Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Advent: Week I

Subtitle: How God's Really Good About Telling You What You Need To Hear When You Need To Hear It.

Today I walked into Mass feeling frustrated and disoriented. There's so much in my life that I'm not excelling at, that I want to happen now, events and situations that I want to occur instantly. My perpetual impatience was getting the better of me again. I went in, thinking: "How long, God? Why does everything in this life take forever?"

I was wrapped up in my own self-pitying interior monologue, when the priest started his homily with the sentence: "We are here to engage in subversive activity." I snapped out of my trance and paid rapt attention from then on-I was intrigued. What subversive activity were we engaging in exactly? His answer: Advent. Essentially, his homily was about the absence of Advent in our society. Our American society is in an obesity epidemic, yes, but the real epidemic, the root of all these problems, is the epidemic of perpetual adolescence. We have lost all sense of self-control, of self-denial, of delayed gratification. We have to have whatever we want and whenever we want it-a.k.a. NOW. We have an awful difficulty telling ourselves "no" or even "not now, later."

Clearly, he continued, a culture that has this attitude has no use for Advent. And a culture that lacks the foresight to look to the good in the future, even when the present is glum, lacks hope. When he said that, the sadness of our current cultural situation struck me. How awful and how true-our culture is a culture that lacks hope. We grasp onto whatever immediate pleasure we can because all too soon the moment will pass and we'll be left empty again. Human beings simply can't live without hope-it's human nature to always be able to look down to the end of the dark tunnel and see that light. Our culture has lost the light of hope-we're lost in the darkness of the tunnel. What an awful idea-a life void of hope.

As I listened to these words, I realized they were exactly what I needed to hear. My own outlook had been sadly lacking in hope, trust, or any sort of virtue besides adolescent impatience. God's timing is the best timing, and although it may be difficult for me to always follow, He knows best. Thus, my new Advent resolution is to join the subversives, and cultivate an Advent-like attitude of patience, trust, and hope. Engage in subversive activity: celebrate Advent!

Countdown to Christmas Day:
22 days

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