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2016 - Advent Reflection: And They Shall Name Him Emmanuel

2016 - Advent Reflection: And They Shall Name Him Emmanuel

Reflection by April GarciaFaculty and Recruiting Coordinator, The Mary Ann Remick Leadership Program

The Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary is one of my favorite events in this Advent season. This moment is what drew me to say “yes” to some untraditional opportunities within Catholic schools. Mary’s free choice to say yes without reservation and her complete selflessness inspired me to discard my fears and take on some daunting challenges within my school communities. You may have watched this scene of Mary and the angel Gabriel (who we hear speaking and singing to Mary and Joseph) in a Christmas program this Advent.

In this week's Gospel, however, we turn our attention to a man of few words: humble–and often silent–Joseph. As he was preparing to wed Mary, he discovered that she was with child. Facing a rather challenging situation, Joseph immediately sought to remedy it by divorcing Mary in an attempt to minimize the potential shame that she was sure to encounter. He saw a problem, made a plan, and prepared to execute it with precision. How much of ourselves can we see in Joseph? He took control, made an action plan, and trusted in his pragmatic skills.

But how often are our plans changed? How often are we asked to readjust and to think more deeply about the situation with which we have been presented?

Joseph was jarred when an angel appeared in his dreams and shared the rather simple instructions to take Mary into his home. When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded. Joseph remains silent in this passage (and often throughout Scripture); yet nevertheless he is a man of action. He acted with patient urgency, recognizing that he must immediately take Mary into his home, and trusted the Lord that that this child would save people from their sins. Talk about not knowing what lay ahead, yet having faith in the Lord!

Life gets in the way of our plans each and every day. As we approach the end of Advent, let us embody Joseph’s example: let us embrace the silence. Let us listen to God. And finally, let us act, with patient urgency, to follow God’s voice in our hearts.

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