Advent with a Carmelite Spirit
“Each one of us waits and longs for redemption, for the new birth, new life, new hope that is symbolised in a newborn child – light in darkness."
– Elizabeth Ruth Obbard –
Fourth Week of Advent Reflection Questions
Homily begins at 7 minutes and 58 seconds
– These words from Pope Francis complement Bishop Greg's homily:
Mary’s is a faith that sets her on a journey. The young woman of Nazareth, after hearing the message of the angel, “went with haste into the hill country” to visit and assist Elizabeth, her cousin. She did not consider it a privilege to be chosen as the Mother of the Saviour; she did not lose the simple joy of her humility after the visit of the angel. She did not keep thinking about herself within the four walls of her house.
Rather, she experienced the gift she had received as a mission to be carried out; she felt urged to open the door and go out; she became completely caught up in God’s own “haste” to reach all people with his saving love. That is why Mary set out on her journey. She chose the unknowns of the journey over the comfort of her daily routines, the weariness of travel over the peace and quiet of home; the risk of a faith that makes our lives a loving gift to others over a placid piety.
– In what ways, this Christmas, are you caught up in God's “haste" to reach out to others with healing love?
– What unknowns, weariness, and risks are you being called to choose over comfort, predictability, and placid piety this Christmas?
Third Week of Advent Reflection Questions
Homily begins at 8 minutes and 53 seconds
– In his homily, Bishop Greg says, “Live according to the simplicity of the truth in goodness. And when we do that, God's holiness will go out to others and it will attract others."
What does that statement mean to you in terms of simply living according to the truth of who you are? What does it mean for you not to compare yourself to others, but to live simply within the truth of your uniqueness, in all your limitations and giftedness?
– In the first reading, Zephaniah says that the Lord “will sing joyfully because of you, as one sings at festivals.” Because of you! Have you ever thought that God might be singing because of you? Have you ever let your image of God expand that far? Have you ever let God be one who sings you into existence, in the most profound sense of the word?
Second Week of Advent Reflection Questions
Homily begins at 8 minutes and 32 seconds
– What stirred within you as Bishop Greg presented the two different kinds of experiences of doing something wrong (the “me" focused experience and the “loved one" focused experience)?
– What is it like for you to hear John the Baptist (and John of the Cross) say to you personally, “If only you knew the love of God as I know it, you would do anything to have it"?
– What do you need to do this Advent in order to change inwardly and to open yourself to Jesus?
First Week of Advent Reflection Questions
Homily begins at 7 minutes and 51 seconds
– How does reflecting on your mortality shape the way in which you live your daily life?
– Can you identify any ways in which your heart is shrunken and hardened by the cares of life?
– This Advent, what are some ways in which you can cultivate greater freedom of heart and trust in God?