By Fr. Maganizo Kapita, SJ
“So, too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the son of Man will come” (Matthew 24:44).
With these words, the Advent season for 2022 begins. Advent is the period of remembrance and preparation as we anticipate the Emanuel at Christmas. It is a time to recognize that we are meant for something greater. It is a time not to do business as usual, but “business unusual,” for Christ himself has showed us that it is the best way to prepare.
One of the ways we can prepare is exemplified in Christ: trusting the process. For example, Christ could have come as a grown man, but instead he came as infant born of a woman and grew into an adulthood. This allowed him to deal with human experience, and so take slow but sturdy steps toward salvation, trusting the process and uniting himself to the human journey.
In this way, Christ proves that trusting the process, whatever that process may be, requires patience, resilience and love (1 John 4:7-12). The spirit of Advent invites us to recall these steps that Christ took toward us and to acknowledge that we must take reciprocal steps toward him. Thus, there is value in following the process, no matter how meandering it may appear.
As we await Christ’s second coming, we realize that we need to be patient with ourselves. We are advent people; that is, we are hopeful people. Our very nature calls us to be in a state of ongoing self-inspection, an assessment of our readiness to be part of the kingdom of God. We continuously improve ourselves because we are assured that we will be victorious when we implement the necessary small changes. We learn to take things slowly despite living in a world that focuses on the now. But most importantly, we appreciate that the steps being taken toward Christ are affecting something in us and around us.
This is one of the lessons of Advent: there are consequences in each step we take.
We must ask God, the master of patience and illumination, to open our senses to the goal of our existence – to praise, serve and revere God as we save our souls (St. Ignatius’ First Principle and Foundation). Thus, with each small step we make, we can become the instruments of ensuring that God, and His Kingdom of milk and honey, is indeed here on earth.
Father Maganizo Kapita, SJ, is a Jesuit of the Southern Africa Province who is currently studying graduate-level mathematics at Saint Louis University. He plans to return to his home country of Malawi to teach theology, philosophy and mathematics.