This month, we end our current liturgical year, and begin a new liturgical year with the first Sunday of Advent on November 28. The secular world gets excited for new beginnings, resolutions, and a better way with New Year’s Day. As a Church, though, we have an opportunity now, at this liturgical transition time, to have a conversation with Jesus. To reflect back, look around, turn in, and step out again in love. The autumn weather and nature scenes remind us that things die, there is time for rest, and God is always at work, bringing new life to our hearts, our homes, and the world.
What has this past liturgical year looked like for you? How has God been at work in your life over the past year?
If Jesus was sitting with you, how would you describe your life right now to him?
If Jesus was sitting on the sofa with me right now, I’d offer him a cup of coffee (I wonder how he’d take that) and a cozy blanket. I’d tell him I’m both tired and grateful. I’d tell him I love my husband and children, and I feel so blessed by them. Blessed both by their love and by the ways they stretch me to become a holy woman. I’d tell Jesus I know he’s working in my life, but I can’t see the whole path ahead. I’d tell him I hear him when he plants the Jesus Prayer (Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner) in my heart when I’ve got no other words, or when I can’t get the lyrics, “Abba, I belong to you” out of my head. I’d thank him for the saints, and their words of wisdom and consolation. I’d say, “Remember when Saint John of the Cross said, ‘Faith and love are like the blind man’s guides. They will lead you along a path unknown to you, to the place where God is hidden.’—that’s kind of how I feel right now.” And if Jesus was sitting on the sofa with me, I think I’d like to sit with him for a nice long time. No words necessary.
We have the grace of entering into a new liturgical year when Advent begins. We can intentionally simplify our homes and our schedules, even when the world tempts us to speed up for fear of missing out. We will begin again by waiting on the Lord to come. We will not begin the new liturgical year as we often begin the New Year, sure of our own resolve and ability to change our lives. We begin with hearts set on Jesus—the One who is to come.
As Jesus would finish his coffee (I’m presuming), and before I’d offer him a refill, I think I’d like to turn to him, and out of the quiet say, “Jesus, I entrust this day to you. Jesus, I entrust my work and my worries to you. Jesus, I entrust my children to you. Jesus, I entrust my marriage to you. Jesus, I entrust this next year to you.”
So, as one year in the Church ends and another begins, let’s entrust what has been, what is now, and what will be to God. In the words of the late Rev. John Dunne, C.S.C., “For what I have been given, Thanks; for what is to be, Yes.”