We’ve experienced Advent so many times that when we see the word we probably don’t connect it with another word it looks like – ADVENTURE.
One of my regular go-to passages of scripture is from Sirach (Ecclesiasticus): “If you aspire to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for an adventure”. Sirach 2:1
If you aspire to follow Jesus prepare yourself for an adventure which demands maturity.
As one of my great mentors reminds me: the circumstances that I am in, whatever they are, however difficult, unwanted or unwarranted, God allows me to be in for my maturity. (Luigi Giussani).
So if I want to be mature in faith (and I do) then I need to see the circumstances that I am in, whatever they are, as the place where Jesus is working in me, moulding me into His image.
I suppose that another way of thinking of it is that while it is true to say we have been (past tense) created by God, it is even more true to say that every day we are being created (present tense) by God.
I like that image since every day I feel this creative act happening -sometimes a tender embrace, other moments a hard moulding with some sudden and shocking realignments.
I find joy and peace when I co-operate with God’s creative action.
This is the Advent adventure.
That Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) passage is worth sharing in full:
My child, if you aspire to serve the Lord,
prepare yourself for an ordeal.
Be sincere of heart. be steadfast.
and do not be alarmed when disaster comes.
Cling to Him and do not leave Him,
so that you may be honoured at the end of your days.
Whatever happens to you. accept it,
and in the uncertainties of your humble state, be patient,
since gold is tested in the fire
and the chosen in the furnace of humiliation.
Trust Him and He will uphold you,
follow a straight path and hope in him.
You who fear the Lord, wait for his mercy;
do not turn aside, for fear you fall.
You who fear the Lord, trust him,
and you will not be robbed of your reward.
You who fear the Lord, hope for those good gifts of His,
everlasting joy and mercy.
Look at the generations of old and see:
whoever trusted in the Lord and was put to shame?
Or whoever, steadfastly fearing him, was forsaken?
Or whoever called to him and was ignored?
For the Lord is compassionate and merciful,
He forgives sins and saves in the time of distress.
- Invite Jesus to deepen your appreciation of Advent as an adventure.
- Remember that the adventure of faith is provided by the circumstances that face us, whatever they are. Become aware of your fears in the face of adventure, and ask Jesus to help you to see these fears as an opportunity for intimacy with Him.
- Gently read the Sirach passage above once or twice again hearing Jesus speak these words directly to you.