I was not quite three years of age when my parents and I left our native Korea and immigrated to Canada. Within just a few weeks of being in our new country, we had a frightening experience. My father and I were separated while running an errand in downtown Toronto, and I found myself completely lost in a strange place. However, the story ended happily - it included a ride home in a police car with a popsicle in my hand!
Much later I learned from my mother that a wedding had been celebrated on the same day in our neighborhood parish. Apparently, when those good people gathered for the occasion heard that I was missing, they scoured the neighborhood looking for me! Even the members of the wedding party were on the streets searching for a little girl who knew only her name.
The beginning of the Extraordinary Jubilee Year of Mercy coincides with Advent. Pope Francis has prayed that all who approach the ministers of Holy Church might feel themselves to be "sought after, loved, and forgiven by God." What does it mean to be sought out? In my case, I was not where I should have been. Instead of being safely at home with my mother and father, I was among strangers and exposed to dangers of the street. However, all the while I was being sought out - and was eventually found!
Sin and the oblivion that sin introduces creates a similar experience of "lostness" in the spiritual realm. We find ourselves interiorly homeless. Worse, even when we want to return, we are not sure we will be welcomed home. Because sin causes us to run the highways and byways of evasion, we must be sought out by Love in order to return to our Father's house.
Welcome to Advent! Welcome to the Year of Mercy! In the Collect for the Mass of the First Sunday of Advent, the Church prays:
"Grant Your faithful, we pray, Almighty God, the resolve to run forth to meet Your Christ with righteous deeds at His coming, so that, gathered at His right hand, they may be worthy to possess the heavenly Kingdom."
To run forth to meet Christ! This is possible only if we are certain that we have been pursued by a Love stronger than our sins. This Advent my prayer will be, "Lord, find me." When He comes, may I run to meet Him!
-Mother M. Maximilia, FSGM