An Advent Reflection

Sr. Véronique lives in a Parisian suburb in France. She was recently selected to be part of ‘The Life‘ – a virtual panel of religious sisters from all over the world who write on a variety of topics – sponsored by the Global Sisters Report.

Here’s an advent reflection from Sr. Véronique:

In the etymology of the word « Advent », we hear an orientation – ad – but the aim of it doesn’t seem to be so clear: venire, ‘come!’ And so it is: Advent invites us to turn towards someone coming. As two people walking towards each other, they would definitely meet on the way and not at the end of the journey.

Before entering religious life, I searched for a congregation for such a long time that at times I thought God had forgotten about me. Everybody around me seemed to be able to achieve their goal (get married, get a job, travel…) and I kept looking for a congregation… I finally discovered La Xavière (the Xaviere Sisters) when I was 35… so more than 15 years after my decision to become a religious sister.

In the first year of my novitiate, as I got used to the Ignatian habit of reviewing my life, I realized just how much God had been present in my quest: He had not stood at the end of my journey (as an aim to target and reach) but He came to me and walked with me.

Here comes the significance of Advent in a very concrete way: God is coming to us who are yearning for Him and the meeting is not only to come but is already a reality. The feast of the Nativity sheds precious light on our lives: before a baby, all anxieties and worries often easily fade away. All the more for Jesus – the Word of God – silent and vulnerable, present like treasure to be taken care of: He seems to engrave in our hearts an orientation that will definitely remain and that has something to see with Hope.

As a teacher near Paris, I hear so many different voices expressing disillusions. Not only those of colleagues experiencing ruptures and losses in their private lives, but also those of teenagers who are worried because of the violence they witness – in their family or in the world – and the lack of security they fear regarding their future place in society and the ecological concerns. Most of these people – adults and teens – are not Christians, but like all of us, they thirst for justice, peace, security.

I do believe the season of Advent has something to tell them: in the present of our lives, certainly in a remote part of ourselves, there is a quiet place where we can sit in silence and review the traces of Hope. Helping them discover this place is one of my implicit but major targets in my educational options.

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