Darkness into light. That familiar image underscored a prayer service, held on the second Sunday of Advent, as Viatorian associates, brothers and priests — in the Arlington Heights/Chicago region — reflected on ways to bring light into a broken world.
“As we enter into Advent, we ask for the grace to dispel the darkness,” said Associate Christine Gucwa at the outset,” and renewed faith to be light to others.”
Gucwa worked with other members of the regional team to create the service, including Associates Barbara D’Urso and John Dussman, as well as Fr. Daniel Hall, CSV.
They gathered in the Viatorian Province Center Chapel, where their guided prayer and hymns emphasized bringing light into the darkness, in places such as in countries torn apart by war and violence, where people have been forced from their homes and separated from their families, and for those who are sick or suffering from poverty, hunger or isolation.
Fr. Hall offered a reflection during the service. He shared a short story, written by Fr. Walter Burghardt, SJ, that told of a young cab driver in New York City, who wanted to help the “forgotten people on the streets.” As he prayed for guidance, he heard from God that he should make eight pounds of pasta and give it out, with no expectations.
Fr. Hall used the story as a springboard to describe the grace that comes from giving unconditionally.
“Instead of waiting for Christ’s return, we should get busy and lead the life he wants us to,” Fr. Hall said, “feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, visit the sick, and all with no expectation of anything in return. Once we do that, perhaps he will come again.”
In closing, Fr. Hall brought his message closer to home: “Be that light for a neighbor most in need, with exactly no expectation in return.”
The prayer service closed with a particularly appropriate 16th Century traditional French carol, “O Come, Divine Messiah.” Not only did the carol capture the theme of dispelling the darkness, but it was a favorite of the founder of the Viatorians, the Venerable Fr. Louis Querbes, who included it in his daily prayer book.