Advent Week 1 — The Divine Hope of Our Advent God

November 29, 2019

By Sister Mary Sullivan

This is the first reflection in our 2019 Advent blog series.

Throughout this season of hope and anticipation, we invite you to subscribe to our blog and read along with us.

Let us not be shortsighted during this First Week of Advent. Let us not limit our thoughts and prayer to commemorating only the birth of Jesus of Nazareth. As decisive for our lives and ultimate happiness as the enfleshed Son of God lying on straw in Bethlehem is and will always be, that blessed Coming of God into the midst of our human history and circumstances is not the Advent, the Coming of God, that we now await.

To hope is to recover or acquire, with God’s help, a humble awareness of the Always "Coming God"
“To ‘hope’ is to recover or acquire, with God’s help, a humble awareness of the Always Coming God”

For God is Love, and our God is not an unmoved God, remotely indifferent to the universe and to the Life this God has created and sustains. Our God is an Always Coming God, still creatively present and eagerly moving toward us.

When the Child in Bethlehem became a thorn-crowned man crucified on a cross for what he had faithfully proclaimed about his “Abba,” his dear Father did not forsake him. His Father God was still there, still held his hand, raising him to new life. And in that tender resurrecting, our Always Coming God promises us the final transformation of all humanity and all Creation.

As Jewish theologian and philosopher Abraham Heschel has explained, our God is a God in intimate relationship with Creation and hence “in need” of our humanity. The inherent yearning of our Creator God—the divine hope of God from the first moment of the universe—was that conscious created life would come to be and would learn to love, and that we would then freely come to God’s love, even as God’s love freely comes to us.

Therefore, to “hope” is to recover or acquire, with God’s help, a humble awareness of the Always Coming God who is not just behind us, but also present to us and ahead of us—always coming toward us and pulling us freely, by divine instructions and enabling gifts, toward eternal joy with our Advent God.

So, as we continue our human pilgrimage Godward, and light the first candle of this year’s Advent wreath, let us say to God in hope:

We are coming—stumbling maybe, slowly and often distracted maybe, but still coming and still trusting always that You are helping us by Your constant Coming toward us.

Help us to understand that hope and confidence in You require that we, too, work to create the peaceful, just and merciful humanity that You seek to create,
welcome and embrace.

Help us to collaborate daily—by our merciful words, deeds, and sufferings—with Your desires for our universe, for all its created life and for our whole human family.

Hold our hands as You once held Jesus’ hand, and lead us in Your hope for our final, joyously redeemed transformation
as your beloved Creation.

Then, as You once taught a holy woman: “While we place all our confidence” in You, we will “act as if all
depended on our own exertion.”

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  1. Mary Jo Kearns, RSM

    I love the idea of God being “in need of our humanity.” God has no hands nor feet but ours!

  2. Daria

    Thank y ou for these thoughtful reflections. I look forward to each of them. Happy advent

  3. Sue LaVoie

    I love this name for God … ALWAYS COMING GOD … It will stay with me even when Advent is over. It offers SUCH hope in the midst of these trying times.

  4. Marilynn Wittenauer

    Thank you, Mary. Your reflections are always a gift. Blessed Advent to you.

  5. Carolyn McDonnell, Mercy Associate

    Beautiful kick-off to this year’s Advent!
    Sister Mary Sullivan, you have brought us to see God so close to us in your reflection.
    Thank you.

  6. Sarah M. Sherman

    Thank you, Sr. Mary, for the beautiful invitation into the continual coming of Jesus!

  7. Debora Murray, Mercy associate

    As advent commences, I appreciate this inspiring reflection and prayer. For me, a good reminder of the bigger picture, reminding me to live in hope and In humble awareness of what God is speaking to me each day.

  8. Jennifer Joyce

    Thank you- always do what you can do- everything you can do- yet know you do not control the outcome at the same time. Acceptance and letting go is also a very important stance in waiting for the mystery of God in our everyday life.

  9. Eileen O'Connor

    Beautiful, Mary, and filled with so much for our reflection…. Thanks, as always, for your rich insights and generous sharing. Eileen O’Connor

  10. Mary Anne

    Thanks for the reflection of hope in the presence of God. I can feel and hold the hope of God’s presence so greatly on Sunday, but by Monday it is already fading. So I have been wondering why my humanness cannot behold God’s presence for a bit longer time. Your prayer helps me.

  11. Mary Anne

    Thanks for you reflection on Sunday’s readings. I can feel and hold God’s HOPE and presence for a while on Sunday, but by Monday that presence begins to grow dim. I have been wondering by my humanness cannot hold on to it a bit longer. Your prayer helps me.

  12. Katie Mindling

    “We are coming—stumbling maybe, slowly and often distracted maybe, but still coming and still trusting always that You are helping us by Your constant Coming toward us.“
    These lines speak so strongly of the deep fidelity of our faithful covenant God and the invitation of Advent to keep running to greet God as we are. Thank you.

  13. Mary Daly

    Thank you, Mary for this profound reflection.

  14. Kathleen Rimlinger

    Thank you for this insightful reflection, Mary. The image of God coming toward us as we “come” towards God is powerful for me.

  15. Leslie Porreca, RSM

    Always coming God….thank you for the invitation to stretch our ( my )imagination. Recovering hope…uncover hope in all the forgotten places…how we need this. Today, here now.

  16. Mary Bilderback

    With all the vitriol in the air these days, I am so grateful for this oasis of Mercy and Good Will toward all. Thank you all for contributing.