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November 30, 2018 - An Advent that Overcomes Apathy

Saturday of the Thirty-fourth Week in Ordinary Time

Scripture Readings

A while ago I found a great reflection from Bishop Robert Barron on the Seven Deadly Sins.  I know that is a cheery start to this reflection stay with me.  I want to draw our attention to sloth in particular.  He mentioned that people can run around, busy with all sorts of things, but still be slothful.  He described that as being spiritually slothful.  He warned that being lethargic about our faith can be slothfulness.

This warning finds credence in Luke’s gospel today.  Christ’s warning is that His followers should “beware that your hearts do not become drowsy…”  He lists the causes of that drowsiness as “carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life.”  While those all sound ‘busy’, I think it is fair to interpret that drowsiness as a slothfulness.  All of these causes are the result of me focusing on me; either for the benefit of my pleasure or out of inordinate concern for myself.  In doing so, this violates charity. 

Appropriately this violation is noted in the Catechism of the Catholic Church.  The Catechism describes this drowsiness as indifference, ingratitude, lukewarmness, and/or acedia (spiritual sloth).  Whether this slothfulness is affecting our relationship with God or with others, this last day before Advent is a good time to begin taking a step back and seeing if we are being slothful.

It is fitting because as we enter Advent we recall both Christ’s first coming and His second coming.  As I spend this season recalling what the world was like before Christ came, I would be remiss to remain indifferent and ungrateful toward God’s great act of charity; humbling Himself to take on flesh.  Instead not only do I need to love the Lord, but as His disciple I also need to live with charity towards others. 

As I look forward to Christ’s second coming, I would be negligent to ignore Christ’s warning in today gospel passage.  To remain lukewarm or to fall into acedia is to forget that one day I will stand before the Son of Man.

"Lord, as the Church year comes to an end and we move into Advent, help us to see the ways we’ve failed to live your call to charity and peacemaking.  Please, give us the grace to overcome our drowsiness as we look back on your first coming with abounding gratitude and anticipate your second coming with a passion and zeal worthy of the justice and peace that you will bring. Amen." 

- Spencer Hargadon