Advent: What God is Doing


Almost every year I feel a sense of eagerness as we begin this New Year of the liturgical calendar and the four weeks of preparation towards the celebration of Christmas.

Almost every year I find myself at the fourth week having failed in my good intention to be more faithful in prayer, more attentive to the needs of others and more grateful for my many blessings.

Finally these failures make me more aware of my need for God to come more deeply into my heart, into my life and into our world.

A truer way to approach Advent is not so much to consider what I want to do or think I ought to be doing but rather to be attentive to what God is doing, how God is coming into my life and into our world, a world so deeply in need of the healing and transforming power of the Spirit.

God who is unconditional love is of course already totally present to each of us and to all of us.  So what is needed for my part is an ever greater awareness of the divine presence.

A number of years ago I was in a very poor area of Cleveland to help animate a week long retreat.  At a gathering of people who were involved in supporting the retreat a woman came up to me.

She was a small black woman who had obviously not had an easy life.  She took my two hands in her rough little hands, looked intently into my eyes and said with deep conviction; “Love is the key, Love is the key.”

I presume this little lady is now being held joyfully in the heart of the Beloved.  I am praying that her image and her words will guide me through this grace-filled time especially as we live it with Coved causing so much fear and suffering; “Love is the key, Love is the key”.

Bill Clarke, SJ, is a member of the team of spiritual directors at Loyola House of Ignatius Jesuit Centre of Guelph and continues his commitment to L'Arche.

  • Peter Bisson
    Posted at 01:11h, 30 November Reply

    Amen! Thank you Bill.

  • Vicky Chen
    Posted at 05:19h, 30 November Reply

    Grateful how God sends message to us – first through that unnamed small black woman, and now through you. Thank you, Bill.

  • John Montague
    Posted at 08:14h, 30 November Reply

    I remember meeting you at the Jesuit fundraising dinner in Toronto two years ago. Happy Advent.

  • Laurence
    Posted at 08:41h, 30 November Reply

    so true! thanks Bill!

  • Rosemary McGinn CSJ.
    Posted at 10:25h, 30 November Reply

    Thanks Bill for your words.I like the invitation be attentive to what God is doing and how God is coming into my life,and into our world.Gratefully Rosemary McGinn.

  • Alana Forrester
    Posted at 10:51h, 30 November Reply

    May that love continue to flow. Thank you, Bill.

  • Mary Jane Kelley
    Posted at 11:45h, 30 November Reply

    Thanks so much Bill !! Gratefully Mary Jane kelley

  • Mary Jane Kelley
    Posted at 11:46h, 30 November Reply

    Moderation? Mjkelley

  • olga protz
    Posted at 13:10h, 30 November Reply

    Thank you Bill….yes to be aware of Gods presence in the little things, and there are so many of them at this time. But I need you reminding me of them and to be awake! Blessings.

  • Neil Parsanlal
    Posted at 07:27h, 03 December Reply

    Thank you Fr. Bill. Covid has certainly forced us to slow down the pace of our lives, and perhaps in that space we could allow ourselves to become more attentive to those whispers

  • Carmela Lukey
    Posted at 18:13h, 14 December Reply

    Thankyou, Bill. What an affirmation of God’s immense and unconditional love for us during this wonderful season of Advent. Focusing on all that God does, and continues
    to do for us and all creation, is God’s “Love Key” opening and drawing us, into God’s own great mysterious works of His Love.
    Carmela Lukey, ssmi

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