FAITH MATTERS: Waiting in Joyful Hope

Having recently visited the DoMN library to assist Mandy Greaves the Diocesan Librarian sort through the thousands of donated books, I came across several books on Advent.

One of the books was covered in handwritten reflections and notes. I am in awe of the wisdom I gained from the anonymous author and the book Waiting in Joyful Hope.

Advent is the beginning or end of the liturgical year. This echoes the words we heard in the second reading on the Feast of Christ the King. ‘I am the Alpha and the Omega’ says the Lord God, who is, who was, and who is to come, the Almighty. Rev 1:8

Advent keeps the eyes of a Christian on the future; our hearts are set on what is set on come. The future which God will bring about will not be a preserving of the status quo. God is a living God; a loving Father who shares his life with us. God’s presence brings about change. There will be changes in us, the people of the earth; changes in me.

Advent brings an atmosphere of anticipation of waiting in joyful prayer. We are waiting for something to happen, some happenings that will relate to the expected changes.

What is expected, or better, what is Coming is Jesus Christ.

For what is coming, for him who is coming, we wait, and we watch. We are a people looking forward; waiting and listening in constant preparedness to accept and receive. There is always yet more to come, so that we are watching in prayer, our hearts filled with wonder and praise.

The atmosphere is one of expectancy an eager anticipation: what is to come is at hand. A good image of it would be the way children, just before Christmas, focus their interest on what it will bring them in presents and holidays and experience the joy of it in advance. Or Mary who was, in every sense of the word ‘expecting’. Like people involved in a long and demanding project, we see ourselves in the last stage of our journey and can already experience what is ahead of us. It is imminent; it is so present, now; the ‘future is present’.

What does the future hold for me?

Hope in the promise of the Lord who will be with me all of my days.

Courage in the free of the unknown, whatever is to come.

Love of a kind with my Lord, my God.

Strength of purpose to do what must be done.

Struggle for identity, pride, and selfishness.

Loss of integrity, temptation to break loose, no direction.

Increased weakness of mind and body.

Lack of faith in God, self-other.

Advent is a time to look to the future and to reflect, to stay awake, be present and be still to the true meaning of the season.


I said to my soul, be still.

And wait without hope

For hope would be hope for the wrong thing;

Wait without love

For love would be love of the wrong thing;

There is yet faith

But the faith and the love and the hope

Are all in waiting.

(T.S. Eliot, East Coker)

Extracts taken from Waiting in Joyful Hope (1985) Gregory Manly and Anneliese Reinhard

and notes from anonymous author.

Diocesan Advent Reflection: Waiting with Purpose

As we continue our Synodal journey an Advent resource, Waiting with Purpose has been created for our diocese. Waiting with Purpose responds to the voices heard during Synod reflections of longing for different forms of prayer that include faith sharing. Waiting with Purpose invites us to use Mystagogical Reflection as our way of encountering Christ in the Advent gospels. It invites us to focus on the presence of Christ in our experience and in the living tradition of our faith, to connect it to life now and to be changed by it.

Mystagogical reflection meets us where we are. No preparation is needed. It’s about being open to encountering Christ so we can live from Christ. It’s deeply personal and communal.

Waiting with Purpose and accompanying resources will be available on the diocesan website:

During Advent there are opportunities for those who cannot gather in their local communities to experience Waiting with Purpose via Zoom. To register go to:

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