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4th Sunday of Advent

Alice Gazeley, CND Associate

Faithful to the grace of our contemplative stance, we choose to live

with deeper understanding and intentionality, responding in hope

to the cry of the periphery in our daily lives.

These words have been our constant companion for the past five years, words which reflect the same message spoken repeatedly in our Advent liturgies reminding us to value “the moment” by being alert, being fully awake to, being conscious of, the power of a moment and our response to it.

The Angel said to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you, therefore the child to be born will be holy; he will be called Son of God”. Mary responded, “... let it be done to me according to your word”. And then the Angel left. He left without any script on how she might fulfill her promise. What were her thoughts when she became fully aware of the magnitude of her promise? How did she still her heart as she fluctuated between her Magnificat and her undisclosed future? We are told that she pondered everything in her heart as she accompanied her Son from Conception to his Birth, Passion, Death, and Resurrection.

When Marguerite heard Our Lady say to her, “Go, I will not abandon you”, her response was immediate. Her family were the first to witness the radical transformation in her. Like Mary, neither was Marguerite given a script to follow as she sailed to Canada to participate in the establishment of Ville Marie. How did she create that balance between palpable joy and intense uncertainty? Led by the Spirit and her undying trust in Mary, she also, I feel certain, emulated Mary and pondered all in her heart.

We, also, have found favour with God, and although we may not have experienced the same dramatic invitations as Mary and Marguerite did, we nonetheless are being invited to remain alert and at every “moment” to become the best version of ourselves, that is, become fully human. We as well, are left without a script. We must unpack our own responses. Advent is a time to reach back in our memory and ponder our life’s journey thus far. How have we struck that harmony between our invitations and our responses? Let us remember with a smile the many, many, moments when we gave life our best and, let us remember those where we fell short, as “teachable moments”, and ponder both in our hearts. Fortified by the Holy Spirit, let us remain acutely aware that each moment is “pregnant with possibilities”.

My prayer is that each of us takes the time during Advent to write our own personal Magnificat and while doing so, come to grips with the fact that the only tragedy in life is that we do not successfully return to the Father.


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