Patiently Waiting — What Advent Means to Me — 2022
On December 3rd Catholic Moms Group hosted an advent retreat for moms at my parish of St. Benedict in Etobicoke. It was a day full of anticipation and love. We hadn’t gathered in a large group for a few years, due to the pandemic and now that things are open why not celebrate in a good way – through prayer, fellowship, and friendship!
We kicked off the day with a blessing from Fr. Jim, and then broke out into song, singing Christmas carols. Liz Garcia, artist extraordinaire, patiently and lovingly walked us through painting an ornament of the Holy Family. I must say I was in awe of the fact that during the activity, you could hear a pin drop in the room as we were all speaking quietly, carefully and patiently engaged in the painting activity.
As the day progressed, we had our hot Italian lunch, prayed a decade of the Rosary, and then listened to a reflection titled Patiently Waiting: Gifts Given. Shared. Received, by Teresa Hartnett, Director of Family Ministry in the Diocese of Hamilton. It was a beautiful reflection on waiting, wondering, the miracle of Christmas, and how we can take these fruits and apply them to our own families.
While praying the joyful mysteries that day, I was struck by Mary’s journey. She was told by the angel that she would give birth to the Redeemer of the world. How awesome and powerful is that? Then her visit to Elizabeth her cousin, pregnant in her advanced age with John the Baptist. Elizabeth recognizes that Mary is the “Mother of her Lord” when she sees her and her child “leapt in her womb” aware of the presence of God in their midst. Moving on to the nativity, it was in that meager manger that our saviour entered the world – the Good News finally in our midst to bring us peace and joy. Then the presentation in the temple, where Jesus is presented to the Lord and where Simeon prophesies that this little child will be the light of the world and the salvation for many. And finally when Jesus is found in the temple, talking to the elders and asking them questions, his parents frantically searching for him for three days, filled with worry. All through these scenes, we encounter Mary, a humble mother, filled with trust and love for the Lord, and full of grace in each situation — true model for all of us.
With each scene, Mary carried herself with dignity and with grace. She praised the Lord in everything she did, knowing she had to be patient with her son and herself, knowing ultimately one day she would suffer the terrible loss of her beloved son.
Patiently waiting is a theme that we should adopt, not just for this Advent, but for always. If we take a page from Mary’s life, we should strive to be more full of grace – grateful for our lives and for what we have. We should adopt a mantle of humility, offering up our joys, our longings, our sufferings, and our sorrows to the Lord.
As we journey through this Advent season, let us be prayerful, joyful, humble, and loving to each other and to our Lord.
God Bless and Merry Christmas!
Rema Celio is a happily married mom of two young boys and lives in Toronto. She is an active member of St. Benedict Parish.