From the Rector's Desk: The season of waiting
Dear Parishioners and Friends of Saint Peter's:
If you haven’t seen them on store shelves around town already, I am certain they will be popping up everywhere soon. I’m talking of course about Christmas “supplies.”
The banners and sale promotions beg for our attention, shouting: “be ready for Christmas!” and “don’t wait till the last minute!” Headlines pointing to supply chain difficulties warn us that, if we don't buy now, Christmas may not even happen at all.
In our go, go, run, run, run culture, where we’re always racing to get something done, Christmas has become a deadline rather than a beginning.
But our faith calls us to do something very different and the Church gives us the great Season of Advent to do it: to wait.
Waiting – in any context - is a difficult thing to do. As much as you or I would like to have control over what happens around us, and move quickly to accomplish our goals, at a certain point we realize that we just can’t do it alone – and so we wait for God, on His timetable, not our own.
St. Augustine tells us, “Simply by making us wait he increases our desire, which in turn enlarges the capacity of our soul, making it able to receive what is to be given to us.”
As we approach and move through Advent, my prayer is that we use this season to open our hearts and to become more receptive to what God has to give to each of us.
Over the coming weeks, I will be sending regular notes like these, focused on preparation, gratitude, and generosity. I will highlight opportunities in our parish to grow in faith; I will share my gratitude for what God has provided and for the ways you support your parish; and I will work to share with you spiritual tools meant to “enlarge the capacity of your soul” as you wait for God on His timeline.
I begin today, on the Feast of Saint John Paul II, by inviting you to join me in prayer, seeking the intercession of this Saint who is so dear to our Basilica Parish. When you visit Saint Peter's this weekend, pause for a moment by the Saint John Paul II relics in the narthex and ask him to help you wait on God – on His timetable, for what He has to give you.
Saint John Paul II relics, the chair and kneeler from his 1987 visit to Saint Peter's
During his Angelus address in December of 2001, Pope John Paul II said:
"Advent is synonymous with hope: not the vain waiting for a faceless god, but concrete and certain trust in the return of him who has already visited us, of the "Spouse" who with his blood has sealed with humanity a pact that is an eternal covenant. It is a hope that stimulates vigilance, the characteristic virtue of this special liturgical season. Vigilance in prayer, fostered by a loving expectation; vigilance in the dynamics of concrete charity, aware that the Kingdom of God comes close whenever men learn to live as brothers."
Pope St. John Paul II, pray for us!
I welcome your responses to this and future messages and look forward to a fruitful Advent Season as a parish family.
Fr. Gary S. Linsky
The Very Rev’d Canon Gary S. Linsky, V.F.