A new liturgical year has just begun with the season of Advent. Perhaps this Advent of 2020 will be like no other as we struggle to make sense of a world that has been ravaged and changed dramatically by the Covid 19 pandemic- so much fear, uncertainty, insecurity and anxiety surrounds us. Turbulent and testing times indeed.

Yet Advent is a special time- a time of hope, promise, preparation, opportunity but perhaps most of all a time of invitation. What might God’s invitation be to us this Advent?

Caryll Houselander, an English spiritual writer and poet describes Advent as, ‘The season of the secret, the secret of the growth of Christ, of divine love growing in silence. It is the season of humility, silence and growth… For nine months Christ grew in his mother’s body. By his own will, she formed him from herself, from the simplicity of her daily life.’ (The Reed of God)

Is there an invitation to each one of us to enter into this secret silence and take stock honestly of our lives? Can we take time to allow that divine love to grow silently in our innermost being, as Mary did? Can we allow Jesus to gently and tenderly enfold our doubts, our fears, our hurts, our disappointments, our bitterness, our anxieties with his loving, healing presence? Can we hear him whisper words of comfort, reassurance and encouragement?

May Mary accompany us on our silent, healing Advent journey and show us how to share creatively with others all that we have received, so that we may be bearers of hope to our world.

Sr Yvonne Pilarski