Fr. James Martin, S.J.: What do you desire this Advent?

Photo by Ben White on Unsplash

Subscribe to “The Examen” for free on Apple Podcasts

Advertisement

Subscribe to “The Examen” for free on Google Play

Join our Patreon Community

Advent is all about desire, an elderly Jesuit in our community used to say every year as November drew to a close.  And whenever he said it, I would say, “What?” 

But gradually it dawned on me what he meant. Christians desire the coming of Christ into their lives in new ways, a desire that is heightened during Advent.  The beautiful readings from the Book of Isaiah, which we often hear proclaimed during Advent, describe how even the earth longs for the presence of God.  The wonderful “O antiphons,” sung at evening prayer and during the Gospel acclamations towards the end of Advent, speak of Christ as the “King of Nations and their Desire.” The Gospel readings tell of John the Baptist expressing Israel’s hope for a Messiah. Mary and Joseph look forward to the upcoming birth of a son.  My friend was right: Advent is about desire.

The problem is that desire gets a bad rap in the spiritual life, since some people equate it with selfishness. Like “I want a new car or a new computer or new phone.” But our deepest desires are God’s desires dwelling within us: desires for peace, for love, for hope, and, most of all for God. So this Advent, this season of desire, ask God to reveal to you your deepest desires. And ask to come to know the Desire of the Nations, Jesus.

Comments are automatically closed two weeks after an article's initial publication. See our comments policy for more.
Bruce Snowden
8 months 1 week ago

Mr. Spangler, I looked for Jesus in what you wrote, but all I found was venom, very disappointed in your cruel debasing of the good priest, James Martin, S.J. The aspersions of God's Grace are everywhere and its droplets build hope and that's where God resides. Good people are sometimes not always entirely right - even saints are not always entirely right, in fact sometimes terribly wrong, This does not damage Goodness.

Advertisement
More: Prayer / Advent

The latest from america

Cardinal George Pell's conviction on child sexual abuse charges was upheld by a 2-1 ruling of an Australian court of appeal.
Associated PressAugust 20, 2019
Survivors of Cyclone Idai arrive at an evacuation center on March 21, 2019, in Beira, Mozambique. The African nation is one of three that Pope Francis will visit in September. (CNS photo/Denis Onyodi, Red Cross Red Crescent via Reuters) 
Pope Francis will visit Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius in his September trip, writes Vatican correspondent Gerard O'Connell, all former colonies facing development challenges.
Gerard O’ConnellAugust 20, 2019
Bishop J. Mark Spalding of Nashville, Tenn., center, listens to a speaker on the first day of the spring general assembly of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops in Baltimore June 11, 2019. (CNS photo/Bob Roller)
Reacting to the scandal of clergy sex abuse and cover-up 17 years ago, eight bishops offered a bold proposal to convene a regional synod for the church in the United States.
In this Feb. 26, 2019, photo, Cardinal George Pell leaves the County Court in Melbourne, Australia. Pell’s lawyers argued in his appeal that there were more than a dozen “solid obstacles” that should have prevented a jury from finding him guilty beyond a reasonable doubt of molesting two choirboys. The appeal court will give their verdict on Aug. 21. (AP Photo/Andy Brownbill)
Cardinal Pell would walk free if the three judges acquit him of the five convictions.