Advent Reflection, Thursday, December 13, 2012
By Jenee Margo Gonzales, B.A. ’97, J.D., ‘03
Director of Government Relations & Community Collaborations, University Advancement
In just a few days my younger brother will be deployed on his third tour of duty with the U.S. Army, his first in Afghanistan. As I prepare for that day I cannot help but reflect on today’s readings and how each speaks to me.
I can remember back, many years ago, when my brother came to me for my advice as to whether he should accept an ROTC scholarship to St. Mary’s. As an alumna myself, and at the time planning to apply to the law school, I was happy, humbled and honored that he came to me. Being from a military family I encouraged him to accept the offer. However, this was well before 9/11 and the wars that resulted from the tragedy of that horrific day.
Since his commission and graduation in spring 2003, each time he has come up for deployment I look back on that fateful day when he asked me for advice and I wonder if I gave him the right counsel. Knowing my brother I think I did, he already had his mind made up when he came to me for my opinion, but being the thoughtful brother that he is he came to his big sister for words of validation and guidance.
In the readings today the Lord reminds us not to be afraid that he is always with us. Where there is despair, God our Lord brings renewal and hope, that when you are at your neediest God will be there for you. Every day we experience different types of stressors and anxieties in our life from our work to our studies, health and relationship issues, to being miles away from our family, such as this deployment will be for mine. What we must remember is that our Lord God is always with us, in good times and in bad; He renews us with love, bringing hope and peace in our lives.
Our Lord is kind and merciful; I thank him daily for the gift of life, the good and the bad. During this Advent Season which is a promise of hope, hope sprung anew, I am becoming more and more forgiving of myself and accepting of my faith. It is my growing and ever-evolving faith that gives me strength, strength in knowing that my brother will be kept out of harm’s way, by our Lord Jesus Christ, until he is returned safely home.