“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from the anxieties of daily life… ” – Luke 21:34
Over the past year and a half, in prayers, retreats, and reflections, our Xaverian Brothers Sponsored Schools have often cited the following passage from the Fundamental Principles of the Xaverian Brothers:
Day by day
you will need to renew your response.
Do not become discouraged
over the difficulties you encounter
in your life of gospel service.
Knowing that difficulties would be your share,
your Founder judged:
that nothing special is achieved
without much labor, effort and zeal.
It would seem justifiable for any person to have become discouraged over the difficulties encountered in these last 20 months. From the impact of the global pandemic to the political polarization of our time, too many have experienced loss, stress, or mental anguish. The responsibility to fulfill work and family commitments amidst local and global challenges has weighed heavy upon many. There has been more to accomplish than there were hours in the day, and more needs to be met than we had the energy to address. Yet, it is in these times of pressure and worry that we are most in need of prayer and contemplation.
Just as our Fundamental Principles call us to renew our response, today’s readings call us to “strengthen our hearts,” remain vigilant in our faith, and trust in God’s ways. It’s an appropriate call to action as we reflect on the start of this Advent season. Rather than be mired in the trials and tribulations of the day, Advent invites us to a new beginning, an invitation to reassess our priorities, and plan for the coming of Christ.
Lord, as we enter a time of deeper contemplation this Advent, may we embrace this daily renewal with hope, effort, and zeal, putting Christ first in our lives of Gospel service so as to keep our hearts strong.
Dr. Patrick Slattery
To view the full Advent 2021 booklet in English, click here.
For Spanish, click here.
For French, click here.