Advent Hope
Christ’s Light Through the Darkness of the Night


Advent Hope
Christ’s Light Through the Darkness of the Night

We are entering the threshold of another season of Advent.  This is a time full of promise and newness, an opportunity for deeper conversion, held in a posture of hope and joy, in pregnant anticipation for Christ’s light to be born anew through us. We hear in the 37th Chapter, Pilgrims of Hope in Communion, “Hope is our way of being in the Church.  It is foundational in all that we believe.  It carries us forward in mission.  As we await the second coming of Jesus, we evangelize as persons of hope to bring the Good News to the poor and to care for the earth, our common home.” C3, p20.  Deep in the darkness of our souls, where restless ruminations and anxieties threaten to overwhelm us with “wars and rumours of wars”, and over the destructive forces at work to the ruin of our home, the earth, Jesus says, “Do not be alarmed.  Such things must happen, but the end is still to come.” Mt. 24:6

We are people of hope in the reign of God now, before his coming, growing in Christ light and cooperating with the transformations of darkness into light we encounter in our real day to day living.  How do we do this?  We carry on as Jesus called us to in Matthew’s gospel, “As you go proclaim the good news, ‘The kingdom of God has come near.’  Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse the lepers, cast out demons.  You received without payment give without payment.”  Mt. 10 7-

Who are the sick, the walking wounded we meet day by day, or the walking dead needing our hands and hearts to raise them, the lepers living in isolation on the margins of community seeking fullness of life?  Where are the systemic evils of our time and place, afflicting and oppressing the poorest of peoples, and even the earth herself?

Our families, Oblate community and wider community are a starting point.  We pull out the family Advent wreathes and open-hearted children, grandchildren join us at our tables to grow in the mystery of Christ’s light within and around us.  We take note of those who are missing and reach out to bring in the lost ones.  In our families, as in Oblate community, who don’t we see at our gatherings and tables, or who stays away on account of us?  The call for conversion goes on, and our inner healing is as important as our service of outreach to others.

Recently, I received a message from an older first cousin I’d not come to know in my lifetime.  Her mother, my aunt, was more of a family story than a person we knew well.  This was a tragic case of family secrets and judgments on both sides.   A year ago, this cousin came to visit an aunt of ours in the area, and asked if it was possible to meet with her cousins (in this case me and my brother who live in the vicinity) for supper while she was here on a weeklong visit.  I opened my door and welcomed her, along with my aunt and uncle for lunch.  We shared a table and stories of family together, that stirred healing for each one of us. It was a brief visit of a few hours that established our communion with one another.

In her message to me recently, she spoke of how God was leading her and how she longed to come home to her faith (Roman Catholic).  For some time, she revealed, she’s been living with friends, without the stability of her own space or home, with little income, and with very poor and deteriorating health.  I knew this all to be true, as I’d seen her and was witness to her ill health.  I messaged her back, saying I’d walk with her to help connect her with a community of faith, and to work towards getting her into assisted living care near to where she’s living now in California.  With research and Oblate support, we arranged that she meet with a priest nearby who will do what he can to support her search for a home and for a return to the sacraments and the home of her faith.

When we arranged for a priest to meet with her, and I asked if she was willing to give her name, number, and address to the priest for a visit and to assist her to finding care, she wrote back saying, “Yes please!”  Such was her yearning for community and for a return “home” to the roots of her faith. She expressed wanting reconciliation, eucharist, communion with others, and a place to call home.  I am on a journey home with her, and grateful for the graces we’ve each received to heal the past, bring to light all that’s kept hidden and needing to be touched by Christ’s light in and through us.

Our wider communities where we live are another place to go out to meet others in our ordinary living.  We have the freedom to serve on boards, committees or groups seeking to turn difficult circumstances into life giving possibilities; to put our creative imagination to use for the greater good of any given social or ecological crisis.  We follow Christ through all of this and more in communion (for it takes many of us to do many different things) as ‘Christ’ light in the darkest of nights, in faith, that no matter what it looks like out there, our sharing in the burdens is a sharing in the cross of Christ with confidence and hope in the resurrection.  May our time of Advent, be a grace of deeper conversion, and deeper living as ‘Pilgrims of Hope in Communion’.

By Lucie Leduc