Day 13 – Advent Reflection - Letting Go of Me

I wouldn’t say I like looking back at my shortcomings. If I let my mind rewind the movie, it will start playing those peccadilloes from about age eight forward. The time I stole candy from the grocery checkout line. That time I flipped off the grandmotherly type in Houston traffic because she inadvertently cut me off - that stings every time it plays back. The time I got worked up and angry and yelled at a fellow employee – that showed up on my year-end employee review. Not to mention all the times I have fallen short as a husband, father, or priest. Playing back the movie gets depressing. I can’t do much about any of those things, but I can try to do better in the future and trust that God’s mercy is larger than those misdemeanors. But I don’t think this is what we are called to do when we repent.

The Way of Love Advent calendar focuses primarily on practices that make us more aware of God in our world. On Fridays in Advent, however, we are invited to turn back toward God. This Friday, specifically, we are asked to look for the places we fell short this week and seek to make amends. I hear this, and that ready-made movie starts to roll. But I wonder, as opposed to playing back the movie of our offenses, what if we consider the opportunities where we neglected or failed to see God present. What if I took a moment and looked at where I thought I had it right and, in my conceit, failed to recognize those who helped me? What if I considered that more important than my offenses is the presumption I make when I believe I am doing right or being good, and in doing so, muted or ignoring a bigger story? What if I am missing God’s inbreaking because I have assumed that it is all about me?

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