The season of Advent is characterized by three words: preparation, hope, and joy.
Preparation: the season of Advent offers us an encouraging path that helps us to develop and experience those interior attitudes that we need to develop in order to celebrate anew the Lord’s nativity. Visiting those who are poor is a path that prepares us because in Jesus, God became a human being, a poor human being born in stable … Jesus had nowhere to lay his head and died naked on the cross (a method of torture reserved for the most despised and the poorest members of society). Jesus went out of his way to comfort those who suffered and needed assistance. He was no stranger to suffering and his mission was to alleviate human suffering. Therefore, he identified himself with all those who were poor and marginalized.
Hope: this season of preparation is lived from the perspective of hope, from the perspective of the certainty of the coming of the Savior. In times of uncertainty, Advent invites us to take on a more positive perspective and to view reality from a faith perspective. How many difficulties do we encounter in our life and yet God never ceases to support us. When confronting discouragement that may appear in our lives, let us know deep within ourselves that God walks with us. God does not leave us helpless and so there is no reason for us to become hopeless. Let us not allow those flames of hope to become extinguished. God is our hope and therefore, let us be a sign of hope to those who are poor.
Joy: it is the fundamental attitude of Advent. It is a joy that must fill every member of the Vincentian Family, a joy that reveals that God comes to comfort and encourage the poor. The season of Advent is marked by a joy that arises from the interior of the person and is expressed in an attitude of openness and gratitude before the marvelous deeds of the Lord. This joy should help us to understand that our Vincentian spirituality must become an incarnated and committed spirituality that empowers us to place the whole of our lives at the service of the most vulnerable and discarded members of society … the poor: our Masters and Lords.
Father Alexandre Nahass Franco, CM
Translated: Charles T. Plock, CM
Eastern Province, USA