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Reason for Hope

 

Written by: Bro. Brian Poulin

 

December 4, 2021 – Saturday of the First Week of Advent

 

Advent is an omega and alpha kind of time. Each December brings ample opportunities to reflect on the events of the concluding calendar year, as some of us anticipate the announcement of Time’s Person of the Year and others use social media to share their past year’s music listening habits or most photogenic moments. Yet, the first Sunday of Advent also marked the beginning of a new liturgical year and many of us are oh so ready to welcome the clean slate of a new year, in this case 2022, as if it will somehow be free of the headaches and heartaches that we have been enduring since January.

 

This is a time of nostalgia mixed with hope. We savor those memories of the last year that filled us with awe, love, or joy, not yet knowing for sure which ones will fade with time and which will endure. We do not forget the memories of pain or suffering though, as they play a key role in shaping our hopes for a better world, and may it come sooner rather than later. For those of us whose lives rotate around a school calendar, December provides a welcome waypoint: we’ve made it this far…

 

New birth is an archetypal symbol of hope. It is easy for us to imagine a world full of possibility for an infant child just starting out on life’s journey. For at least one brief moment, we may even be able to forget whatever societal disadvantages a newborn inherits due to place of birth, economic circumstance, gender, or ethnic heritage. After all, maybe this will be somebody who can beat those odds, or maybe the world will change enough to soften the obstacles posed by bias and injustice. We hope for both the new life of the individual and newness in the world (or worlds) we all inhabit. We also dream of the transformative impact this brand new person can make in advancing the healing our world needs.

 

Those of us who work with young people have a special opportunity to renew hope within ourselves, especially when those we have taught, mentored, or otherwise encountered remain within our sphere of awareness. The last thirteen years have given me the opportunity to see adolescents develop into educators, healthcare professionals, vowed religious, parents, and policy workers. With new opportunities for laypeople to take their place in our Marist community and mission, it is especially exciting to see our Marist Young Adults express their desire to remain Marist regardless of the state of life to which they’re called, especially when they want to continue ministering to young people within our charism. What better validation of our activities than to know that young people we serve want to follow in our footsteps, even as they forge new trails of their own?

 

So as we consider signs of hope this Advent, we can be inspired by the example of our elders, including what many of them continue to do. We can also look to whoever we consider to be our peers. However, it is the young in particular, including their myriad vulnerabilities, who reassure me that there is still a chance for this world to evolve more fully into it’s potential.

 

Lord, may your Kingdom come, so that it may be on earth as it is in heaven.

 

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This week’s ‘ear candy’ reminds us of the opportunity and invitation we each have to make our world a better place—and that to solve any problem we must first recognize that something is wrong. The ‘brain food’ concretely expresses what Advent hope can mean in our world today.

 

Ear Candy: “The Flower” by Michael Franti & Spearhead (featuring Victoria Canal)

Brain Food: “This Advent, Make Room for a Future without Fear” by Alice Camille

 

Come back on the first Saturday of next month for a new post!

 

Previous Posts:

2021

Nov 6 – Unspeakable Love

Oct 2 – God of the Always

Sep 4 – Time Unchained

Aug 7 – Pray for Us

Jul 3 – Real Presence

Jun 5 – Bag of Squirrels

May 1 – Brothers 

Apr 3 – Plan B

Mar 6 – Times 40

Feb 6 – Testimony 

Jan 2 – Unconditional 

2020

Dec 5 – Gestation

Nov 7 – Where Hope Lives

Oct 3 – Enough 

Sep 5 – Assembly Required

Aug 1 – Stumped 

July 4 – Bitter and Sweet

June 6 – Fire

May 30 – Brother’s Keeper

May 23 – Remote

May 16 – Getting By

Apr. 25 – Thank God It’s Saturday

Apr. 18 – Joseph’s Fiat

Apr. 11 – Bells & Sirens

Apr. 4 – Adaptation

Mar. 28 – Guest Column

Mar. 21 – Moving Forward

Mar. 14 – Reality Check

Mar. 7 – Soar 

Feb. 29 – Hiking Lessons

Feb. 22 – Love in the Desert

Feb. 15 – Beautiful Life

Feb. 8 – Bad Science

Feb. 1 – All Shall Be Well

Jan. 25 – Let Somebody Love You

Jan. 18 – Extraordinary Time

Jan. 11 – L’Chaim!

Jan. 4 – Decisive

2019

Dec. 28 – Can’t Alone

Dec. 21 – Unexpected Gifts 

Dec. 14 – No Room

Dec. 7 – End of the World

Nov. 30 – Elective Unpleasantness

Nov. 23 – Always Greater

Nov. 16 – Coloring Book

Nov. 9 – Justice and Mercy

Nov. 2 – Together in Loneliness

Oct. 26 – Gently

Oct. 19 – Flow

Oct. 12 – In This Place

Oct. 5 – Why Understanding

Sep. 28 – Stone to Flesh

Sep. 21 – Let God

Sep. 14 – Passion

Sep. 7 – Hermanos

Aug. 31 – 525,600

Aug. 24 – Pathway

Aug. 17 – Crazy Together

Aug. 10 – To Bridge

Aug. 3 – Stripes

July 27 – Ghost Town

July 20 – Adrift

July 13 – Borders without Borders

July 6 – Little Bit at a Time

June 29 – Holy Dissent

June 22 – Old Kentucky Home

June 15 – Steamer Trunk

June 8 – Squad

June 1 – Legacy

May 25 – Live like You’re Loved

May 18 – Purity of Heart

May 11 – Builders and Creator

May 4 – Value Proposition

Apr. 27 – Vital Signs

Apr. 20 – Let It Be Real

Apr. 13 – Meet Self

Apr. 6 – Let Go of the Best

Mar. 30 – Thirst

Mar. 23 – Back Home

Mar. 16 – Say Goodbye

Mar. 9 – Garden and Desert

Mar. 2 – In Transit

Feb. 23 – Wealth

Feb. 16 – In Place

Feb. 9 – Each and All

Feb. 2 – Not Disneyland

Jan. 26 – Pilgrim People

Jan. 19 – Waking Dream

Jan. 12 – Called and Sent

Jan. 5 – Divine Encounter

2018

Dec. 29 -- Resolution

Dec. 22 – Room for Love?

Dec. 15 – Humbug!

Dec. 8 – Let It Begin with Me

Dec. 1 – Driven by Love

Nov. 24 – What Manner of King

Nov. 17 – Stranger

Nov. 10 – I Need Help to Be Holy

Nov. 3 – Fully Alive

Oct. 27 – Behind the Curtain

Oct. 20 – Questions. Answers?

Oct. 13 – Stumble & Fall

Oct. 6 – Young World

Sep. 29 – Defend Us in Battle

Sep. 22 – The Taste of Water

Sep. 15 – God’s Plan

Sep. 8 – Life Finds a Way