October 19, 2017

Advent: A Season of Renewal

Advent: A Season of Renewal

Lately, I have been listening to OCP artists as they prepare their Advent event offerings for parishes. It takes me back to my years on parish staff, and the Advent gatherings we held. Although Lent is still a more popular time for parish missions and retreats, more and more parishes are requesting events for Advent to assist their communities with preparing for the Season of Incarnation.

I love Advent—always have. I love that the Church gives us this season that embodies what we pray each week at Mass: “…we await the blessed hope and the coming of our Savior Jesus Christ.” I love the liturgies of the Advent season, and nestled in among them, the feast of the Immaculate Conception. The prayers of these liturgies seem to me to reveal the beauty and mystery of God’s cry of love that called forth our very existence.

Advent is a time when we gather with the people who are meaningful to us. We gather with friends, with family, with colleagues. Christians sometimes debate if it is appropriate to have Christmas parties in the Advent season, but I find these gatherings to be an opportunity for me to experience the presence of God – the Incarnation – within the people I love, and help me anticipate the joyful hope of Christmas. Our busy lives make it difficult to gather during the rest of the year, but we always make time for one aother during Advent. In this season of receiving gifts, I love the reminder of the gift of these relationships in my life.

My dear friend, Sr. Gloria Therese, is a religious sister with the Carmelite Sisters of the Most Sacred Heart in Los Angeles, California. On one visit, Sr. Gloria and I strolled through the lovely rose garden on the retreat house grounds. We sat in the garden and prayed, surrounded by a spectacular array of roses, blooming in every imaginable color. In that place, Sr. Gloria Therese said to me, “This is the moment we have. This is the only moment we have to love Him.”

In the garden that day, my nose filled with the fragrance of the roses, I began to see that this present moment, with all its beauty and challenges, is the moment in which God reveals Himself to me, and the moment in which I yield to God. It is in this moment, this moment of revelation and yielding, that hope is born.

When I was on a parish staff, we came to embrace our Advent gatherings as an opportunity to love God in “this moment.” To yield to God, and to give God the moment to reveal himself to us. It is a time to present ourselves to God. As St. John Vianney said, "I look at him and he looks at me."

So, as I listen to OCP artists as they prayerfully create Advent retreats and concerts, I find myself smiling as I remember those beloved mornings in the Cathedral, in which even a staff member could relax and be present to God. The “blessed hope” of our faith is found in the person of Jesus Christ.

May this Advent be for you a season where you find your moment to love God. May it be a renewal of joy, of hope, and of love.

Laure Krupp - General Manager of Outreach and Partnerships

From OCP: Have you considered hosting an Advent event at your parish? OCP artists have many wonderful offerings in the form of retreats, concerts, prayer events. Give us a call at 871.271.3786 or email us at outreach@ocp.org to learn more.