2 December, 2019

I ask for the Grace to experience myself as a pilgrim; to accompany young people in the creation of a hope-filled future.

~ A suggested grace to be sought during the 1st Week of Advent... to accompany... ~

Scripture: Is.2:1-5; Ps.121; Rom.113:11-14; Matt.24:37-44.

Composition of Place: I see myself standing humbly before the Lord who loves me.

Grace I/we seek: I ask for the Grace to experience myself as a pilgrim, and even perhaps to accompany young people in the creation of a hope-filled future.

The readings announce the coming of the Lord. They ask us to ‘be awake’, to engage all our senses, and especially interior senses, that we can see what the Lord is doing and how he is bringing about the fulfilment of his promises. (Matt.24:37-44)

They invite us to ponder the very nature of God who is active within history as its Lord. Who is this God for whom we are waiting? Who is this God who is faithful to us and his creation? In rich and vibrant imagery, the prophets capture the beauty and the glory in which the God who is coming ‘recreates’ all that God has made and especially we who are made in his image.

The future is not just a time; it is the event of God who is coming towards us. History has its ‘telos’ its final purpose in which all created relations come to their fulfilment in Christ. We are entrusted with this saving knowledge and asked in our own time to live this future time, ‘in the light.’ It means that the untruths, the false narratives, the distortions and exploitations, will all be exposed in the light of God’s justice (Rom.13:11-14), all those innocent ones who have suffered, whose lives have been used and then discarded as of no account, Now, their voices heard; they come not from a past but from a future for in God’s eyes their lives have an infinite value and their names are names that are known. God keeps their memory and in Christ they are raised as his friends.

The future that God gives, and the prophet sees, is not only an end to all wars, but the abolition of fear.

To us is the invitation, ‘come let us go up to the mountain of the Lord.’ To leave behind all that hinders us and become pilgrims walking ‘on his paths….. in the light of the Lord.’

In Advent God gives us time to renew body and soul; to recover perspectives and to establish once again the true and lasting values that shape and govern our lives. (Matt.24:37-44).

There is a sense renewal and fulfilment in the readings, especially the psalm. Although the prayer is for Israel it could also be for the Church, ‘for the sake of the house of the Lord our God….’

The offer is one of peace: to have the grace of peace, the ‘shalom’ of the Lord, coming to rest within us, to be ministers of that peace to others. (Ps.121)




What does

the Lord

ask me

to see?

What is



and the


he wishes

to place

in my





I speak

to the Lord

about my


and doubts;


about my


and longings

as we

pray in this

first week

of Advent.


Catholic Parliamentary

Liaison Office

Jesuit Institute
South Africa

Reflection prepared by

Fr Matthew Charlesworth SJ

Fr Matthew Charlesworth SJ entered the Society of Jesus in 2005 and underwent the usual course of studies in his formation, which took him to such varied places as Canada, France, Ireland, Kenya, Spain, Tanzania, the United Kingdom, the United States, Zambia, Zimbabwe, and South Africa. Whilst working at the Institute, Matthew managed the background technical aspects of much of the Institute's work and was involved in the Spirituality work, completing the Advanced Spiritual Directors Training Course and the Spiritual Exercises Training run by the Institute. He is a member of Spiritual Directors International and was also a part-time lecturer in Sacred Scripture at St Augustine College of South Africa. He is currently the Director of Communications for the Jesuits in Southern Africa, based in Lusaka, Zambia.

m.charlesworth@jesuitinstitute.org.za @mcharlesworth
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