Waiting is a Spiritual Discipline

By: Columban Father Tom Glennon
December 5, 2011

“Waiting is  a spiritual discipline,”  said Simone Weil.   It is among  the practices of prayer, listening, meditation  and  the Rosary.

Waiting takes many forms. There  are the unemployed who   have applied for work, waiting to be called.  And the homeless men and women  at shelters  waiting  for  day labor. Recently, three of those  men at the shelter  got the call.  They  worked with  a construction job  doing roofing  in the hot summer sun.

At the end of the day, the manager  said  he needed to leave and go get money to pay them.  The manager did not return.

These three men  wait  for justice.

Today  there seems to be less focus on waiting.   The internet, instant messaging  and various electronics  move conversations to an immediacy which is historically unprecedented.  Skype connects missionaries   from Pakistan  to Nebraska.  The rapid urbanization of  many communities  has  led to  a gap  between the farmer  and the grocery store. City people do not have to wait  for the harvest.  Refrigeration makes  produce  available  for longer seasons.  There is litttle waiting.

Nature has  its cycles  and rhythms.   Hope  is anticipated.  Faith is given as Gift.  Charity  emits  from  lives of love.

Sheila and Dan  were awaiting the birth  of their  child.    Like parents around the world,  they held hopes, expectations and anticipation.  How  would the child  be?

Sheila and Dan  welcomed Bradley Thomas  surprisingly  early.  Six weeks.  Today , thanks to medical aid, this child is thriving.

We await the time of Noel,  Emmanuel, God with us.  We wait  for the time when swords are turned into ploughshares.

We look forward and anticipate when the lion will lay down with the lamb.  In faith  and hope, we believe in peace on earth and goodwill to all.  Let it be.