Making the most of Advent

Advent begins on Sunday, and is shorter than usual this year – which is all the more reason to make the most of this beautiful season. Bishop Donald Hying of the Diocese of Gary recently stopped by Morning Air® to give some insight on how to make this Advent one that will draw you closer to the Lord. Bishop Hying said:

“It’s important to remember that this year Advent is literally only 3 weeks long, because Christmas is on a Monday and we really lose almost an entire week of Advent. It’s a very short time, which in a way is emblematic of our mortal life. We’re here for a very short time.

So, we have these three weeks of Advent to really prepare for the wonder of Christmas, the gift of the Incarnation. I always look at Advent through a perspective of joy and silence. I really reflect on joy in my life – that joy is different than pleasure, it’s different than happiness, or fulfillment. Only God can give me joy. But I can only accept that gift of joy when I enter into silence and I enter into gratitude.

So during Advent I always try valiantly, and fail, to find more time to be silent and to be still. So maybe the most prophetic thing we can do this Advent is just not do anything. Just be still and let God speak to us in silence.

Cardinal Sarah of the Congregation of Divine Worship wrote a beautiful book on silence that I’m delving through. He speaks about how we live in a culture, especially in the West, where silence has become almost eradicated, and what that does to us spiritually.

Amidst all the frenetic activity leading up to Christmas, I think the most prophetic thing we can do is to be silent and still, and let the Lord fill us with joy.

We’re often afraid of silence because we’re afraid of what God is going to say in the silence, or we’re often faced with our aloneness, our loneliness, our wounds, our sufferings. And yet, I think it is in silence that we come in touch with our aloneness. I would always say to the seminarians when I did formation work with them, that when we embrace our aloneness it becomes solitude. We’re all afraid of being alone, of being lonely, but when we stop and face that courageously in silence, it becomes solitude. And it is in solitude that we find God.

That’s what drove St. John the Baptist to the desert, that’s what drove Jesus to the desert in preparation for His ministry, it was in the solitude of her home that the angel Gabriel came to the Blessed Mother. The key moments in Scripture, if you look at many of them, it is in those moments of solitude and silence that God speaks.”

Listen to the full conversation with Bishop Donald Hying below:

Morning Air can be heard weekdays from 6-9 a.m. Eastern/3-6 a.m. Pacific on Relevant Radio®