Spend this Advent meditating on the Scriptures, inspired by the writings of Holy Cross priests, brothers, and sisters around the world with The Gift of Hope, edited by Rev. Andrew Gawrych, C.S.C. This prayer resources offers a scripture verse and brief reflection for each day of Advent and the Christmas season and makes an affordable introduction to the themes of the Holy Cross spiritual tradition. Readers will experience the vision of the Congregation to educate both the mind and the heart and its desire to make God known, loved, and served.
Enjoy this excerpt from the introduction to this devotional:
The gift of hope is in many ways the gift of the Advent and Christmas seasons. In Advent we begin our new year as God’s people. We seek to rekindle our hope by remembering what God has done for us in the past, by becoming evermore aware of what he continues to do for us in the present, and by turning our gaze toward what he has pledged to do for us in the future.
There is nothing more powerful that God does for us than coming and making his dwelling among us. In fact, the word advent comes from the Latin word adventus meaning coming. So in Advent, we recall in a particular way how God came to be a part of our human family in past generations, how God continues to come into our lives in the here and now, and how God has promised to come and be the consummation of our world at the end of time.
All of this recollecting and reflecting in Advent, of course, prepares us for the celebration of Christmas. During the Christmas season we rejoice and give thanks with awe and wonder for the coming of God in the Incarnation. We learn in the Incarnation that God so loved the world and so longed to be with us that he sent his only Son to become one of us. Conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary in a stable in Bethlehem, Jesus of Nazareth was the definitive coming of God to dwell among us. It is this coming, this advent of our Lord to dwell among us, that brings us the true gift of hope — the hope of Emmanuel, God-with-us.
We, the priests, brothers, and sisters of Holy Cross, are men and women with hope to bring. Named after Sainte Croix, the small town in France where we were founded by Blessed Basil Moreau in 1837, we seek to bring the gift of hope to our schools, universities, parishes, and other ministries spread over five continents. We do this by coming and dwelling among the people with whom God plants us in each particular place. We strive to be not just their servants, but their neighbors — to be truly with and of God’s people. For, like them, we are burdened by the same struggles and beset by the same weaknesses; like them, we are made new by the same Lord’s love; like them, we hope for a world where justice and love prevail.
Through the reflections of this book, we invite others to dwell with us during the seasons of Advent and Christmas so that we might share the transforming hope we have found through our lives and ministry in Holy Cross. Along the way, the major themes of our Holy Cross tradition emerge in the reflections. They include our trust in Divine Providence, our familial spirit and unity, our eucharistic fellowship and worship, our belief that education is both of the mind and the heart, our apostolic zeal to make God known, loved, and served, and our trust that even the Cross can be borne as a gift.
The reflections, written by Holy Cross priests, brothers, and sisters from around the world, begin on the First Sunday of Advent and continue through the twelve days of Christmas to the traditional celebration of Epiphany on January 6. Each reflection begins with a passage from the scripture readings for the day.
The Sunday readings come from Cycle A. The reflections are meant to be read — ideally alongside the daily scripture readings — as part of personal, familial, or communal prayer and meditation each day. We pray that these daily reflections will enliven your journey through Advent and Christmas so that having become ever more aware of how God dwells in our midst, you will discover anew the gift of hope. For God, indeed, is with us.
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Copyright 2018 Rev. Andrew Gawrych, C.S.C.
This excerpt was reprinted with the kind permission of Ave Maria Press.
About the author: Rev. Andrew Gawrych, C.S.C., is director of formation at the Congregation of Holy Cross formation house in Santiago, Chile. He is editor of The Gift of Hope.