Advent: A Time for Deliberate Action

Suzanne Cooke, RSCJ
Watching President Bush’s funeral provided a welcome rest from the constancy of acrimonious rhetoric.  As I listened to the music, the prayers and the eulogies, I remembered a quote about Advent from a Conference St. Madeleine Sophie gave in 1855:
Prepare for His coming into your hearts,
for that is why He came on earth: to be born,
to develop in your souls, and when the beautiful day
of Christmas arrives you will taste that peace
the Angels announced to persons of good will.
Reflecting on President Bush’s life and considering this quote compels one to wonder what allows some of us to be people of good will.  What insights did we gain from listening yesterday to all that was said, prayed and sung during the funeral? 
President Bush has been described as a person of good will. He remained a person of integrity and hope. The effort to prepare one’s heart so that one can live in hope and peace seems appealing, but it necessitates deliberate action. I gleaned from yesterday that good will is the fruit of living a life framed by decisions such as listening, respecting others, developing empathy, living with integrity, loving others, acting from hope, praying. 
In her conference, Sophie has provided us with a simple and profound observation. Advent reminds us that the self-discipline of stopping, breathing and praying is a simple practice, but there is no better preparation for Christmas.  More important, this practice is the ideal way to life fully and to be ready to leave this life for the next.  
Schools of the Sacred Heart share in the educational mission of the Society of the Sacred Heart as articulated in the Goals and Criteria. The structure supporting Sacred Heart education in Canada and the United States includes the Conference of Sacred Heart Education and the Network of Sacred Heart Schools.  Together they provide services and programs to ensure vitality of mission for the member schools sponsored by the Society of the Sacred Heart.