“Silence does not give God, but God gives Himself in silence,” wrote Marthe Robin, Foundress of the “Foyers de Charité” (Charity Homes). This phrase, which guided me throughout the preparatory retreat for the fifth renewal of my vows in Holy Cross, resurfaces today and comes to me as the best way to interpret the presence of John the Baptist in the desert on this second Sunday of Advent.
Furthermore, John, this model of humility and wisdom depicted by Mark in today's Gospel passage, makes me think of my friend, St. Joseph, as well as his illustrious son, our brother St. André Bessette. It was in silence, indeed, that God manifested Himself to them. Moreover, it is in silence that it was said, expressed, and given to humanity to enjoy, to savor its essence: Love.
Advent is a time offered to think about this Love, which is the essence of our lives as consecrated people. It is also a time to cleanse, to cleanse oneself, to let oneself be transformed to come nearer to God, to welcome Him, and to relive the mystery of Love, the mystery of the Incarnation. These are desires, efforts, expectations, and promises that are only fulfilled by grace.
So, Advent 2023 is a favorable time for our Holy Cross family to listen to God to discover His incredible love, and seek to live more zealously the gospel values. Let us therefore strive to be silent in our lives and to leave behind our occupations, our fears, and our attachments to better prepare for the coming of the One who comes.
Like John the Baptist, let us let Him who is stronger than us sculpt His image in us in order to make Him better known to the men and women of our time while ensuring respect for their dignity and their rights as creatures made in the image of the one and true God.
Deacon Jose-Etnour Lainé, C.S.C., is a member of the Our Lady of Perpetual Help Province in Haiti. He made his Perpetual Profession on September 22. He is serving as the Director of Student Services at College Notre-Dame du Perpétuel Secours in Cap-Haïtien, where he also oversees the sports programs and marching band.