Advent Reflections – December 7, 2015

Open to Life: Real Life

So, how does being open to life manifest itself in each of our own daily lives?

To start with, it means being open to the people we immediately come in contact with. When we greet one another with a smile, when we stop what we are doing to look someone in the eye and engage in conversation with them, we are being open to their life. We are affirming their human dignity and worth by encountering them, rather than brushing past them.

It means looking beyond our circle, our comfort zone. Consider visiting  a nursing home, even if you don’t know anyone there. Participate in a food drive and actually go to the food bank, rather than just dropping off a few cans in the bin. Serve a meal at a soup kitchen or homeless shelter and don’t just stay behind your ladle – actually engage with the people you are serving.

It means knowing that there are people out in our shared world who do not have the same values as you, do not have the same priorities as you and perhaps do not even see the purpose of your life. Yet, instead of giving into despair, thinking that humanity is lost, or seeking vengeance for suffering others have inflicted upon us,  we choose to hope, and despite it all, to love.

So we can’t allow ourselves to be stopped by the misfortunes of life or the suffering that we’re enduring, as if this had no meaning. Through them, we can discover that God is knocking on our door and wants to call us again to life, and open up to us the ways of life.

        Archbishop Vingt-Trois, Archbishop of Paris, France

November 18, 2015

How is God calling me to live a life that is more open and welcoming? 

Where is Grace?

For a blog about finding daily grace, it has been so difficult to hear of the violence, hatred, and suffering that is happening daily in our world, in particular Beirut and Paris. In the face of such despair, it is tempting to cry out, “Where is God? Where is His presence? Where is His grace?” We might even be tempted to abandon our hope, to give into the false testimony of the Devil, for indeed he is the one nudging us on this path. When we are faced with feelings such as this, we must recall the promises God has made. The promise of His continued presence, of His loving mercy, and of His grace.

Where can I go from your spirit?

From your presence, where can I flee?

If I ascend to the heavens, you are there;

if I lie down in Sheol, there you are.

If I take the wings of dawn

and dwell beyond the sea,

Even there your hand guides me,

your right hand holds me fast.

  • Psalm 139: 7-10


The LORD’s acts of mercy are not exhausted,

his compassion is not spent;

They are renewed each morning—

great is your faithfulness!

  • Lamentations 3:22-23


So let us confidently approach the throne of grace to receive mercy and to find grace for timely help.

  • Hebrews 4:16

God’s grace is everywhere. However, because of our free will, it is up to us whether or not we choose to participate in it.

the-eiffel-tower-103417_640I leave you with this quote from Cardinal Vingt-Trois, the Archbishop of Paris:

Faced with the violence of men, may we receive the grace of a firm heart, without hatred. May the moderation, temperance and control that has been shown so far, be confirmed in the weeks and months to come; let no one indulge in panic or hatred. We ask that grace be the artisan of peace. We need never despair of peace if we build on justice.