Advent: the Call to Awaken as Catholics and Writers

The advent of winter–for those of us in the northern hemisphere–is a powerful reminder of the changing seasons of our lives. Another year is passing! Of all the seasons in the northeast, winter is hardest to ignore. The cold invigorates. Stepping outdoors from the cozy warmth of our home immediately perks up our senses, no matter how much our shivers protest.

Advent is the Church’s invigorating call to awaken to the meaning of life, and to the invitation to eternal life with the Christ-who-comes. Every time we “wake up” to the reality of the shortness of our lives, we want to take advantage of the gift of each moment. When we reflect that Jesus is inviting us to share in the fullness of life with Him, our time here becomes not only precious, but hope-filled. We have an eternity of joy to look forward to, if we take the opportunity to get ready now.

Advent is meant to wake us up spiritually, to enliven our spiritual perception.

The awakened state of Advent helps me as a writer. Part of being a writer is striving to be always “more” awake, because sleepiness kills creativity. When I am looking for an idea, whether I’m writing an article or a chapter, what I’m really doing is hoping to be awakened. I’m looking to discover something new, to make new connections, to see a new insight. The more spiritually awake I am, the more likely I am to make a new connection or see something in a new way. Even if I am not writing specifically about faith and I’m not describing the Something More for Whom we all long, that longing for the Eternal and sense of the incompleteness of our lives is infused in my writing.

Advent reminds us that our lives here on earth are a gift for the moment and a preparation for eternal joy with God. This perspective of faith makes every moment, every detail of our lives, precious. As a writer, if I can cherish the luminosity behind the day-to-day of my life, my writing will inevitably help others to awaken to the radiance hidden in their everyday lives.

Editor’s note, updated: In follow-up to CWG member concerns, and to avoid any appearance of endorsing heterodoxy, the officers of the CWG have opted to withdraw the reference to Fr. Rohr’s work.  The quote in question was in no way opposed to the Catholic faith, but serious concerns about Fr. Rohr’s orthodoxy were raised, based on some of his other writings found elsewhere online.

About Sr. Marie Paul Curley

Sr. Marie Paul Curley, fsp, is a member of the Daughters of Saint Paul, who seek to communicate Christ in their lives and through the media. Originally from the Boston area, she entered the Daughters of St. Paul while a teenager, convinced that she had discovered God’s plan for her life. Twenty-five years later, she still rejoices daily in God’s loving plan for her. Sr. Marie Paul is currently missioned in Boston, MA, where she writes for Pauline Digital and Pauline Studios. Her most recent books, Saints Alive! The Faith Proclaimed and Saints Alive! The Gospel Witnessed, are novelized short stories of saints from every walk of life.
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13 Responses to Advent: the Call to Awaken as Catholics and Writers

  1. Edward A. Hara says:

    You want my unvarnished opinion? This is what is wrong with Catholic publishing today. Richard Rohr, whose teachings have a nice salty dose of New Age crappola in them, gets published, and orthodox Catholics are left begging out in the cold.

    I am unimpressed.

    • Psst . . . in the interest of keeping the combox civil, please try to tone down the rancor.



      PS, Edward, I think tomorrow’s post from Larry Peterson will be more to your taste. Check it out!

    • I appreciate your opinion, but I regret the “unvarnished” tone.

      Your passion for the truth is admirable. But as Catholic writers, I believe that we are called to a higher standard of charity that requires moderation even in how we express the truth. We bear the responsibility of helping to bring about the Kingdom of God with our words, no matter how indirectly. Call me idealistic, but even our disagreements should have a certain thoughtfulness and balance about them, so that they encourage true intellectual honesty and dialogue, rather than inflaming or wounding. Our CWG forum may be small, but it is public. We have the opportunity here to bring our faith into our craft, and to hone our craft to articulate our faith ever better.

      Your point about Catholic publishing is challenging. I’d love to see a fruitful discussion here about how we can make orthodox Catholic titles best-sellers. To find an audience and build a following, our writing also needs to be readable, engaging, witty, accessible, creative, enjoyable, etc. Few current Catholic authors write about faith and spirituality with this kind of appeal: Rolheiser, Martin, and Kreeft come to mind. How can we make that “leap forward” in the quality and content of our writing?

      A final note about Father Rohr’s writing: I cannot agree with your opinion. Rohr has a particular approach and he is certainly not the best fit for everyone, nor would I recommend him to everyone. Yet, Rohr’s point that we need to be spiritually awake is Gospel-based. The way he wrote about it inspired me to write this post, and I thought it worthwhile to mention it.

  2. Pingback: Advent: Emotions The Season Triggers Internally for Me

  3. I love his writings and subscribe to his blog. A few of Richard Rohr’s titles are on my Christmas shopping list this year!

  4. Ann Seeton says:

    I’m inspired. Thank you for an uplifting post! I’m going to do a bit more writing on my blog this Advent, beginning today!

  5. Update to all: The officers elected to remove the reference to Fr. Rohr’s work, due to the concerns of several members that we were giving the appearance of endorsing heterodoxy. The quote itself was in no way controversial.

    • Clement says:

      This pulling of the link to Rohrs new Christmas book in this post is ridiculous! Please call me. You should not take a members writing, especially a Sister in the CWG and edit it based on “elected officials.” Are we in a dictators society. Sister Marie should be allowed to write what she believes, and the freedom to express all points of view. And a Christmas book, come on, get real.

  6. Clement says:

    Rohr is left of center for sure. I missed seeing him talk when he came to the abbey in town. He is out there stirring it up, which is a good thing. I liked The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See written by Rohr. Good reminder to get it out again.
    In that book, I remember him telling a story of a comment one of the Gethsemani monks said at a retreat he conducted: “Merton told us we were not even contemplatives – we were just introverts!” He then agreed with Merton’s assessment. Got love that openness.

  7. Ann Seeton says:

    I certainly sympathize with the desire to avoid seeming to approve of someone whose work has heterodox elements, or at least elements that seem heterodox. But could there not have been an * and footnote indicating that to many his work is suspect, and the content of the article left alone, especially if the quote used is innocuous?

    After all, many many many of us read eclectically and will quote pithy phrases from our own reading. Unless those specific quotes are heretical, should they not be left alone in the body of a work that is also not heretical?

    Where does one draw the line? Do we not quote secular writers unless they are known to be orthodox? Or what of quoting poets who seeks to write their verse on true things in new ways and in the midst of good things will end up with unfortunate bits too. We have favorite writers of all genres and some of them will write books in other genres, and will be have to have every single person who has a quote that inspires us vetted ahead of time. I think that would be an unnecessary bother for the CWG.

    Since I have thought over the broader implications, I cannot agree with the removal either.

    • Ann,

      I completely understand that POV, and that was my first instinct as well — take all that is true and good, wherever it may be found. It is, 98% of the time, the deciding rule here on the blog.

      As we’re feeling our way through the process of being an organization that is committed to upholding the Magesterium of the Church, and of both allowing all that the faith allows, and at the same time not compromising with the voices of dissent, at times we are going to have these messy moments, when there is more than one way to proceed.

      It is a real pleasure, when we disagree over what can be such a hot topic, to be working with writers and officers who can both be at odds with each other on a given question, and still be so charitable and respectful.

      I think members of the CWG can differ on this question without anyone doubting we are all sincere and faithful Catholics.