Fantasy and Sci-Fi have been two of my favorite genres for many years. Part of the reason for me is because they normally have some type of epic journey to them that is ultimately achieved after many hardships and dangers. In my own life I also have this sense of adventure. Nothing excites me more than the opportunity to go hiking in the woods somewhere and have the opportunity to encounter God in the beauty of nature along the trail or even better on some off beaten path. I’m one of the first people to want to sign up for a pilgrimage. When I’m on one the hardships for the most part seem to melt away because there’s a bigger, more important focus.
As I have been reading the daily readings for Advent my eyes have been pulled to the many times that the theme of path or journey has come up in the readings. In fact, through out the Bible there are many references to this theme. One of my own personal favorites is Jeremiah 6:16 “Thus says the Lord: stand by the roads, and look, and ask the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it and find rest for your souls.”
Throughout the Bible we encounter God calling Israel/us to choose to say yes to Him and walk on His pathways which bring us blessings. And generally in those same passages God is telling us that Israel refused to follow and brought sorrow upon them but the Lord in His mercy and love is still there calling them and us to convert and choose His ways. In the book Unbound, Neal Lozano quotes Jeremiah 29:11 and speaks about how a blessing was meant to bring protection and help on a journey and that what God always intended for us was to find peace and to know ourselves through our identity in Him.
As I have been encountering readings in Advent, I was struck with the thought. I love the idea of a journey and adventure yet I forget that my daily life is a journey. In truth it is the greatest adventure I can have for it is God’s plan for me. Yet, so often I get caught up in the day to day hardships and like Israel go my own way. I forget that my own epic is to allow God to lead me on the pathways of old and know that because I am His beloved daughter He will not lead me astray. When I focus on God and the ultimate end, I can embrace my own hardships and view them as a gift because there is a greater purpose of love behind them. Part of the blessing of both Advent and Lent is that the Lord is there holding out His mercy and calling us to enter into the stillness and find the deeper truth of His love and peace in our lives.
- Sister Karol Marie, FSGM