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. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
Advent is a season characterized by waiting, silence, and passivity. It is for this reason that I was struck by the collect for the first Sunday of Advent. The prayer asks for the resolve “to run forth” to meet Christ. This is far from passive; it denotes activity, energy, and initiative that I have never really associated with this season.
Hearing that was an invitation to approach Advent in the same way that runners finish a race (not that I have much experience in this regard, but I have watched a cross country race or two). After the sprint to set oneself away from the pack, the pace evens out somewhere in the middle of the race, but when it comes to the home stretch, the athletes sprint forward to reach the finish line, and sometimes the last 500 feet can change the outcome of the race.
Many of us experience exhaustion at this time of year. Days are shorter, darkness longer. The calendar year is winding down, classes are finishing up for the semester, and it seems that there is a lot to be done in a little bit of time. Passivity and silence appeal to me in the midst of all these factors. But the Church prays as she believes. Like a good Mother, she knows that we need resolve to finish strong. We need resolve to take on this season of Advent with energy and passion, running forth to meet the God who comes to meet us.
So stretch your soul this Advent, lace up your running shoes and “run so as to win” (1 Corinthians 9:24).
- Sister M. Karolyn, FSGM