by Griffin Knipp, Asst. Director of Campus Ministry for Social Justice and Community Outreach
Every year my housemate and I throw a Friendsgiving celebration. We are so excited to host this party that we clean and cook for the days leading up to the celebration. It ends up that in my excitement; I end up being done with all that I need to do hours early. Then, I end up waiting, just waiting. I don’t know what to do with myself in this waiting.
Waiting can be both exciting and terrifying; it is full of tension of what could be. As I wait, I just think of all the possibilities: the party could go well with everyone leaving full of joy, or maybe no one is going to show up. I end up spending the hours in anticipation holding this tension, and eventually recognizing that the outcome is still uncertain.
I believe embracing the unknown is what we are asked to do in the Season of Advent, when we are asked to place our hope in what is ahead. I have a hard time with hope. It can come off as sugarcoating a hard moment, a way to articulate our desire to move too quickly from the pain that we experience, or as wishful thinking that someone else’s intervention will take place. I recently was told that hope is finding the space between a pessimistic view that “everything will go poorly” and an optimistic view that “everything is going to be amazing.” Hope is acknowledging that the future is not determined.
How do we lean into this season of hope to embrace what is still uncertain? Hoping for God to be present in our lives, but not expecting it one particular way. Hope requires us to look up and toward the horizon, allowing our vision to not focus on one instance, but to have an openness to take it all in.
Advent by Fr. Thomas Anderson, S.J., Asst. Director: Campus Ministry
is the most incongruous season
for a university,
for both students and teachers alike.
The Church is like,
“Let’s start a new year,”
“let’s just get this one over with.”
The Church offers us quiet images,
a chance to reacquaint ourselves with
of how this world could be.
And we’ve got no time to dream -
not even any time to sleep!
The Church invites us to look ahead
and we’re just trying to see our way through.
The Church proclaims, “Prepare,”
and we have so much to do
that we cannot possibly add one more thing,
It’s important to recognize this tension
inherent in university life.
And recognizing it,
that you might not have a good Advent
for the next four years,
or however long you’re here.
But realizing that,
cut yourself some slack,
don’t let anyone guilt you about it.
Advent at college is tough.
Still, don’t let yourself off the hook
Advent’s challenge is to prepare for
the coming of Christ
by staying awake,
or waking up, as the case may be.
A simple image.
Leaving AMU the other day
I heard someone scream “Charlie!” at the top of his lungs.
“Charlie!” Three or four times.
Charlie didn’t flinch.
Charlie kept walking.
What did he miss out on?
Or, how many times,
do you encounter
in the flows of people
totally oblivious to the world around.
You can wave,
even say their name.
When we put blinders on,
it’s hard for any one to get through,
Can you let God in?
The more we can open ourselves to the world,
the more chances we can encounter God
So, wake up
and let yourself be surprised this Advent,
by the God who comes to us
each and every day.
What's coming up in December?
Dec. 3: Advent Reconciliation Service | Chapel of the Holy Family (AMU) | 7:15 p.m.
Dec. 3: Posada | Straz Tower, 1st floor MPR | 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 4: Soup with Substance “Intentionally engaging boys and men in gender work” | Holthusen Hall 403 | Noon
Dec. 4: Posada | The Commons, Rm. 216 | 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 4: Ignite “Advent Peace: A Christian Vocation” | Chapel of the Holy Family | 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 5: CAMPUS MINISTRY STUDY BREAK: Cranky Al’s Donuts & Hot Beverages | Campus Ministry (AMU 236) | 9:30 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Dec. 5: Our Lady of Guadalupe Mass followed by Posada | Chapel of the Holy Family and Brooks Lounge | 4:30 p.m.
Dec. 6: Advent Lessons & Carols | Church of the Gesu | 7:30 p.m.
Dec. 13-15: Silent Weekend | Holy Hill Retreat Center | Register here by Dec. 8
Jan. 6-11: Silent Directed Retreat | Jesuit Retreat House Register here by Dec. 15
Jan. 22: Midnight Run Volunteer Sign-Ups | AMU Ballrooms | 8 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Jan. 26: Midnight Run Volunteer Orientation | AMU Ballrooms | 7 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.
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Student Reflection: Ignatian Family Teach-In
By Chika Okoro-Osademe, Arts & Sciences '22
Reflecting on my first Ignatian Family Teach-In, I have come to the realization of how much I have gained for the 72-hour spent at the conference. I think that it was truly the work of God for giving me the opportunity to participate in this experience. I am someone who takes the state of the world and social justice very personally.
I often am very pessimistic about the resolution of the many issues that plight our contemporary society, but attending the Ignatian Family Teach-In gave me hope. It gave me hope in the future of our nation. At the Teach-In, there was a diverse group of ages — people as young as middle schoolers and as old as 80+ years, all gathered for the same purpose of trying to make the world a better place for all of its inhabitants. The Teach-In additionally gave me hope in others and their capacity for compassion.
The fact that hundreds of people gathered to advocate for the rights of others, united under Jesuit values was inspiring. This was the first time that I ever experienced the intersection of activism and my faith. Often these two components of my identity seem to very separate. But in this event, as the two intersected, it became evident that they are intended to be in tandem to one another. Coincidentally, the theme of this year's Teach-In was “Radical Hope.”
The experience that I have been granted by this program will forever change my approach to advocacy. (Photo: Chika, at left, listening to a presentation at the Ignatian Family Teach-In which ran from Nov. 16-18 in Washington, D.C. and is an annual conference put on by the Ignatian Solidarity Network.)