The Manhattan College community came together on Tuesday, December 6, for the Advent Afternoon of Reflection, an opportunity for faculty and staff to spend time reflecting on the spirit of this sacred season. Brother Daniel Gardner, FSC, president of Manhattan College, said that this was the first time an Advent reflection had been held at the College.
Father Jack Rathschmidt, OFM Cap, and a prominent spiritual director, was invited to make two presentations both entitled “Advent: An Invitation to Begin Again.” One theme of the afternoon was ways to prepare the spirit and soul for Christmas.
In his first presentation, Rathschmidt discussed the four verbs Pope Francis used to address how governments and institutions should respond to the worldwide migrant crisis. To consider the problems of human mobility, the Pope advised “to welcome, to protect, to promote, and to integrate.” Rathschmidt also emphasized the importance of Advent as a time to begin again and to recommit to the living God. In the second presentation, Rathschmidt talked about the role of faith and the call to discipleship during Advent.
The audience broke into small groups to discuss the significance of Advent in their own lives. There was also time allowed for prayer, private contemplation, and meditation. About 40 people from the College community attended the two-hour event held at the Kelly Commons.
“It was definitely a profound experience and gave faculty and staff a chance to step away from the everyday business of work,” said Br. Daniel. “It allowed them to reflect on the coming of Jesus at Christmas.”