(c)Anthony Zubac

November 28, 2018

Dear Family of Mary!

“Dear children! This is a time of grace and prayer, a time of waiting and giving…

Our Lady tells us this is a time of waiting and giving. We might wonder what the connection is between waiting and giving. Waiting seems to be a passive activity. When we wait, we hold still, we cease to search or wander. We just wait for the one we expect and hope for. How does giving fit in with waiting?

I think in one sense, it is in waiting that we prepare to give ourselves. Think of a young couple waiting for the day they marry. They wait, and prepare for the day that they give themselves completely to each other. It takes preparation! It is a time to purify intentions and focus on the call.

It may be similar when we wait for a job, or we wait to graduate. When we wait to grow up! All that waiting is a time of self-control and focus. We wait with our eyes looking for the person or thing we hope for.

I think that in Advent we wait for God. We wait for our Savior to come. We wait for Him. And in waiting for Him, we prepare ourselves to be with Him. We summon up the courage to greet Him, the desire to love Him, the hope to finally see Him as He is. Waiting can be hard work!!

But we wait in order to make a gift of ourselves to our Savior. We prepare like a bride for her spouse, we prepare like a child prepares for the return of the parent, we prepare like a friends prepare for a reunion. We want to be given to those we love, just as they give themselves to us. This is love.

Jesus spoke of waiting and giving. Think of the parable of the ten virgins with their lamps:

“Then the kingdom of heaven shall be compared to ten maidens who took their lamps and went to meet the bridegroom. Five of them were foolish, and five were wise. For when the foolish took their lamps, they took no oil with them; but the wise took flasks of oil with their lamps. As the bridegroom was delayed, they all slumbered and slept. But at midnight there was a cry, `Behold, the bridegroom! Come out to meet him.’ Then all those maidens rose and trimmed their lamps. And the foolish said to the wise, `Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.’ But the wise replied, `Perhaps there will not be enough for us and for you; go rather to the dealers and buy for yourselves.’ And while they went to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast; and the door was shut. Afterward the other maidens came also, saying, `Lord, lord, open to us.’ But he replied, `Truly, I say to you, I do not know you.’ Watch therefore, for you know neither the day nor the hour. (Mt 25:1-13)

The ten maidens were waiting. They were waiting for the bridegroom to return. Isn’t Jesus our bridegroom? But five of the maidens lost track of what they were waiting for. In their distraction, they forgot to make sure they had oil for their lamps. And so when the bridegroom returned, they were not ready. They were not prepared. They did not wait well. Waiting required preparation and focus. They lost sight of the One they were to give themselves to, as their King.

But the five wise maidens were prepared. They were admitted to the wedding feast. They knew how to wait. They waited with focus and with love. They in fact could focus because they loved. They waited with love and were ready.

I know I need to examine my own heart in this regard. Am I waiting for Jesus, with love, with a readiness to give myself to Him, with a desire to live so as to give? Or am I waiting in indolence and sloth, with no flame in my heart for Him? How can I wake myself from my sleep, and wait with vigilance and joy for the return of my King?

Advent is a really blessed time to pray, receive grace, wait and give.

In Jesus, Mary and Joseph!
Cathy Nolan
©Mary TV 2018