In this annual series, current and former volunteers reflect on the Advent Gospels and the Four Pillars of Faith-Based Service: Social Justice, Simplicity, Community and Spirituality. Presented by Catholic Apostolate Center and Catholic Volunteer Network.
Fourth Sunday of Advent Reflection, by Liz Fairchild, Holy Family Service Corps
“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.” – Luke 1:39-45
In this week’s Gospel, we accompany Mary going to visit her cousin, Elizabeth, and hear of the joy this visit brought to Elizabeth and her unborn son. This passage reminds me of one particular occasion during my volunteer year, while I was serving in a childcare center. It was a morning like every other morning in our preschool room, and then, one of my students came in with a huge smile on her face and gave me a hug saying, “My mommy is going to have a baby soon.”
Before lunchtime, she had told the entire preschool class and all of the teachers in our room. Before the week was done, every child in the center knew that Leah was going to be a big sister. In both the Gospel reading and in my service year, I experienced this kind of joy, whether it was sharing the joy of Christ while serving within my community or experiencing joy within my own daily life.
Focus on Spirituality: When I think of spiritual growth in relation to the Gospel today, it drives home the point that if I can spread joy to just one person, then that person in turn can spread it to another – and soon my joy becomes infectious. Many times this sharing encourages people to share themselves, in a way they may not have known they were able to. Many of my preschool students would respond to my happy news with news of their own. These exchanges allowed me to become more aware of my students and the ways I can better help them reach their potential.
Service Suggestion: If you are volunteering, be happy that you been given the chance to take part in this year of service. Get to know your fellow volunteers; they are essentially your family for the year. Do things as a community, with intention. Lastly, get out of your comfort zone often and try new things. You never know what you might discover. If you have volunteered in the past, or have not yet found a way to do so, simply find ways to engage in the activities of service which draw you close to others. Expand or re-expand your life through committed acts of love to your neighbors.
Prayer: Lord, You have given me so much. You have given me joy in the midst of sorrow. You have given me light in the midst of darkness. Help me to share Your joy and Your light with all whom I encounter. Amen.
- Liz is currently serving with Holy Family Service Corps in Pittsburgh, PA. Liz hails from Fairfax, MN.
Looking for more reflections like this one? We invite you to download our Advent Reflection Guide in its entirety, available by clicking here. You can find an extensive library of Advent resources by visiting the Catholic Apostolate Center website – click here.