The reflection below was written by Shannon Dee Williams, Ph.D. for our Advent-Christmas 2014 reflection booklet, Waking Up to God in Our Midst: Reflections for Advent 2014. Williams is an assistant professor of history at Villanova University with research and teaching specializations in African-American, women’s, religious, and civil rights history. She is at work on her first book, Subversive Habits: The Untold Story of Black Catholic Nuns in the United States, which is under contract with Duke University Press. You can follow her on Twitter at @BlkNunHistorian.
reflection for the SECOND sunday of advent, DECEMBER 6, 2020
by Shannen Dee Williams
God does not delay the promise, as some regard ‘delay’,
but is patient with you, not wishing that any should
perish but that all should come to repentance. (1 Pt 3:9)
Patience is one the greatest and most valuable Catholic virtues. In Galatians 5:22-23, St. Paul lists it among the fruits of the Holy Spirit. Yet, for many of us, patience remains elusive, especially when we are confronted with human injustice and suffering.
How many times have we become disgruntled when someone or some entity called for patience in the wake of preventable human tragedy or a clear instance of racial discrimination? How often have we equated patience with indifference or complicity in social injustice?
In the 1980s, German feminist theologian Dorothy Soelle coined the term “revolutionary patience” to characterize the uncommon faithfulness and resilience of those who struggle against injustice and refuse to give up hope in the face of routine setbacks and defeats. So often we forget that it has always taken revolutionary patience matched with concerted effort and activism in the long struggle to combat discriminatory social ideologies and dismantle longstanding systems of oppression.
As we reflect on today’s Advent readings and confront the ongoing reality of racism and oppression in our society and Church, let us be reminded of the revolutionary wisdom of patience and pray for its fulfillment and that of justice in our lives.
Am I doing enough to assist in the ongoing struggle to eradicate
racism and oppression in my community?
Am I patient and faithful enough to trust in the infinite wisdom of God?
Find more reflections and resources for the season on our Advent 2020 webpage.