2 Dec 2010

Advent Reflections: What does Advent mean to me?

This year, Advent is a time of reflection and questioning for me. I recently lost someone close to me and I find myself ‘in the wilderness’ as this Sunday’s Gospel (2nd Sunday of Advent) phrases it. In the midst of my grief and loss I find myself questioning the true meaning of life. Pope John Paul II reminds us in Fides et Ratio (Faith and Reason) that “no-one can avoid this questioning, neither the philosopher nor the ordinary person” (FR 26). So what can we do when we find ourselves asking these questions? We can turn with confidence to Christian Revelation which is “concerned with the ultimate meaning of life and it illumines the whole of life with the light of the Gospel, to inspire it or to question it” (General Directory for Catechesis 116).

Advent is a perfect time for reflecting on the meaning of life:

In Advent, we prepare to celebrate the first coming of Jesus Christ, who in becoming fully human, showed us how much God loves us (cf. Jn 3:16).

Advent is a time where we walk with Our Lady in pondering and reflecting on God’s promises to us who is always faithful (cf. Rom 15:4-9)

Advent is a time for taking stock of our lives and asking ourselves ‘have we lost sight of the true meaning of life?’ It is a time when we hear anew John the Baptist’s cry to repent and “prepare a way for the Lord” (Mt 3:3).

In Advent, we also prepare for the second coming of Christ. It is only then that the full mystery and meaning of all that God has done for us in our lives will be revealed: “we shall know the ultimate meaning of the whole work of creation and of the entire economy of salvation and understand the marvellous ways by which his Providence led everything towards its final end” (Catechism of the Catholic Church 1040).

I pray this Advent for all our brothers and sisters – especially those who struggle with the question of life’s meaning – that we will all come to a greater knowledge and experience of God’s abundant love for us, and that in response, we may increase our love for Him.


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