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Sisters of St. Joseph of Carondelet










FIRST SUNDAY OF ADVENT, 2016 REFLECTION BY CARMEN GRACE POPPERT
ISAIAH 2. 1- 5


For those of you that I have not yet met, my name is Carmen Grace Poppert. I am a senior at St. Catherine University. In the Spring I will be graduating with a double major in Spanish and Elementary Education. Additionally, I work in Campus Ministry on the Music and Liturgy Subgroup team. I am humbled to be able to share a few words of reflection with you. 

As we begin Advent, we light one candle in the midst of all the darkness in our neighborhoods and in our world.  And this light symbolizes our longing, our desire, and our hope, in the midst of Advent.  Advent has a kind of quiet dignity to allow us to mend relationships, spend time in quiet reflection so that we may make a space for God to enter in and allow us to feel God’s presence in our hearts.

In our evening wisdom we hear from Isaiah who lived in a time, where is seemed that waring was a constant part of life.  Political intrigues and alliances divided nations and tribes.  Misery seemed to be everywhere and peoples and nations were alienated from each other as never before.  It is disheartening to think that so little seems to have changed since Isaiah spoke to Israel nearly three thousand years ago.

What a perfect time to begin Advent. 

pause

While Isaiah’s message, seems to have been written in the midst of discouragement and chaos it is still filled with hope because it is a clarian calling for us to rely on God, and not our own self-reliance for salvation.  Even when things appear desolate, he tells us to be filled with hope: our faithful God is here with us.  During Advent, we will be reminded of the prophet’s message over and over. 

Today, the First Sunday of Advent begins with two messages: Have hope and Prepare for God.

This evening’s wisdom is about a future time of unity and peace.  It feels like the right message for us today.  No matter what country we live in, there are divisions and a deep need for healing and reconciliation.  Sometimes we can’t imagine that there is any reason to have hope.

But, Isaiah reminds us that our God is faithful to us always and knows about the daily struggles in our lives.  Our God is always moving to bring us together. What is the coming together?   Well Isaiah says, that God is instructing us that we may walk in God’s path and in the light of God. Our only real hope of coming together is to come together in greater fidelity to our God.  The closer we come to our God, the closer we will come toward each other.   

When I joined Campus Ministry in the Fall of 2013, I had no idea how the many relationships I would gain through the community, students, and Sisters of St. Joseph would shape my four years at St. Catherine University. If you would have told my 18-year-old self that I would be standing up here giving a reflection at the Sister’s Advent Evening Prayer, a pray that I had attended as a first year, I would not have believed you. When I came to St. Kate’s I was more timid and introverted. But through the relationships I have gained with Campus Ministry and the Sister’s of St. Joseph I have acquired leadership skills that I will hold and cherish for the rest of my life. By experiencing the leadership that the sister’s portrayed on Sundays by reading at mass or serving as a Eucharistic Minister it has allowed me to find my own inner confidence to be able to speak up in class or speak up for injustices that I see in the world and my community. In the humble Christ-like service that the children portray each Sunday as they take up a collection for the church and set the table for the banquet of Eucharist it has taught me to be selfless. Through my role working with weddings in the Chapel, I have been able to launch couples into their newly married lives on the path of Christ.  Within my role in Campus Ministry I have connected with students and gained lasting relationships with the young women who serve as readers and Eucharistic ministers at mass. 

When we find this hope-filled unity, like that which I have found at St. Kate’s and Campus Ministry, it allows us walk on God’s path.

We have to let ourselves enter a season of getting ready. 

We might have been so stuck in discouragement that we are no longer attentive to signs of hope, to graces being offered us, to any light at all.  Could this Advent season be one in which I give myself to more opportunities for togetherness, for bridge building?  Sometimes genuine healing and reconciliation in our families, our communities and in our world need serious preparation.  We prepare by letting light into places of darkness. 

What nice, caring, generous things can I do that builds a bridge, without recalling a hurt or continuing my finger pointing?  Is there a friend or neighbor or church community member I have recently fought with about our differing opinions about something?  Could Advent be a time to say that our relationship is more important than our differing ideas?

Advent is not about our “getting ready” to let God come to us – this season is not about saving ourselves, but recognizing God is already with us and in us.  All we have to do is feel God’s presence in our hearts.  This wonderful season is about recognizing our own weakness yet feeling how deeply God cares for us, even in our deepest failings.  We don’t love that freely or with such depth, so we may not believe it, yet from Isaiah’s time we have been encouraged to “walk in the light of the Lord!”
As we find these ways of preparing, we can pray, with growing desire, “Come, Lord Jesus.  We await your coming.  Come O Lord.”



Sisters of Saint Joseph of Carondelet
1884 Randolph Avenue, St. Paul, MN 55105
(651) 690-7000 | Fax: (651) 690-7039

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