Bishop Barron on The Spirituality of Advent


[Music] we’re talking about the spirituality of Advent which is the great liturgical season of waiting and I want to start in a perhaps unusual place it’s an avant-garde German film I know called Run Lola Run Lola has to get an extraordinary amount of money in this extraordinarily short period of time at the high point of the movie Lola is running running running trying to accomplish this goal and she slows to a trot then she looks up and she says Iike Vata yatta her German fort I’m waiting I’m waiting now there’s never an indication in the movie that she’s the least bit religious God has never mentioned once but there’s no question that at that moment it’s something like a prayer and then of course oddly the whole plot resolves itself and she accomplished what she wants it’s as though the prayer was answered Lola’s always struck me as a really interesting Advent figure we’re a go-go culture we run run run accomplish our goals but at certain point we realized we can’t do it and we look up and we say yay FAFSA I’m waiting I’m waiting for God and of course Lola has all kinds of antecedents in the Bible think of someone like Abraham who’s given this great promise that you’ll be the father of many nations even though he’s a very old man his wife is a very old woman God makes this promise and then for years Abraham has to wait and even as he gets older his wife gets older the promise becomes less and less likely he probably hears all the objections of his of his confreres but he continues to wait and to trust we have to learn and Advent the time to do it we have to learn how to put ourselves on God’s timetable in God’s frame of reference not our own very often in the spiritual life we’re not ready for what God wants to accomplish for us God has promised something to us but we’re not ready for it yet and we have to go through a kind of long period of training in the divine school like any kid learning how to play an instrument any kid learning a sport you have to go through a long period of training and discipline before you’re ready san agustin talks about prayer that God sometimes delays in answering prayer why because he wants the heart of the prayer to expand so as to receive what God wants to give so we ask for something and we expect it but the heart is not prepared yet the heart isn’t isn’t big enough yet to receive what God wants to give and so God makes us wait and as we wait the heart as it were dilates the heart gets bigger more receptive so that when God is ready on his own timetable to give us what he wants then we’re finally ready for it all of this I think is deeply inscribed in the biblical way of approaching God and so during the season of Advent we’re all called to enter into this space now I for one have always found this difficult I don’t like to wait I’m a kind of impatient person I like to accomplish my goals and get them done when I see fit I hate waiting in a doctor’s office I hate waiting in traffic it’s very salutary it’s a very good thing for people like me and and most people in our culture are kind of like to be that way it’s very salutary that we are made of times to wait to slow down which is why some of the great practices of the church are very helpful during Advent I’m thinking for example of the Rosary prayer one of the great prayers in the church and I think what the rosary is it doesn’t get you anywhere you start praying the rosary and you go right around the circle and you come right back to where you started from where have you gotten well nowhere in particular you haven’t made some great progress you’ve gone around in this slow meditative circle and the Rosary by its very nature compels you to slow down you can’t really zip your way through it even my grandmother who paraded at 95 miles an hour it still took her time to get through the Rosary put your rosary around your rear view mirror and that just is a kind of a highest decoration keep it there as a tool of prayer next time you’re caught in traffic don’t bang the steering wheel that’s what I usually do or shout it at the frustration of it take the Rosary down and think okay maybe the Lord is purposely stopping me he’s making me wait now good take the Rosary out and pray that very slow meditative prayer keep a list in your car of people that you want to pray for keep it right there on your dashboard or in your glove compartment and when you’re stuck in traffic take it out and pray for those particular people the car closed in quiet you know when you’re by yourself turn the radio off – quiet closed in space is a good place for prayer think of it as a little bit of a monastic cell and pray the rosary or pray in a focused way for certain people those can be great Advent practices along this line of Spiritual waiting [Music] you [Music]

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