Dear Sisters,

When Jesus spoke to His disciples, He said, I am the Light of the World. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life. (John 8:12)

This passage reminds us of the lighthouse, which guides ships safely along their seafaring voyages, indicating a harbor, or warning of peril, dangerous shores or offshore shoals. Strong light rays of the lighthouse seen from afar helped sailors to find the right path in the darkness to their goal to home, to family and loved ones. Although they journey through the shadows of the ocean and mystery of the deep, they never lost sight of hope, because they followed the light.

We have Jesus Christ, the Light of the World, who guides us through difficult experiences of darkness and directs our lives to God the Father so we do not crash on the rocky shores of life. Jesus - Emmanuel, the Father's only begotten Son, is the only source of spiritual light, truth and energy. There is no other.

Dear Sisters, soon we will enter the Season of Advent. It is a brilliant and joyful time of preparation to celebrate the memory of the birth of our Saviour, but for us, as Religious, it is the time of the coming of our Lord, whom we love, await and for whom we long. Therefore, it should direct our ways and mark our days with faith, trust, and courage.

Do not waste a minute because the time is short. Prepare your way for the Lord and make straight paths for him (Is.40:3; Mk 1:3). Get out from your "own land" and search for the lighthouse.  Do not be afraid of the darkness, suffering, loneliness or criticism because the Holy One will guide you to holiness. Reflect now on what you are doing and where you are proceeding. Is this really what you want to do, how you want to live, and what you want to achieve?

Maybe you have never experienced total darkness, confusion, disorientation, and not knowing where to turn for help.  Maybe you never cried desperately for help from God. Community life often gives us the comfort of security, growth, support and stability.  But it may also put us in a sleep state, so that we are not aware spiritually of coming danger, darkness, and indifference toward life. We must realize that this unconsciousness weakens our vocation, quenches our enthusiasm, the mission spirit, and can bring us to a peaceful lethargy. This is not what we are called for. We Pallottine Missionaries cannot be satisfied with lukewarmness. By vows we are obliged to follow Jesus Christ with full dedication and participation in the apostolic mission of the Church sanctifying this world. St. Paul reminds us: Let us not sleep - Live as children of the light. (Thessalonians 5:5; Eph 5: 8)

My Sisters, Advent is a time of prayer and silence.  Immerse yourself fully in this. Listen to God in the Scriptures; be sensitive to the voice of prophets and to the calling of the poor.  Dedicate enough moments of your days to be with your Lord, because only in silence will you discover yourself anew and find God. In this depth of silence may Virgin Mary, Guide and Morning Star accompany you.

Advent is also a time of testimony.  As children of hope and of light, we should radiate with joy and carry love in our daily life. During this Advent be like a lighthouse for those who lost their way in darkness, nonsense, and the chaos of this world.

Together in prayer and in the Advent pilgrimage, I walk with you toward Light ...


Sr. Izabela Świerad, SAC

Superior General

Rome,  Advent 2010

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