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First Week of Advent

December 2-8, 2018
Kathy McNany, OSB, Emmanuel Monastery, Baltimore

I begin with a story. I speak of mysteries
welling up from ancient depths,
heard and known from our elders.
We must not hide this story from our
children, but tell the wonders of God
to the next generation.

—Ps. 78: 2-4

Reflection: The Power of Story
The psalmist knew that the power of story cannot be underestimated. And all our stories, if they are to have worth, must be born from the journey we are each on. Where I am in my journey creates the story my life tells. To be a person is to have a story. Stories never leave us untouched. The traditions of our faith are contained in stories of ordinary people and their relationships with God….we call them our Sacred Scriptures. Stories have the power to transform us, convert us, energize us, focus us, enlighten us…and we remember them.

Advent each year sends us off into the stories of God’s immersion into our lives; old, familiar stories, that have shaped our faith and our hearts to this day. What gives these stories power is that they grow with us. How we hear the wonder of “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us” today, is different (we hope) than the way we heard and understood it when we were younger. We play a role in how that story will transform and shape the world of our day. Meister Eckhart, the mystic, is famous for quoting “Though Christ be born a thousand times anew….despair O soul, unless he is born in you.” So, how do we birth the Christ anew? Every year we have the opportunity to begin the journey again with new eyes and ears. Are we up to the ADVENTure?

Another way to put it is: How will you tell the Christmas story this year? It could be the story of an unwed pregnant teenager, or the story of a humble woman who dared to enter into partnership with God to bring forth new life; or a political story about the birth of a revolutionary, or of refugees who had to flee to another country to save their lives without the luxury of going through the local immigration process, or of a man who chose to forgo “honor” and be attentive to his deepest love and follow a dream; or a symbolic and timely story about light and hope coming into a world/country that was in a state of darkness and confusion; or a story of people who had the courage to follow dreams and stars seeking the deepest longings of their hearts….we could go on and on. But tell the story, we must, says the psalm.

For your pondering:

  • How will you tell the Christmas story this year?
  • How will Christ be born anew in you?
  • What difference will it make for you, for your family, for the world around you?
  • In the weeks ahead, ADVENTure with those who have lived the journey before you.

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Sister Kathy McNany is a Benedictine Sister of Baltimore and has been growing her monastic heart for 55 years. She is a spiritual director and retreat leader and has served in varied leadership roles in her community and in the Federation of St. Scholastica. Sister Kathy's reflections will offer insight on Scripture and invite you to make the words of the scripture writers your own as you ponder the thoughts and questions that she will offer you each week.