Finding God — Even in Waiting
We are Advent people. We wait and we watch for signs of God’s presence in our lives. We keep vigil for the coming of Jesus into our world. Sometimes, like the star of Bethlehem, God bursts onto the scene and we are filled with wonder and awe. More often than not, it is in the still silence of the night, perhaps a moment of peace or a greater sense of purpose, that we meet the God who loves us into being.
As a Jesuit, I encounter Christ most often in the people with whom I work and live. All sorts of people come through the doors of St. Ignatius Loyola Parish in Manhattan. Some have been parishioners since they were little children while others have sought and found a home here because they have had an experience of Ignatian spirituality and are looking for more. Many hunger for a deeper relationship with God. Others are just plain hungry.
When I listen to their stories I am reminded that nothing is impossible with God. Parents tell me their hopes and dreams for their children as they wait to pick them up from school. Engaged couples waiting to be married share with me the story of their love in a world where commitment is often a challenge. The dying invite me to wait with them as they prepare to meet God. In each of these experiences, my own relationship with God is nurtured and grows. They have taught me how to wait, to let God’s plan unfold in God’s time.
A good portion of our days are spent waiting. We wait at the checkout line in a supermarket. We wait stuck in traffic. As we move from activity to activity in our busy lives, often waiting becomes something that is endured rather than embraced. Our senses become dulled to the wonder that is the world around us.
Advent waiting is different. Each year the Church gives us a season of waiting to prepare for Christmas. We are invited to keep watch for the coming of Christ in our daily routines. By paying attention to the people and the world around us, we do our holy waiting.
The wintery fresh scent of evergreens is a sign for us that there is life despite the cold and bleak winter. When we huddle in the darkness to light the Advent candles, we know that we are not alone in our waiting — God waits with us and we wait with the Church for the coming of our Savior. These sights and sounds remind us that the holy is found in our midst, that the Word indeed is made flesh and dwells among us.
Advent gives meaning to our waiting. As Christians we live and wait in hope. When we get in touch with our humanity, we get a glimpse of God’s plan for us and for our world. Waiting for it to unfold, let us cry out with the Church, “Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!”
About the Author
Fr. Anthony SooHoo, SJ works with young adults at St. Ignatius Loyola Parish on Park Avenue in Manhattan.
This article originally appeared in the Fall 2010 issue of JESUITS magazine.