An Introvert’s Advent

By Sister M. Martha Pavelsky, MHSH

This coming Tuesday, November 30, we celebrate the feast of St Andrew, brother of St. Peter. Were there ever brothers more different from each other? Peter was a leader, but it must be acknowledged, he was a bigmouth with a big heart and a desire to do great things. An old country song goes “Fools rush in where angels fear to tread” – Peter’s theme song, it seems. But where did Peter get his inspiration? How did he learn about Jesus?  Maybe from brother Andrew? We may never know, but it is encouraging (to us more reserved and cautious in temperament) to reflect on the differences between the two – and on the fact that both were apostles, martyrs, and pastors for sure. There is no cookie-cutter for the coming Advent or Christmas season marked “Saint _______ “(fill in the blank). As the Grinch might put it, it is a “Come All Ye Who’s” – anyone, of any personality type, intelligence, skill level, degree of devotion – is welcome.

So, we look at quiet, reflective, helpful-in-subtle-ways Andrew, so outshone by the bombastic Peter, and we say to ourselves, “Well, I can do that!”  I can set aside a bit of extra time during Advent to pray. I can pay a little extra attention to a second child in a family who is feeling a bit eclipsed by her elder sibling and comment positively about a gift or quality unique to her. I can write appreciative notes to family and friends in my Christmas cards.

Andrew made himself useful wherever he saw a need. He did not need to be a star, a great orator like his brother. He did whatever came to hand. We pray to him to sharpen our vision so we, too, can accept our own unique giftedness as we “wait in joyful hope” this Advent.