30 November 2010

On Waiting

I passed this quotation on to a couple of you yesterday, and it really made the rounds from what I understood. I think that the Pope touched a chord that resonates with you. I can understand that. You are actually waiting to see what God has in store for you: in life, in love, etc. right down to the details of daily living.

Could I propose that we make this waiting incarnational and sacramental? I think that is what the Church has in mind in giving us the season of Advent. Life goes on as we wait, but it is rather subdued. We take a break, for example, from the waiting room to grab a bite in the hospital cafeteria, but we don't go to a fancy restaurant. We don't even want to. Waiting makes us sober.

If we try to live incarnational waiting, that is, if we try to keep Advent, then we run up against the frantic frivolity of the world, especially at this time of year. I really don't know what the answer is. To the extent that we can, let's keep waiting. Here is an old rule for Advent: "parties are not consonant with the Advent season." Isn't that cool? There is a lack of resonance in parties when we are trying to wait. They are discordant with the major theme of waiting.

Why does the world party while we wait? We have something (really someOne) to wait for. The world doesn't. They have to grab "it" (whatever "it" is in the situation) while they can. Why do we wait for all kind of things? Because we have hope -- we know that the wait will be fulfilled. Our world has no hope. The people of the world do not have the assurance that anything will be there at the end of the wait -- so why do it? We know for whom we are waiting so we can and want to wait.

Hope not only assures fulfillment of the wait, but it makes the wait itself beautiful. Waiting is like a majestic procession to a magnificent goal. It is the almost unbearably beautiful building of tension awaiting blessed resolution. It is one movement with the fulfillment.

This is why we wait for Christmas, for marriage, for first communion, for friendship, for death, for birth, for forgiveness, for joy. For Jesus.

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