by Kathy Keary, Kansas City Companion
On December 3rd, Precious Blood Center hosted the first of its 2016 Advent Days of Reflection. Through storytelling and faith sharing, Fr. Joe Nassal reflected on our sharing in the incarnation Jesus during Advent. God became human to show us what our best self looks like — a person of compassion. When we give or receive compassion, we bring the kingdom of God to the world. When we bring the kingdom of God into the world, we bring hope into the darkness that exists in the world.
Fr. Joe identified six ways we can bring hope and compassion into the world:
- Live in the present: embrace a faith that sees what is in front of us now. Move beyond a mindset focused on past failures and hurts or future anxieties and fears, to live one moment at a time. Let go of what we are holding on to that causes hope to wear thin.
- Keep our eyes on the road: Keep focus on what is most important. Name fears but don’t be paralyzed by them.
- Cultivate community: Community is made up of caretakers, undertakers, and risk takers. Most of us are caretakers, caring for others in community. Undertakers bury us with their negativity and sarcasm. The risk takers are people who take risks for the sake of the whole. Joseph, Mary, Zechariah, Elizabeth, Abraham, and Sarah were risk takers empowered to say, “yes,” because they were certain that they were called by God.
- Preserve perspective: It’s about the moment we gain a new perspective about what is most important in this time and place. It’s holding on to the sentiment: “Everything will be alright in the end. If it is not alright, it is not the end.”
- Embrace imperfection: Be who you are, rather than living up to others’ expectations. If we are always trying to be perfect, it makes us very judgmental of others.
- Practice kindness or compassion: Compassion is a natural expression, an expression of our best self that is learned through our woundedness.
Fr. Joe challenged us to ponder the Advent mystery — to discern what part of our life is still in darkness and discover what quality of Christ can we cultivate in our life.