By Fr. Jim Piszker
One of the major themes of the Advent season is hope. In this past year, a group of people who have offered me a real sense ofhope are the women religious (for those who may be unfamiliar with this term, i.e., sisters or nuns) of the United States. As is well known, they have come under fire through their organizing body, the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, for irregularities according to a Vatican investigation. Rather than becoming defensive, which would be easy to understand, they saw what was happening as an opportunity — an opportunity for prayer, for reflection, for examination, for measured action.
What a wonderful example they have provided for all people of good will who face particular challenges each and every day! Rather than seeing what was happening as an obstacle to overcome, they saw it as an avenue for creative growth, as individuals and as a body. Each day we all have a decision to make – how are we going to respond to that which life and the world throw at us? Are we going to use the situation for growth or for recrimination? Are we going to react negatively and defensively or are we going to see the situation in a hopeful vein?
Advent reminds us that Christians are people of hope. The women religious of this country have demonstrated that identity in a very real and positive way by their actions. May this Advent season be a time of reflection on how all of us can incorporate authentic hopefulness into our daily lives.
Fr. Jim Piszker, a priest of the Diocese of Erie, has been the university chaplain and an adjunct faculty member since 1998.