Today’s find: Making haste

The dust-bunnies began quivering in fear around our place yesterday: Out came the vac…and the mop…and even a scrub-brush or two…as preparations began in earnest for us to welcome guests this week and next.

Personally, I thought it was a bit of overkill…since most of those guests will be male – and therefore (like me) constitutionally incapable of seeing the very dust and grime I was being asked to eradicate through this extended period of manual labor.

Still, as I grunted through the cleaning process – some of it literally accomplished on my hands and knees – it struck me that there was something authentically “Advent-y” about it all. On the most obvious level, of course, we were “preparing the way” for many of those we love to come into our home in the coming week.

But I think what I was actually noticing was something more like this: How the pace of our preparations had picked up noticeably, almost overnight. Christmas, once a distant and anticipated joy, had suddenly become a real thing – an event (not incidentally) requiring effort and forethought and productive action on my part.

The Incarnation, in a sense, had become incarnate – and that meant I / we had lots of stuff to do. It’s time to make haste.

First on the list yesterday: Wrapping Christmas gifts for a couple of teenagers I’ll probably never meet – our contribution to a parish outreach program that’s been warming hearts in a poor rural Missouri community for many years now. It didn’t feel at all like we were putting “Christmas” before “Advent” as that process unfolded. Rather, our simple gifts bore a mark of hospitality: In some small way, we were mirroring Mary’s “Advent instincts” when (as we hear in this week’s gospel) she journeyed to a home far from her own, bearing glad tidings.


Our parish gift-giving program bears graces for both the giver and the receiver.


…and it’s quite a scene, to witness all those gifts arriving and being sorted in our Parish Center each December…

Next came the burst of cleaning, scrubbing and scouring around our house. And still to come: there are cookies to bake, more gifts to wrap, more provisions to secure for our Christmas feasts.

Is this any way to spend an Advent, I wonder?

In the flurry of activity, am I missing something important during the final week of this holy season?

But this is a worry that would never have occurred to our Blessed Mother, I’ve decided. Indeed, as scripture tells us, no sooner had she learned about the real presence of Jesus in her life than she laces up her sandals and gets to work:

Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste…

The mission: to help her elderly cousin Elizabeth, also now expecting a child. The very first Advent brought out in Mary a desire to share God’s love in some very practical ways. And the same is true for us, writes Sister Barbara Reid, OP, in Abiding Word:

“It is not only for ourselves that the new life is given. We are meant to be companions to one another, a source of mutual joy, wisdom and strength.”

In other words, it is time to make haste in this Fourth Week of Advent. It is time for us to set about the work of bearing Christ into the world.

Marana tha!  Come, Lord Jesus!


As the Word becomes Flesh, it means there is — in fact — a lot of work to do. So it behooves us to make haste!

Let us pause now…to recall that we are in the presence of the Holy & Merciful One.


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7 thoughts on “Today’s find: Making haste

  1. Jo Ann

    The final pic looks like the library at White House.
    Had wonderful Advent Day of Prayer there last week with Fr. Reale.

  2. Mary Kopuster

    We were there Dec 8th! All throughout mass today I thought about the hill we climbed to get to Visitation church in Judea, hill country for sure!
    That’s Mary, helping others even before Jesus was born!
    Yep still Advent! Prepare!

    • Visitation Chuurch: That’s one spot we missed on pilgrimage due to Gerri’s illness . Sounds like it was truly a hike!

      • Mary Kopuster

        It was a hike! Then ice cream on the way back. I meant to say Judah. It was pretty.

  3. Mary Heinsz

    I thought all the same thoughts that have already been shared…looks like White House Retreat, it sure was a hike up the hill at the Visitation church, and I remembered the statue of Mary and Elizabeth, both full and pregnant with baby boys that would change the world! Our priest made the comment at Mass, that “Mary took Jesus with her…” his line really struck me.

    • So, Mary…here’s something I’ve been meditating on this weekend: We who receive the Lord Jesus in the Eucharist…also carry Him in our bellies, just as the Blessed Mother did.

      Worthy or not, we too, take Jesus with us after every Mass…

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