By SISTER LORETTA COSTA, Commentary | Published December 22, 2011
Waiting is something I do not do very well. I’m always aware of that, but Advent brings “waiting” to my mind in a very special way.
What were Mary’s thoughts as she waited? She knew all too well that the baby she carried was, oh, so special. He was the one people throughout the ages had been expecting. He would come as a human among us and was the long-awaited Messiah, the Savior of the world and her God.
Did she wonder how she would care for this infant, this gift beyond all understanding? How would her neighbors and friends receive him? How would the divine in her Son manifest itself in the small community of Nazareth?
Her dear Joseph was there, silent, strong and ever loving. He had accepted his role and responsibility in the saga that we now know as Salvation. As the days dwindled down, did Mary, like most mothers, wonder what would happen to her Son? Did she wonder just how he would come to manhood and what his life would hold for him?
When the decree came that all must go to the hometown of their ancestors to register for taxes, how did Mary respond? Was she fearful of the journey, concerned about the end of her pregnancy? If the baby’s birth came about, what would she do? Where would they go so she could deliver the child? Who, besides Joseph, would be there to help her?
As I sat with these thoughts in prayer and quiet, my heart was filled with love, gratitude and peace. Waiting is part of who we are as human beings. Not a day goes by in our lives that we don’t wait for someone or something. We waited to be born, to go to kindergarten then on to grade school and high school. With great anticipation we waited for graduation day and what, we expected, lay beyond. No matter what we do, what we attain, our life is a quest and we must wait for the fruition of our desires.
This Advent I am walking a final journey with my dear sister, Tink. Tink is waiting, not always peacefully, to go home to her God. As I am with her, I feel as if this is my last time to wait with her in her quest for God.
Now, what can I learn from Mary today? I can hope for peace and pray for patience. I can be grateful for those who have lovingly joined me on the journey. At times it has been such a long, wearying journey, but one, as in Mary’s journey, I have had to yield to God’s will. I can ask for strength from our dear Lord when the tears come. I can sit beside Tink and just thank God that she and I have been able to share this end of her journey together. I know, beyond any doubt, that I am never alone in this waiting.
And so as I sing, “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” I sing not in sadness but in joy, knowing all will come in God’s good time and that we are always in God’s loving hands. I am at peace in the waiting. I know Mary is waiting with me and will show me how to wait for God.
Sister Loretta Costa has been a sister of St. Joseph of Carondelet for 71 years.