Sunday Stride – Open to the Message of Love


This week’s #SundayStride and all those during the Advent season includes a pdf reflection. This week’s reflection is on the topic of Love with questions, prayers, and an Examen to guide you through your week.

Sunday strides are written based on the lectionary readings of the day from the Catholic Lectionary. A stride is a “step in progress towards an aim” – for me, a Sunday stride is another movement towards the greater. You can find this Sunday’s readings here.

One night last week around midnight, I woke up startled by a little face staring at me. I had been in a deep sleep, and so I think I jumped a foot when I saw him there. Then, the face spoke: “Mom, I promise, I’m not here to crawl into bed with you. I’m just thirsty.” I grumbled back still recovering, “Then go get some water! You know how to do that!” He shook his head “No, I want my water bottle from the car. I just want to know if I can go out and get it.” Well, I’m not exactly the most pleasant person when you wake me in the middle of the night, so I grumbled “No! You can not! Go back to bed now!” He left dejected, and closed the door behind him. 

As he left, I started to wake up a little, and I knew he would not go to bed easily without what he was seeking. So, I got up, opened our door and grumbled through the hallway. It wasn’t two steps before my foot came down in a wet pile that our dog had left for us in the hallway. More grumbling. Lots more grumbling. I walked out to the car and searched high and low, only to find no water bottle. Then, I grumbled back to the kitchen to get a spare, filled it with water, walked to the room and handed it off with a gruff “now stay in bed!” 

Then, I cleaned up the mess in the hallway (and my foot), and got back into bed now wide awake. As I tried to desperately to fall back asleep, I started to feel bad for all my grumbling. I got up out of bed and walked to my son’s room. He was starting to fall asleep, but I sat down anyway, and said “I’m sorry, honey.” He told me he just wanted to ask permission because he knew he shouldn’t go out the door without me. I hugged him and said that when I’m woken up from sleep, I can be kinda grumpy. I reminded him that I love him all the time. 

The responsorial psalm from the readings for the fourth Sunday of Advent proclaims “Let the Lord enter, he is king of glory.” I wonder, reading these lines, how many times I am too asleep to let the Lord enter. I wonder how many times I wake to His gentle nudge with folded arms and a stern “No thank you!” 

The Gospel for the fourth Sunday of Advent reminds us of how the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream declaring that Mary was to have the Son of God. He was all set to divorce Mary quietly, but while sleeping, he was able to open his heart to what God wanted him to hear. I wonder how many times I am asleep even during the day to the sound of God in my heart. 

As we enter into the last week of Advent (a short week of only a couple days!), I pray that we can open our hearts and minds to the messages God wishes us to hear even when we are weary… especially when we are weary.

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