Heart’s distractions and Advent
Advent it is a time to renew our enthusiasm even amidst the personal struggle to renew our hope towards holiness and loving. Church reminds us of that. We have to be constantly prepared to be filled with grace and love. Many people lack that due to many reasons. One of such reasons is our heart’s distractions.
Heart contents are most important to take note of. How do I feel? Do I feel good? Normally we take note of what we think but it is important to take care of what do we feel in our hearts? Motivational seminars lead us to think about our thought patterns but much deeper reality is to get in touch with what we feel inside our hearts. Do we feel good towards others and ourselves?
Our heart contains contents our experiences and struggles. In the context of advent we have a message about heart’s distractions in Lukan Gospel (LK 21). There we find the reference to the distraction of the heart. We are called to be alert and be in prayer (Lk 21,34).
What is my heart’s content?
It can have negative toxic contents due to past hurts and pain. Due to their influences one can lose enthusiasm, hope and joy in life. As a result one can become a person who spreads pessimistic thoughts around and lives a life of discouraging behavior patterns
Experiences: One Philippine family lost their only hope due to the loss of their only beloved son in a bike accident at the age of 24. From then on they kept his room locked because they were not able to heal the loss and grief. Only after a visit of a Capuchin friar they were able to handle the grief seeking God’s healing touch. A young boy feels the abandonment due to the lack of sensitivity from the part of his mother who gives importance to her cousins who are rich and not showing respect to him who is struggling to find a good job opportunity.
There are number of situations like Gaja Cyclone in Southern part of India and other events of suffering due war, violence and exploitation can affect our lives. How will I be able to overcome this and come out of that? It is the question that people ask and wait longer for realistic answers.
Particularly our young people have to be helped to see a new world and have a new way out for every challenge. Advent is a time to do something spiritual and concrete to get renewed. Discouraging times are moments to get strengthened in God’s love and grace. People lose hope due to lack of continuity in grace and love.
Rich Symbols in Advent Season: Advent readings are full of rich Symbols pregnant with deeper meaning. According to Fr. Enzo Bianchi We have to pay attention to note the meaning and symbolism in the Sacred readings of the Advent. The message is God in Jesus as a prophet helps to increase the hope in time of trial, darkness and persecution. God will remove the veil. God will act to respond.
In Sacred readings 3 spaces are referred to as our living space: Earth, heaven and sea and at the end everything seems to be returning to chaos. This is what happens in some painful situations of people’s lives where they seem to reach a situation where they don’t see a return. And here comes the hope-filled message that in this chaotic condition a part will become a new creation, cosmos will be transformed to become new in God’s kingdom.
A time to have positive heart content
For us believers in Jesus these struggles symbolically become a part in the His passion, pain and abandonment. And in those trying moments there comes a new dawn. When we reach the end point grace of God continues to works. All that we need to do is to understand the signs and prepare ourselves. Advent is a time that we fill our hearts with God’s love and human affective warmth. With love in our hearts we can spread good thoughts in and around us. Love filled Franciscans will transmit hope and meaning even in difficult moments.
A time to wait with patience and in love: Advent invites us to be awake in waiting – invoking ‘marana tha’ (1Cor 16, 22). Come Lord (Ap 22, 20), soon. It is time to wait for His coming with patience and in faith. We have to be alert and be in prayer not once in a while but constantly. People lose hope due to lack of continuity in grace and love. In mercy, spiritual formation we have to be reborn every day. The World for some of our youth is without true love, meaning and affection. To regain that enthusiasm we had earlier, we have to renew ourselves in God’s love and share it to all. To share that we have to place ourselves in God’s loving presence in slient waiting and attempt to see the reality in a deeper way with the eyes of God. Best wishes to experience Jesus during this Advent as a Personal Saviour of new meaning, hope and life.
(As Br. Roberto Genuin our General Minister and his Council has requested the General Formation Secretariat to finalize the text of the Ratio we request your special prayers so that the expert committee will be inspired to make the final correction inspired by the Spirit of the Lord and the suggestions from the last General Chapter).
Fraternal wishes to have a hope filled Advent Season.
Brs. Charles Alphonse & Jaime Rey Ofm Cap
General Formation Secretariat