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An Advent Moment: God Comes

The India poet Tagore in his poem “Silent Steps” gives us a focus for our Advent prayer and reflection:

Have you not heard his silent steps?
He comes, comes, ever comes.
Have you not heard his silent steps?
He comes, comes, ever comes.
Every moment and every age,
every day and every night he comes, comes, ever comes.

rainbowAdvent is a word derived from the Latin word adventus. It means “the coming” or “showing forth.” During the season of Advent we celebrate the various comings of God into our human community—into the past, the present, and the future. This Advent season I would like to focus on God’s comings in the present—every moment and every age, every day and every night.
Last year I became aware that my voice was hoarse. I thought it must be from all the talking I do; my friends and family readily agreed! However, as the months went on my voice grew hoarser. I finally decided to have my throat checked. I had a friendly conversation with the doctor, and he told me it was probably caused from straining my voice. After the doctor examined me (sticking a camera down my throat), to his surprise and my shock the doctor found a lesion on my right vocal cord, and he suspected cancer. You know how this goes—feeling overwhelmed by the “c” word, a cacophony of advice from all interested parties, more tests, two biopsies, a second opinion, an obsessive internet search, and finally all the preparations for surgery.
There were many experiences of God’s presence during that time, but one stands out. After surgery I had to be completely silent for a week—that in itself required divine intervention. I decided it was best to spend the period of silence and recovery with my sister Mary at her lake house in upstate New York. As we were driving to the lake there was an eerie silence. Usually we both talk incessantly and sometimes at the same time. As we came around a huge curve in the road, there was a rainbow. It was one of those full rainbows. Mary spoke my immediate thoughts: “Look at the rainbow. It is a sign from God; all will be well.” Mary pulled over, and I took a photo with my phone. I experienced a coming of God on a country road in upstate New York. Over those next weeks I often reflected on that photo and once again experienced God’s presence and assurance.
God comes, every moment and every age, every day and every night, if we but notice and place our trust in him. Advent is a season to be even more aware of God coming to us and an opportunity for us to come home to God.
Sr. Terry Rickard is the Executive Director of RENEW International and a Dominican Sister from Blauvelt, NY.

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5 Responses to “An Advent Moment: God Comes”

  1. Betsy Griffin says:

    Ah, Sister Terry, you have done it again, and I thank you. You have opened my eyes to another way to look at Advent. The quotation from Tagore is beautiful, and your story I needed to hear—especially as I am trying to support two friends with cancer and sometimes I forget to look for the signs of God’s presence all the time and in unexpected places. May you have many signs of physical and spiritual evergreen in deepest December.

  2. msrgarita says:

    I often look back on the hard times in my life not to mourn noy to cry but because I can see Him carrying me and guiding me. I can feel safe. I know firsthand that He is always there for me

  3. John Bartelloni says:

    Having cancer will change your life.

    Nearly four years ago I went in for a long overdue checkup.

    Had quite a few tests.

    My GP noted that my PSA was higher than it should be (17.16). To make a long story short (difficult for me) I soon learned that I had Stage 2 prostate cancer. You could have knocked me over with a feather.

    Submitted to 39 radiation sessions and two years of Lupron injections. Some fellows might joke about getting in touch with their feminine side; I assure you that it is nothing funny about it.

    The ordeal was a life changer for me. I started paying more attention to the marginalized. Read the works of great LBTQ and African American authors. Am still doing so.

    Most folks though I was a good guy before the cancer surfaced. I like to think that (with the loving support of my family) I am a better man today. I pay more attention to my relationship with God. Need to water that vine more often.

  4. silvia says:

    Your article touched me. You were convinced of the presence of God through the rainbow.

  5. Patricia says:

    I can relate to the story of seeing a rainbow and experiencing God’s presence and reassurance. Driving back home alone, after spending a weekend with a friend, I was troubled by this relationship and my part in it. I turned a bend in the road and was faced with a rainbow. I felt comforted and reassured that God would always be there. Thank you for reminding me of that. Patricia.

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