgen Moltmann? I knew his name (a renowned German theologian, born in 1926). That was the beginning and end of my knowledge.
As someone said, "Moltmann is a hope guy." Mary told us he uses two different words for the future. "Futuram" extrapolates what's happening now, as if our future reality is driven by the present realities. Futuram is the future that flows from current conditions.
But then there's "Adventus." That's the reality that flows toward us from God - a future that can surprise us. Adventus doesn't depend solely on the present. Adventus enters if we are awake to its possibilities... if we are willing to be drawn into it... if we make space within ourselves for this holy Coming.
For me, amid life's challenges and contradictions, it takes effort to keep myself soft and nourishing and ready for the seed of Adventus that will arrive without my planning.
The image for me is of a womb richly ready to welcome,cradle, and nurture a newly formed egg. The future that God offers will not be born unless I am willing to carry it and to labor it into life.
The essential step is inner readiness to let possibility exist in me. Am I open enough to accept divine possibility as it comes toward me? Am I strong enough to hold and honor divine possibility when Adventus is small and quiet, and Futuram shouts all around me?
Becoming a vessel and vehicle for divine possibility is one of the meanings of Incarnation, the feast we celebrate for these 12 days of Christmas.
I feel very blessed to recognize that I experience Adventus and Incarnation most fully in community. So I celebrate Christmas with gratitude for the communities that open and sustain me in readiness for God's unexpected arrivals in our times.
Solidarity with Sisters team - each and all, you are amazing catalysts and companions in openness to Adventus. Working with you has changed me.
LCWR and Catholic Sisters - you continue to awe and inspire me with your deep and thorough capacity to embody Adventus, to be the change that God wishes for the world.
My family, dream group, parish study group, other friends - without you, I would have been lost on this journey long ago.
Jubilee Faithful, especially Kathy and Susan - you bring Adventus through gatherings that transform frustration into grace-full community.
And Mary Novak - you gave me, and many, an exquisite three hours of Adventus reflection that continues to take root in me. Thank you, thank you, thank you.