Advent is a liturgical season of great significance to Christians. We have the opportunity to reflect on, and prepare for, Jesus entering the world as a child in need of love and care.
While they were there, the time came for her to have her child, and she gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn (Luke 2:6-7).
As we contemplate Jesus as a child, vulnerable and fragile, we are able to see his greatness. The example of his life reminds us of the fact that we do not need great wealth, power, or prestige in order to be accepted and loved. We spend our lives chasing positions, seeking recognition and admiration without realizing that one glance at the child Jesus is enough to see our own fragile needs as humans. When we welcome God, we let his purity and love manifest itself in us and in our world. His love saves and transforms us, so that we are able to discover that our ability for greatness lies in our vulnerability and the places we seem poor.
Though he was in the form of God, he did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness (Phil. 2:6-7).
Advent invites us to look inward at who we really are in the eyes of God; to notice who we really are in our hearts. It is by staring into the tender eyes of the baby Jesus that we allow him to enter our hearts.
Jesus invites us during Advent to embrace him in his own vulnerability, because he fills the vulnerable places in us — our sadness and loneliness. He is with us in our suffering and fear, bringing his light and his peace. He nourishes us with his unfailing love.
Liliana Montoya and her family live in Dayton, Ohio, where she serves as the Hispanic Initiative Coordinator at the Institute for Pastoral Initiatives at the University of Dayton.
The invitation in Christmas is to reflect and shift our lives towards God’s wishes for us. Our hearts and activities should move in the same direction and be able to celebrate together the Nativity of Jesus.
December 22, 2019 – For Pope Francis, a perfect Christmas begins with us “making a mess” — that is to say taking a risk, seeing and speaking out about bad situations, doing something new, something different, something for justice, something that could change the misfortunes of the present so that the blessed future might arrive.
December 15, 2019 – “The desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom. They will bloom with abundant flowers… They will see the glory of the LORD,” the prophet Isaiah tells us in today’s first reading. It is a beautiful image, but I can hardly imagine it. When we speak of the desert, the first image that comes to mind for me is not flowers and lilies blooming, but what I see in photos and videos of immigrants trying to cross the southern border into the US.
December 1, 2019 – The Universal Apostolic Preferences give us ways into contemplating the mystery which Advent itself unfolds for us. They invite us to a ‘contemplative listening’. In each we are directed to hear and follow the Spirit who is calling to us. Often, too, we will come to recognize those who are already on the way before us; those who can lead us and teach us.
December 1, 2019 – This Advent, the Jesuit network will be inviting you to engage more deeply with God through Ignatian spirituality, a spirituality that challenges us to be both contemplative and active. Through your Advent prayer, ask: Do I hear the cries of the earth and the poor? How do I respond? Does my response point to a hope-filled future?
November 8, 2019 – Our Fall 2019 workshop, "Spiritual Direction for Young Adults" was held on Saturday, November 2, 2019, at Ignatius House in Atlanta, Georgia. The workshop was recorded, and the video is now available on our website. Thank you to all who participated!