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Apostolic Movement

Advent: time to keep an eye on the essential

By: Father Carlos Padilla Esteban

Watching over

The first Sunday of Advent begins with a request from Jesus: “Keep watch therefore, praying at all times that you may have strength to escape all that is coming, and to stand before the Son of Man” (Lk 21:36). Watching. That verb always makes me uneasy. It is hard for me to keep watch. I find it hard to stand, without falling asleep.

It is hard for me to take care of life by watching silently, awake, doing nothing. To watch. There is something peaceful about this verb. The mother who watches over her sleeping child. The one who loves watching over his sick loved one. There are no words. Only silence and the heart that keeps vigil waiting for the one it loves. It has to do with waiting. With the patience that I lack so much. It has to do with waiting for a better, fuller life. With living in a depth that I lack. Watching. Without falling asleep in my comfort, in my passivity. […]

tiempo de velar

Love’s seed is waiting

It waits patiently. It does not know impatience. I live in a sick society, like myself. An impatient society. I have become accustomed to immediacy. I want everything now, right now, this instant. I dream of speed. There is no tomorrow. There is no later. Everything has to be now, that’s when it’s needed. In this instant. […]

Why watch?

Because love knows how to wait. It waits and accompanies. Watching is that. Not just waiting for something good. To watch is to be with the one who suffers, without pretending to heal him by mere presence. To watch is to accompany the one who dies. Or to accompany the one who lives. It is to be in silence with the one who cries. No words are needed to keep a good vigil. I remain for love with the one I love. I remain because my love is faithful and creative. […]

I like that fruitless waiting. It is the love that produces nothing in appearance. It is a mature exercise of love. A healthy fidelity that makes me deeper. In waiting, I let go of my haste, my fears, my pretensions. I produce nothing. I do nothing important. I am simply there, loving. […]

Jesus asks me to go light in my soul. He does not want my heart to become heavy and hard: “Beware lest your hearts be weighed down with debauchery and drunkenness and cares of life, and that Day come upon you suddenly, like a snare” (Lk 21:34)

Jesus asks me to grow in love during this Advent: “As for you, may the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another, and in love for all, as our love is for you. ” (1 Thess 3:12).

He wants me lighter of all that hardens and weighs me down. Freer to love with all my soul, with all my strength. I wonder what weighs on my heart. There are many things. The pain of my sins. My disordered attachments. My unfulfilled goals. My fears that keep me from flying higher. The worries of life weigh heavy.

keep an eye
Parroquia Madridejos,

Christmas preparations begin

I want Christmas to be different this year. Not so many meals. More real things. Not so many meaningless gifts. More giving of my life. Less rushing around in the Christmas rush. Yes, to a quiet life next to the child in the Nativity. Patience and waiting, peace of soul and the calm that I desire so much. May Jesus come to change my priorities.

To what do I give more importance?

I have the order of my wishes so inverted. I put in front what I don’t really love, and behind what I think can wait, being what really matters to me. I have become gentrified and the bargains keep me awake at night. I buy everything, what I don’t need, what is not necessary for my restless life. I stop in front of an empty table and I want to start setting up the nativity. A cave, shepherds, Herod’s castle, houses scattered around the mountain, a star announcing the coming. In the distance I place the Three Wise Men. And then sheep, many sheep. And the starry night. And in the cave an ox and a mule.

What are they waiting for, what are they watching for? The shepherds tend the flock, and Joseph and Mary walk to Bethlehem. Mary is pregnant. They walk slowly. Everything is slow in my nativity scene. Something static. But I like to look at the angel. It sings in a hushed voice. And then the shepherds, who seem friendlier than expected. And the sheep, and the straw that holds the child’s warmth. I see my own life. It’s a long way to Bethlehem. It’s a little more than three weeks. I want to be on my way. I empty my soul to make it go lighter. I am not in such a hurry, but I want to walk without pause. Love burns within me more strongly than before. This is what I ask Jesus to teach me; to love with open hands, with a broken soul, without haste, without pause. This is how I want to begin this long journey.

Sunday readings:

1st.  Reading – Is 2, 1-5

Psalm – Sl 121 (122) 1-2. 4-9

2nd. Reading – Rom 13, 11-14

Gospel – Mt 24, 37-44

Source: Excerpt from the homily for the First Sunday of Advent, December 2, 2018.

To read it in full, in Spanish, click here:


with your loved ones

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