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Advent Reflections

During this Advent season, we are  pleased to share daily reflections with the Fordham Prep community.

Best Regards,

Brian Carney
Vice President for Mission & Identity


Sunday, December 24, 2017
Advent- A Prayer for Christmas Eve


Loving God, Help us remember the birth of Jesus,

that we may share in the song of the angels,

the gladness of the shepherds,

and worship of the wise men.

Close the door of hate

and open the door of love all over the world.

Let kindness come with every gift and good desires with every greeting.

Deliver us from evil by the blessing which Christ brings,

and teach us to be merry with clear hearts.

May the Christmas morning make us happy to be thy children,

and Christmas evening bring us to our beds with grateful thoughts,

forgiving and forgiven, for Jesus' sake. Amen.

-Robert Louis Stevenson

Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.


Saturday, December 23, 2017
Advent- Behold the Word whose power brings life.

What is the power that is granted to the children of God? It is the power of God made perfect in weakness, humility, and service—not the power of domination, oppression, or brawn. Those who surround the manger are images of powerlessness in the eyes of the world—shepherds who live on the margins of society, beasts of burden in the service of humans, young and female faces, and the face of a man who finds his bride with child but remains loyal to her. It is to these that Christ comes in the most powerless image of all—a naked infant nestled in a trough. Behold the Word whose power brings us life.

-Daniella Zsupan-Jerome, Loyola University New Orleans

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Friday, December 22, 2017
Advent- Mary’s Yes

Mary’s “yes” is most profound to me in the way that it changed her life. It is believable, even without God’s request, that she and Joseph would have become parents. Because of her “yes” though, she became not only a mother, but the mother of Jesus. An ordinary life was made sacred by way of an invitation that she affirmed. Her life was deepened but the shape of it remained mostly the same: Like any mother, she was still needed by the infant in the middle of the night, chased the toddler with the hopes of a nap soon to come, and turned her life towards her child’s. The difference is that her attention turned toward the child who was Jesus. When Mary said “yes,” she welcomed God into the content of her already given life.

So it is with our lives. When we say “yes,” God is most often inviting us to what is already within our capacity—inviting us to see our ordinary roles as sacred. Like Mary, can we accept the deepening of the lives that we have already been given? Can we say “yes” and let life be sacred?

-Catherine Wiecher Brunel, Loyola Press

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Thursday, December 21, 2017
Advent- Waiting

In this season of Advent, we wait with Mary for the coming of her Son.  But let us not wait passively.  Rather, let us prepare our hearts to receive Jesus anew this Christmas.  How can I create more room in my heart to receive Jesus this Christmas?  What opportunities present themselves for me to help those I love do the same?  Indeed, this preparation is done with faith in God’s promise.  Throughout the remainder of this Advent season and beyond, let us hold fast to this promise with Mary as our model and, with her, proclaim the greatness of the Lord (Luke 1:46).

Scott McClure, Creighton University

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Wednesday, December 20, 2017
Advent- How Does Hope Shape Us?

A driving dynamic of Advent is hope. If we had nothing to hope for, there would be no point to this season. The original hope was for a child to be born who would bring justice and peace to the world and who would heal the rift between humanity and God. But that larger hope is filled with smaller ones—daily hopes that can shape us as people.
How is hope visible in your life? Where has it faded?

Vinita Hampton Wright, Loyola Press

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Additional Advent resources can be found at


Tuesday, December 19, 2017
Advent- Holy Silence

This Advent, we might also see whether God invites us to enter more deeply into times of silence. In the quiet, God is still at work. God’s power exceeds our own ability to name, to capture, or to control the events in our lives. In entering into silence, we enter more deeply into God’s mystery. Like Zechariah, we learn to trust in God’s transforming power taking place in the as-yet-unknown.
-Marina McCoy, Loyola Press

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Additional Advent resources can be found at

Monday, December 18, 2017
Advent- Prayer and Serenity

Kingdom dwellers anchored in the Prince of Peace are capable of navigating stormy waters without fear. In reality, every human being is grounded—centered—in God who created us and sustains us. Unfortunately, our awareness of this groundedness fluctuates in the face of life’s turmoil. The result is the loss of peace and contentment.  
A key to maintaining this peace and contentment is prayer—especially contemplative prayer, which takes to heart the Scriptural exhortation, “Be still and know that I am God.” (Psalm 46) Prayer does not create a bubble around us to prevent bad things from happening, but rather helps us to place our trust in God who will uphold us through the moments of turmoil. We do not pray to escape reality but rather to remain in touch with a deeper reality.
- Jo Paprocki, Loyola Press

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Additional Advent resources can be found at

Sunday, December 17, 2017
Advent- Call of St. John the Baptist

On this third Sunday of Advent, we witness the prophetic call of St. John the Baptist to prepare the way of the Lord. Anton Raphael Mengs’ Saint John the Baptist Preaching brings us face-to-face with John, as he addresses us with expressive gestures. Mengs’ portrayal is intensely psychological, inviting us to encounter John’s deep conviction, prophetic presence, and sense of urgency.

