Members of the Northeast Wisconsin Area gathered on the first Monday in December for our annual Advent Evening of Reflection. The evening began with a beautiful celebration of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass by our Magistral Chaplin, Fr. John Girotti, assisted by our Deacon Chaplain, Greg Rotherham, and served by Knight Chuck Johnson. After Mass, we enjoyed camaraderie and lively discussion over a delectable potluck dinner, and then Fr. Girotti shared a thought-provoking and insightful reflection on this holy season.
Waiting in Anticipation
Father Girotti noted that while we can get lost in the hustle and bustle of Christmas preparations, Advent is a special time given to us by the Church for waiting in contemplation for the Lord’s coming. We would do well to use this time to contemplate the great mystery of the Incarnation while waiting for the coming of the Lord, just as our ancestors waited in anticipation for the coming of the Messiah all those years ago.
Father Girotti referred to the role of our patron, St. John the Baptist, who proclaimed the coming of the Messiah, admonishing the people to repent and be baptized. Father noted that John did not mince words: he was all about the Truth and was bold in proclaiming the need for repentance with little concern for hurting people’s feelings. John understood that there is something much more important than offending someone by telling them the Truth.
John recognized that without repentance, the immortal soul of the people he ministered to was at risk of being lost forever. Our great patron did the job he was called by God to do, heralding the coming of the Messiah and imploring the people to repent and turn to God.
Thoughts to Ponder
Father reminded us that sometimes people in our lives, who are legitimately interested in helping us on our spiritual journey, point out areas of needed improvement in our lives. At times they get it wrong, but often such input is warranted since others can see from the outside what we ourselves miss. Unfortunately, our first inclination in dealing with such constructive criticism is often to be offended and to reject the message that in reality may actually help us better fulfill our God-given mission. He suggested that when others we encounter in our daily life offer comments, we may do well to ponder and consider the merit and value of such observations.
Not All Were Able to Hear
There was only one dark spot in this magnificent evening. Just over a third of those who planned to attend had to miss the event because they or a close family member were suffering from COVID-19. We pray for a full and speedy recovery for our suffering brethren and wait with renewed anticipation of our dear Lord’s birthday!