During the Advent season, the Marquette community is encouraged to pause and reflect on our Catholic, Jesuit identity and how each of us can continue to be men and women for others during the celebration of Christmas. Each week, Campus Ministry will offer an Advent reflection, providing an opportunity for us to open our hearts and minds to the spirit of Advent.
By Ann Hilbert, administrative assistant, Campus Ministry
Last week I spent a few hours with other Marquette staff on an Advent retreat, pondering the gift of the incarnation. Each year as we look to Christmas God asks us to open our hearts to the gift of Christ—at his birth and sacrifice, his death 33 years later. He calls us to live a life based on hope in the unseen, that whatever joy or heartache our journey may bring, we have faith that life wins over death. And most importantly, God asks that our lives become an invitation to others. The challenge is to wake up each day with a grateful heart open to the love offered in that manger.
A few years ago, I was drawn to make a long overdue confession about an event in my past that weighed heavily on my heart. My confessor suggested that as penance, I forgive myself fully and completely. Now that was hard work—but I came away convinced that indeed, God is love and I am worthy of it. Though it’s always a work in progress, I try to receive that love and allow it to flow outward, focusing on the shift from self to other. Thus, my forgiven heart was open anew.
To be fully realized, the gift of Christmas morning must find a joyful home in our hearts—not only fulfilling our own longing for what always seems just out of our grasp, but also allowing us to be a beacon to others. My prayer is that I will live with such gratitude for His gifts that I can’t help but to be a home for Christ. Abide in me and I in you!