St. John’s intercession is as intense as his preaching was—a voice that is still crying out with urgency, this time for the Lord’s Second Coming. His urgent voice comes before God filled with love for the Body of Christ, a love that seeks desperately to rouse this Body to readiness.  

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Additional Advent resources can be found at


Saturday, December 16, 2017
Advent- A Habit of Hope

As St. Paul reminds us, “Hoping for what we cannot see means awaiting it

with patient endurance” (Romans 8:25). Each Advent, as I wait for the Child who brought us the hope that never fades, I give thanks.

-Joan Wester Anderson, Loyola Press

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Additional Advent resources can be found at


Friday, December 15, 2017
Advent- Grace

The psalm in today's reading has a line which has always seemed rich to me: “The man who follows not the ways of the wicked... is like a tree planted near running water, that yields its fruit in due season and whose leaves never fade.”
To cut to the chase: are we like the tree of the psalm?  God has planted us in the time and place that he thought best for us, gave us just the gifts that he thought we would need, and wants us to flourish and to bear fruit for others as a regular event – and I would dare to say that he expects or at least hopes for fruit from us both in season and out (2 Timothy 4:2; Mark 11:12-14).  We are able to do so only because we have that almost invisible but radically necessary support from our God that we call “grace” – if we open ourselves to it.

-Chas Kestermeier, SJ, Creighton University

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Additional Advent resources can be found at


Thursday, December 14, 2017
Advent- Come, follow me.

As I read and pray with the readings for today I see the theme of “the kingdom of God”.  In the season of Advent we are reminded that Jesus came to invite us into the kingdom of God through the incarnation.  During Advent my prayer consists of phrases like, “Come Lord Jesus” and ”O Come, O Come Immanuel”.  For me it is a time to pray for God to fill my heart.  Then I am able to respond with courage and love when Jesus says to me, “Come, follow me” (Mt 4:19).  The readings we hear throughout the rest of the year about the life and ministry of Jesus echo this continual call of Jesus to “Come, follow me.”

-Kathy Martin, Creighton University

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Additional Advent resources can be found at


Wednesday, December 13, 2017
Advent- Waiting

For the Second Week of Advent, writer and theologian Tim Muldoon shares his thoughts about waiting in this video reflection.

Additional Advent resources can be found at

Tuesday, December 12, 2017
Advent- Make straight the paths

It’s Advent. Jesus is near. With the rest of the people of God you are out in the wilderness waiting for him to appear. How can you make straight the paths of your own life? Be open to a change of heart, to letting yourself be turned in a new direction. To what new roles—perhaps unexpected ones—does your life, like John’s, point? Could it be to bring some forgiveness and peace to yourself, your family, your friends, your coworkers, the world?

The answers may be hidden just beneath the waters, waiting to surface.

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Additional Advent resources can be found at

Monday, December 11, 2017
Advent- “You Will Not Have My Hate”

Helping myself become “clean” was given a big boost as I read You Will Not Have My Hate by Antoine Leiris.  His wife was killed in a terrorist attack in Paris.  He wrote:

“On Friday night, you stole the life of an exceptional being, the love of my life, the mother of my child, but you will not have my hate….I will not give you the satisfaction of hating you. That is what you want, but to respond to your hate with anger would be to yield to the same ignorance that made you what you are…There are only two of us — my son and myself — but we are stronger than all the armies of the world….and all his life this little boy will defy you by being happy and free.  Because you will not have his hate either.”  

Reading this daily will help me become clean so that no one can have my hate either.

-Julie Kalkowski, Creighton University

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Additional Advent resources can be found at


Sunday, December 10, 2017
Advent- Jesus advances toward us

We have three weeks and a part of a day, plus the rest of our lives to allow Jesus to advance toward us, not with the finger of disappointment and accusation, but the inviting gesture of recovery. Jesus is not coming; He is here! Our Advent prayer is to reside again, re-home where He comforts and re-covers our images of His Self in ours.

-Larry Gillick, SJ, Creighton University

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Additional Advent resources can be found at


Saturday, December 9, 2017
Advent- Hope

Hope is what will carry me (us) through as I (we) recognize that this is merely a transition – we are not Home yet! I must believe that this God who accepts me with all my faults and frailties, who loves me beyond anything I have ever experienced, is there.  I hear the small voice in my ear, This is the Way; walk in it.

