The last time I checked in on the blog, I wrote about how Teach Bhríde was enjoying a period of rest and reflection during the week of the Wexford Opera Festival and an accompanying bank holiday. In many ways, the pendulum of busyness has taken a full swing since that restful period a couple weeks ago. Schools and class masses are back in session, our full choir schedule is back on, and the sacramental preparation programmes are starting to kick in to full gear. In addition, as Advent draws near, the parish and schools are beginning to prepare for numerous other services that will occur over the next several weeks. At times over the past couple weeks, the jam-packed nature of our daily schedule has felt quite overwhelming. As Joy wrote about in her most recent blog post, the stress can grow to be a heavy, dark burden, and it can be hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
A recent Gospel reading from Luke offered a powerful reminder to us as we tread through stressful times. The passage tells of ten lepers who ask for Jesus’ mercy and healing, and Jesus heals them, instructing them to go and show themselves to the priests. One of the lepers turns back to Jesus, thanking him and praising God, while the other nine continue into town. Jesus expresses disappointment that the other nine did not return to him to praise God as well, and states that the faith of the man who did return has saved him. While the busy demands of the world will often keep us living at a fast pace, Jesus reminds us that we must not forget to recognize God’s presence in the midst of the busyness and praise God in thanksgiving. Our ability and willingness to recognize God in even the most stressful times equips us to weather the storms of life, and also to still enjoy them and grow from them!
While busy schedules and the impending cold and darkness of winter weather can bring stress, they also give us a great opportunity to grow in hopefulness and thankfulness. As the liturgical calendar turns to Advent, we enter a time of solemn and expectant waiting for the arrival of Jesus Christ to earth. Though salvation for the world is drawing near, a time of faithful and hopeful waiting must be endured. During this time of difficult waiting, we are called to reflect on and give thanks for the many blessings God has bestowed on us. While we may be inundated with busy work schedules, holiday preparations, and many other tasks, we must remember to take time out to thank God for all the joys and difficulties that each day brings, the wonderful people that surround us, and the wondrous healing He can bring to our lives.
While the weeks ahead will move at a fast pace, we must remember to thank and praise God for the beauty of each day, regardless of the stress that may come along the way.