The word "Advent" comes from Latin and means "coming." Its purpose is to look forward to the coming of Christ. Through prayer, we can enter into God's world and ask Him to prepare our hearts the way He prepared all of history to receive the gift of Christ. Each week, we will share a new Advent Prayer with our community to help you make sure there's "room at the inn" of your heart this year.
“This is the time to open our hearts, to ask ourselves concrete questions about how and for whom we spend our lives." - Pope Francis
Sunday, December 9 | Kurt Kaufmann
The Lord has done great things for us; we are filled with joy.
- Psalm 126:3
At this time of year, I often focus on all the great things God has done for me. To begin, God sent His only Son who entered into this world to guide us on our journey to heaven. This relationship with the Lord has grounded me in my faith to reveal what is most important in life. God also led me to my wife with whom I share this journey and relationship. God has blessed us with a loving family where we share our faith and together seek to do His will. Finally, God directed me to Georgetown Prep where I have an opportunity to teach awesome young men, and more importantly to open their eyes to recognize the Lord in the marginalized and their hearts to serving them with dignity and love. All of this fills me with tremendous joy. For St. Ignatius being mindful and thankful of the great things that God has done for us is essential to experiencing joy. During this Advent season, consider what great things God has done for you. Give thanks and be filled with joy.
- Kurt Kaufmann
Lord, in this Advent season, we want to take time to thank You for sending Your Son to be born as a baby and to become our Savior, so that He can bring peace into the hearts of those that believe and joy to those that find their hope in Him.
Sunday, December 2 | Fr. Van Dyke
Your ways, O LORD, make known to me;
teach me your paths,
Guide me in your truth and teach me,
for you are God my savior,
and for you I wait all the day.
- Ps. 25:4-5
One of the harder truths we face as human beings is that we don’t always know what we are doing, we don’t always know where we are going, and we don’t know how to get there. It takes a lot of humility to admit that. One of the great gifts of Advent is the realization that God knows this about us, which is precisely why he sends his Son. This is the reason Jesus says of himself “I am the way, the truth, and the life.” Learning God’s way is not a matter of picking our way through the minefield of life, but rather coming to know Jesus as friend and brother, and learning to love and forgive the way he loves and forgives, learning to have a heart like his.
The process of coming to know Jesus—coming to know how he hopes I will love and respond to others and to challenges in my life even as he learned to love and respond to others and to challenges in his life—is the process of discernment. It is not following in Jesus’ footsteps per se—I do not live in the dusty wastes of 1st Century Palestine—but rather pondering how I might try to do the Father’s will as Jesus did here in the busy 21st Century DC Metropolitan area. It is a matter of trying to see others through the Father’s eyes, even as Jesus did, and of imagining how I might respond to them. In this we find our joy, for here and only here we find the purpose for our being and the way in which our life finally and eternally makes sense—when we live for that for which we are created, which is ultimately for God’s love. And that can only be responded to with gratitude—not just “saying thanks,” but living gratefully.
This year at Prep has been designated the Year of Discernment. Our theme grows out of our experience over the past few years, beginning with the Year of the Examen that asked us to attend to the work of God in our communal and personal lives, followed by the Year of Reconciliation in which we grappled with the reality of slavery in our institutional past and with some contemporary issues of injustice. In this year we have already been called to respond to questions about our institutional culture, some of them fair, some not. But the deeper call is not just to respond to this or that issue of the day; the deeper call is one to commitment—a commitment to discern as Jesus did, trusting that the Spirit of God will work in us and amongst us and will lead us if we are willing to listen in prayer and to each other.
Rev. James R. Van Dyke, S.J.
Lord, giver of all good gifts,
Give us the light to see your way, and your eyes to see it in our lives.
Give us the ears to hear your call, and your mind to form our response.
Give us your heart to leap in ours when we meet any one of your children,
And give us your love to love them as our sisters and our brothers. Amen