Advent Reflection: Don’t Ya Love Those Other Advent Saints?

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I’m a guy who tries to embrace change. Sure, I like traditions as much as the next guy, but I also like a little variety in my life which is why I love the change in liturgical seasons. I think the Church is brilliant. Left to our own devices I’d most probably pick the same ol’ scripture passages to focus in on again and again, but Holy Mother Church calls us to variety – to diversity. During Advent, most of our attention is focused, quite rightly, on the story of Jesus, Mary and Joseph. Yet, this wonderful liturgical season also offers other stories, ones that often go overlooked: other saints.

For many people, the lives of the saints seem, frankly, boring or irrelevant. That’s not surprising given the way they’re often depicted in churches – either as bland plaster statues that make them look dull or as figures in dramatic stained-glass windows that make them look super-human! The saints were neither. A quick look at the lives of two other Advent-saints shows that they were truly human people who led fascinating lives.

Take St. Francis Xavier – when you’re writing your Christmas cards, you might think of all the letters this great missionary sent back to his Jesuit brothers in the sixteenth century. These letters were widely circulated and they thrilled Europe with tales of wonderful new peoples in Africa, India, and Japan. Or remember the feast of St. Ambrose when you’re thinking about being forced to do so much Christmas shopping. Ambrose was forced to do something, too: in the fourth century he found himself in a church in Milan during a time of religious controversy. The crowd suddenly shouted, “Ambrose, bishop!”  Ambrose was acclaimed and appointed as bishop even though he wasn’t even baptized!

During this beautiful prayerful season of Advent, let’s all take time to look around us to discover the living saints among us one and all. Moms, Dads, neighbors, children – so many great folks all around us. Many of us trying to find a way to live in this world, while also preparing to appreciate – again – the Savior of the World.

You’re in my prayers. Thanks for keeping me in yours as well.

Peace friends,

Chuck

 

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