It is still three weeks before the Church begins the Season of Advent. I may not always have the patience and the grace of the Biblical Job, but I love the Advent Season. It is a period of waiting, of expecting, of longing, of hoping, of desiring! St. Ignatius was big on desires. He enjoined Jesuits, and everyone else, to be people of desires, big and great desires (though not ambitioning!)—desires to be available and generously partake in the redemptive mission of the Lord. One of the graces of advent is the joy of the unexpected, of being pleasantly surprised “at the appointed time.”
It is not always easy to be patient, to have to wait. Yet, there is wisdom in giving things time to gradually unfold. When Mary was given the mission to be the Mother of Jesus, she probably did not fully understand what it all meant. She needed to be patient, to give it time, to wait. The birth-giving process takes time, and, yes, with much pain involved! But it pays off at the end—with great joy and gratitude.
Advent seems to have come upon us already at GC36! These days we are engaged in actively waiting and longing. Individually and communally, we are patiently and trustingly searching and exploring with one another, and with the Lord, to see how best we are being called to serve our sisters and brothers for the greater glory of God. This discernment process is like giving birth! But when, and to what, we shall give birth, is not yet crystal clear. We do believe, however, that the Lord is on the same boat, in the same “maternity room” with us!
We cannot rush the Holy Spirit! She takes her time—in fact, she seems to like and enjoy taking her time!! When the Kairos moment is ripe, we shall rejoice, like a mother at the birth of her child. For now, we patiently wait and create more space in our deliberations for the Spirit to take the driver’s seat, and gently navigate us along the path of divine illumination.
Mary, the Mother of the Society of Jesus, knows very well the anxieties, pains and joys of child bearing. She will accompany us at GC36 to “give birth” to what will be most pleasing to God’s Divine Majesty!