Wake up the world!

Many of you who know me kind of know I am not really a morning person. Much to my frustration I have a particular gift for turning off my alarm or setting it for ‘five more minutes’ which becomes then fifteen minutes and then a frantic dash ensues to make sure I get to the chapel on time. The liturgy of this first Sunday of Advent contains lots of invitations not just to ‘wake up’ but to ‘stay awake’.

With the first Vespers of Advent, the Church throughout the world began the Year of Consecrated Life. Pope Francis has urged religious men and women to ‘wake up the world’. It is not easy to wake up a world that doesn’t realise that it is sleepwalking its way through life because it has blotted out God. It can be easy to grow apathetic about religious life. We hear the voices which say ‘religious life is dead’, ‘there is no hope for the Church’. There is always hope but as the letter to St. Peter tells us, we must be ready to ‘give an account of the hope which is in us’. Certain philosophical forms of apathy feed on irrationalism – the world has no logic, no order, no method to the madness however as Christians we can’t buy into that.

If you type in nun in google, you have to scroll through at least 200 images before you get one that is not some crude cartoon or caricature and actually depicts a real nun. Too often, media mock religious life and priesthood, so back in September a small group of religious were part of a project which wanted to portray a vision of religious life as a credible life choice, with all the joys and sorrows that go with it. It is our effort to ‘wake up the world’! It is a small drop in the cyber-ocean but it could be the drop that quenches the thirst of someone who is searching to understand God’s plan in their life so please share this on your social media networks. Here is the finished product:

In the Dublin Archdiocese where I live and minister, there are over 3200 religious sisters and brothers alone. Isn’t that amazing!. One of the greatest blessings of our Church is the abundance of communities for women and men, each with a distinct charism or gift. We are all called to be faithful to our vocations but this call is fleshed out in diverse ways. At the heart of it all is a strong, consistent prayer life that is both personal as well as communal. There are a variety of lifestyles among brothers and sisters that give expression to this vowed commitment. However, all find their centre in Christ and cultivate intimacy with Jesus through prayer. Less than two weeks ago, my friends over at Sacred Space 102FM invited  me on their show to talk a little about the Year of Consecrated Life which was to be launched the following week. You can listen here.

Speaking of prayer, let’s get back to Advent! This busiest time of year calls us to draw close to others, above all to God, who became flesh and lived with us. I found these few lines which made me think and might be helpful in preparing. “Have cobwebs of drowsiness formed in the corners of your life? Have you given up striving with certain sins? Is there a layer of apathetic dust on many of the windowsills of your heart or home?” This is a quasi-examination of conscience which reminds me that one of the best ways to live out Advent is to clean up our spiritual home and go to Confession. So start that spiritual spring-cleaning! Prepare the way, Jesus is on the way!