Be open to the “nudge” of God

Employees from across the country come together for an Advent Hour of Recollection

This morning, November 29, approximately 100 employees, volunteers and other Dehonian collaborators in the United States came together via Zoom for an Advent Hour of Recollection.

“We have more than 500 people ministering alongside the SCJs in the United States,” said Fr. Vien Nguyen. “This is amazing grace! On behalf of the SCJs, I thank you for your commitment to carrying on the SCJ mission. Together we serve.”

The hour was led by Sr. Nancy Schreck, a member of the Sisters of St. Francis of Dubuque, Iowa (OSF). She has served extensively in formation and leadership, including as president of the Leadership Conference of Women Religious and as a US delegate to the International Union of Superiors General. She is also a past president of the Board of Directors of Sacred Heart Southern Missions.

Her topic for the hour: “The Challenge of Making Room for Jesus During the Busyness of the Holidays.”

“In Catholic tradition we celebrate four weeks of trying to prepare to welcome Christ more deeply in our lives,” said Sr. Nancy. The theme for this first week of Advent is to “stay awake, to be ready to welcome God in our lives. But what does that really mean?”

To “stay awake,” she continued, “is an invitation to be very attentive to what is happening in our place and our time. We rarely experience things in big, explosive ways, but instead, in little ‘nudges.’”

Taking the time to feel those little “nudges,” to make room for Jesus, “is something very critical in our pre-Christmas preparations,” she continued. “If we are going to take time for Jesus we have to be awake. How can we notice those little nudges if we’re we are too exhausted to pay attention? How can we sense the birth of something new in our lives if we are so busy that we can’t even feel the labor pains?

“We have to stay awake and notice God’s presence in our lives and thus embody God’s unconditional love.”

Sr. Nancy reminded listeners of the many stories in Scripture of John the Baptist, and even Jesus, going out into the wilderness to find silence, to listen. Taking time to listen, to “stay awake” must be a priority. “Maybe you can only take ten minutes, but schedule that ten minutes. Write it in your calendar,” she said, adding that if we can block time for meetings, we can block a few minutes each day to listen to God.

“Take time, MAKE TIME to be attentive to what is happening in you and in your location,” she said. “If we can really be awake, aware, open to the nudging of the spirit of God, I think that we can point the way to God for others…

“Our mission requires that we make room for Jesus in our lives personally and corporately. We celebrate not only the birth of Jesus but what that birth initiated in the world.

“We are called to work and talk and live in a different way, to be an example of coming together in struggle for a world where we are known as the Family of God, as the presence of the Sacred Heart of Jesus.

“Every day we want people to know that we point a way to God through what we do…

“If we have fallen asleep a little bit, it is time to wake up, to look within, to ask what change I might need to make to create a path for the Lord in my heart and in the world.”