Advent calls us to wait, something that we modern Americans are not good at doing. Technology and advertising tell us we don’t have to wait: we can have things immediately.
For those involved in Catholic LGBT ministry and advocacy, waiting is something that we’ve been doing for a long time. Very long. When the Psalmist cries, “How long, O God?” we all know the anguish instinctively. The Beatitudes remind us that as people who hunger and thirst for justice, we will be satisfied. But when?
The greater challenge of Advent is not just to wait, but “to wait in joyful hope,” as we pray in the Mass. How does one maintain a spirit of “joyful hope” while waiting for God to break through into our world?
One way is to try, as best as one can, to live in the preferred future. Imagine the future that you would like to see, and live as if it has already become a reality. In other words, despite so many messages to the contrary, live as if the reign of God has already taken hold in our world. Not an easy task, but when done, it does help to foster a spirit of joyful hope as we wait.
Another way to “wait in joyful hope” is to follow Gandhi’s advice: “Be the change you want to see in the world.” St. Augustine of Hippo had similar advice. He told his congregation that the way to change the faults of others is to change those same faults in ourselves. Again, this method is a challenge, but usually ends up developing a sense of hope for the future.
Has your involvement in LGBT ministry and advocacy helped you to develop a sense of waiting in joyful hope?
What ways have you found to live in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ?
–Francis DeBernardo, New Ways Ministry