For the past few weeks we have been bombarded by paper, TV and internet Black Friday and Cyber Monday advertisements urging us to buy this, buy that – at unbelievable sale prices – and add more to our lives, get more for others! I think it is very timely that Advent calls us right now to stop and consider what, why, and how we want to spend our time and money in preparation for the great feast of Christmas. Get off the crazy speed train, walk in the woods or sit in a quiet space to consider where are we going, what is it all about, what is most important?
Last Saturday at our 4 p.m. Mass for the first Sunday of Advent, our preacher asked the question, “Is there anything in your life that keeps you from spending as much quality time with God as you would like?” I knew right away some things I need to and will set aside during this Advent (and beyond) to dedicate more time to be present to God in prayer as I would like.
In subtracting a few non essentials I have developed in my daily habits, I will be adding a rich blessing to my day. In one of Jan Richardson’s Blessings in Circle of Grace: A Book of Blessings for the Seasons she says: “…this blessing would not be mistaken for any other, as if, in its emptying, it had lost what makes it most itself. It simply desires to have room enough to welcome what comes.”
My Lenten resolution this past year was to give up at least one thing a day that I really did not need; in subtracting some excess I had accumulated in my closet and rooms, I would add to what is available to someone else who has less. I have also made it a practice that if I add anything to my wardrobe, I subtract something. But somehow consumerism has still invaded my space. So I need to continue my Lenten resolution this Advent to rid my life of the superfluous and embrace simplicity for my sake and that of others.
In both my spiritual and material Advent practice I find motivation and encouragement in these words of Meister Eckhart: “God is not found in the soul by adding anything but by subtracting.”
In 2009 and 2012 eight different Dominican religious congregations gave up their separate identities and become Dominican Sisters of Peace, with their Associates also choosing to follow a year later. At the Founding Event, there was a spirit of profound peace permeating the gathering, and a felt presence of God in our midst. In letting go of our original identity, each of us found the blessing of new life and energy, and the call to a rich and timely mission: to be peace, build peace and preach peace! Both Sisters and Associates are committed “to create welcoming communities, inviting others to join us as vowed members, associates, volunteers, and partners in our mission to be the Holy Preaching.”
If any of our readers are interested in Becoming a Sister or Associate, do contact us.