Sisters of Notre Dame California
Advent Reflection Series
Wake up the World – The First Sunday of Advent
By Sister Mary Regina Robbins, SND
Jesus said to his disciples, “Be constantly on the watch! Stay awake! You do not know when the appointed time will come.” As days get colder and winter nights get darker we may feel more like pulling the covers over our heads for a few more winks! But Saint Mark’s Gospel reminds us to, “Look around you…watch with a sharp eye! Stay awake!” Advent calls us to alertness, awareness and a sense of anticipation and hope for the future. We are people on a journey, people with a vision and a call. We are people who must eventually give an account of how we have lived the Gospel of Jesus Christ.
Historically Jesus has come. We are redeemed, but that does not imply that we should go back to sleep. We embrace our redemption and believe in the Savior who has come in love. Recalling the anticipation of our ancestors in the faith as they awaited the Messiah, we anticipate the second coming, believing that no matter what the world will be saved in the victorious life, death and resurrection of Jesus. The world will not be totally overtaken by evil and destruction, despite how threatening it seems at this time. Jesus has overcome all. As Christians let us be attractive signs of joyful hope and confidence in our God.
Consecrated religious life, a vocation in the Church, is one sign of hope for our world. The Church is inviting everyone to celebrate with consecrated men and women religious this year. Beginning on the first Sunday of Advent, Pope Francis has proclaimed 2015 the Year of Consecrated Life, which will continue to February 2, 2016. This year also marks the 50th anniversary of Perfectae Caritatis, the decree on religious life, and Lumen Gentium, the Second Vatican Council’s Constitution on the Church which honors all vocations as a response to the call to holiness. Pope Francis says that the purpose is to “make a grateful remembrance of the recent past, while embracing the future with hope.” This is a good year to pray for vocations to the priesthood and religious life and to pray for those who are already serving God in this way of consecration.
The logo that the United States Bishops are using for the Year of Consecrated Life contains the phrase “Wake up the world.” It struck me that this is why I am called to stay awake. How can I as a religious sister, or any of us really wake up the world for Christ if we are asleep and missing the meaning of our Christian name, call and mission?
Consider these reflection questions as you begin the Advent season:
- What parts of me must wake up and stay awake?
- What must I do to renew enthusiasm and love for my vocation and my daily commitment to be a Christ disciple?
- How does my life wake up the world to joy and faith in Jesus Christ, the Redeemer?