-Nancy Shirley, Creighton University

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Additional Advent resources can be found at


Friday, December 8, 2017
Advent- God Chooses Us

Mary was troubled but Mary trusted, “Behold I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word.”

How unlikely that God chose Mary! Yes, God chose Mary, and Mary responded fully!

And God chooses us! How unlikely that God chooses us!

The most precious gift God gives human beings is the gift of faith! On this feast of the Immaculate Conception we look to Mary.  Yes, we look to Mary especially amid our sufferings.  Mary is our model, intercessor, mother! So we pray for our world, and we pray also for ourselves that we may actually experience the depth of God’s indwelling in us so like Mary we may be transformed by God’s Presence!

Yes, God chooses us! On Mary’s feast day we pray that we may imitate her in responding ever more fully to God’s call!

-Dick Hauser, SJ, Creighton University

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Additional Advent resources can be found at, December 7, 2017
Advent- Lining our Faith, Hope and Love

The message that runs through Matthew is the invitation to humbly live our faith, hope and love just like Jesus does in his ministry.  That message impels his disciples to serving the needs of people, modeled on Jesus’ words and actions.  It is a kind of “how-to” gospel on following Jesus and acting in his behalf.

The Sermon on the Mount has included in it both the Beatitudes and the Our Father, hallmarks of the true disciple; they are guides to living the Christ-life within us.  We are invited each day to focus on the Rock that is Christ.  Looking to him with that focus we can more deeply hear Jesus’ word and heed the call to serving the needs of those around us.

-Tom Shanahan, SJ, Creighton University

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Additional Advent resources can be found at


Wednesday, December 6, 2017
Advent- Giving Without Counting the Cost 

The same message of generosity and giving without counting the cost that Jesus gave to the multitude is one we hear each and every day. But are we willing to share our time, talent and treasure with the poor and needy, or do we think a “miracle” will occur and one person will miraculously appear and satisfy the needs of those less fortunate? Are we willing to help fill the baskets of the food pantry when called upon, share our earnings when the basket is passed in church, or volunteer our time to help those less fortunate? Just think what a miracle it would be if we, like the assembled masses on the hillside, gave a little bit more of ourselves than we expected in return.

- Steve Scholer, Creighton University

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Additional Advent resources can be found at


Tuesday, December 5, 2017
Advent- What are you longing for?

What are you longing for? What is your heart trying to tell you? The gift God offers this first week of Advent is the invitation to explore your inner longings. The Church, through our Advent customs, and even the weather of the season itself support such inner work. During the first week of Advent, give yourself time and space to contemplate what you are truly longing for in life. Know that this is the season when your longings will lead you to the Christ Child, in whom the hopes and fears of all the years are known and responded to with generous love.

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Additional Advent resources can be found at


Monday, December 4, 2017
Advent Reflection- Practicing Hope

We have a season in which to give our faith a workout, in which to exercise our hope muscles. Some years make that exercise more difficult than others. But it’s Advent now, and, as people of faith, we are called upon to exercise our hope.

If hope isn’t created for times such as these—when countries are divided, when civil war annihilates whole communities and sends refugees fleeing, when hungry children are ignored because their interests are of no interest to powerful entities, when human beings are trafficked by the thousands to be used for sex or cheap labor, when industry and wealth win over the health of the planet and all its creatures and the global community—if hope isn’t created for times such as these, then why have hope at all?

So let’s try Advent once again. Let’s practice a hopeful way of being in the world.

- Vinita Hampton Wright, Loyola Press

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Additional Advent resources can be found at

Sunday, December 3, 2017
Today’s reflection comes from Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan

So there are three comings of Jesus. Christ did come in the past, Christ does come right now, and Christ will come in the future. If you don’t mind me saying it in a more poetic way, Our Lord comes to us in history, mystery, and majesty. He came in history as the Holy Infant of Bethlehem. He comes to us now in mystery — in word, sacrament, grace, and mercy. He will come in majesty at the end of the world as judge of the living and the dead. Christ comes in history, mystery, and majesty. 
There is a beautiful traditional prayer for the Season of Advent. It is a prayer that is found in the New Testament and in an ancient document of the early Church called the Didache. It is a simple prayer, but one that can be prayed anytime: “Come, Lord Jesus!”
Repeat this prayer often during this Season of Advent and you will recognize with the eyes of faith that, in praying it sincerely, Our Lord has already answered it, will answer it, and will answer it again. “Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!” (Revelation 22:20).

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Additional Advent resources can be found at


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