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Advent for Catholic Teachers And The Power of Silence

December 6, 2019

Today I want to share with you a beautiful quote from Frederick Beuchner. It’s a wonderful reminder of just how incredible this season of Advent really is. As Catholic teachers it’s so easy to be caught up in all the demands and complexity of trying to get things finished before Christmas. In this episode I want to share both the incredible truth of this season and how we need to be deliberate and proactive in pursuing it’s promises and meaning.

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The Doorway of Silence to Experience Advent

Well, hey, everybody.Jonathan Doyle with you once again. Welcome to The Catholic Teacher Daily Podcast. Excited to have the pleasure of your company. It’s been awesome. I checked the stats for the podcast, it’s growing really fast, so thank you to all of you that are sharing it. Thank you to all of you that are taking the time to listen. Please make sure you’ve subscribed, but a big thanks from me. Okay, a little bit of housekeeping. Please make sure that you are on the daily list. So, we have a list that goes to thousands of Catholic teachers every day where I do a really cool little quote. It’s very simple because I know you’re busy. So would you do me a favor today? Email me daily@beingcatholic.com.au. Do that daily@beingcatholic.com.au, so I can get you on that list so I can give you some encouragement every morning.

So I want to do that. And what else? When you’re on that list, you’ll see this little banner for the NCE, a convention in Baltimore, Maryland in April, 2020. It’s just me and 10,000 friends. There’s going to be roundabout 10,000 Catholic teachers in Baltimore in April, 2020 for the NCA convention. And guess what? I’m doing the keynote. It’s just an amazing privilege. I’m so excited. You know why I’m excited? Because I don’t have to worry about it, the Holy Spirit’s going to do it. It’s the best thing. I just do a bit of prep, I pray, I work hard, and I’m telling you this because this is what I believe is happening in your vocation as a Catholic teacher. See, in your vocation as a Catholic teacher, the Holy Spirit takes your natural gifts and elevates them. It’s the coolest thing ever. Your natural gifts and just elevates them beautifully.

So that’s why I’d love you to come. For my American listeners, however you have to do it, get the funding, get to Baltimore in Maryland. So just go to ncea.org and find out all about it, because I’d love to see you there. And please, If you get there, come and say hi. For my American listeners, Australians are pretty laid back, so if you come up out of the audience and say hi, that would be the best thing, all right. So come and say hi. I hope to see you all there. For my Australia, U.K. listeners, I hope you can be there too. It’s such a special event. Now, today, I’m sticking with this Advent theme. Let me share this beautiful quote with you from Frederick Buechner. Listen to this. “In the silence, there is a sound so faint that for all you can tell, it may be only the sound of the silence itself. You hold your breath to listen. You are aware of the beating of your heart. The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment.”

There’s a lot in that. The beautiful expectation that comes in the silence. It’s like the whole of creation was bending forward, leaning in, for this moment when God was going to act. What I’m saying to Catholic teachers in these recent episodes is, for most of us, end of year is busy with schools. We understand Advent’s a thing, but we don’t invest in it really as a thing. We just don’t. And I get that because we’re so busy and so much is happening, but what this beautiful quote is reminding us of is that we have to make time for the silence. We have to go into the silence deliberately. Two keywords, deliberately, specifically. It won’t come to us. Grace builds on nature and God needs our cooperation. He’s not going to do anything to us.

Now, he is just the most wonderful respecter of our freedom, so that he will allow us to ignore Advent. But if we choose not to, if we choose to come into the silence and be present to what’s happening, then he can do the most extraordinary things. So what’s happening for me is this connection with the Advent experiences. What it does is it just makes you realize what a mind blowing, outrageous thing, the incarnation and the Nativity really is. This is God coming after his kids. Maybe this is helpful, right? A few years ago, my little boy, he’s now 10, and I adore my son, he’s my only son. Our daughters, who I love dearly, but the special relationship’s with my boy. When he was really little, he went missing. He was very young, I forgot what age you would be, but he was very little, and we couldn’t find him.

And long story short, he’d thought it was kind of funny to go and hide somewhere at the back of our property, but we couldn’t find him, and I was literally on the phone to the police. And the absolute terror that I felt, this genuine terror that he had walked off somewhere, disappeared, who knows? And there is something in the heart of God for us because we’re his kids. And what the Incarnation is, what the Nativity is, is the heart of this perfect father. And I know many of us in life may not have had a perfect father and this is hard for us, but we have to let go of our perceptions of our own earthly fathers and their imperfections. We’ve got to operate in forgiveness there, but the heart of the father is very different. It is just such a mind blowing heart of love for his kids.

And what I felt when my son went missing is a fraction of what the father in heaven felt when his kids were missing, when his kids were lost. Because, do you understand that we couldn’t save ourselves? Do you understand that there was nothing that we could do to save ourselves? There is nothing that we could do to earn our way into heaven? When Adam and Eve got kicked out of the garden, friends, there were those flashing swords because they couldn’t get back in. And what this beautiful season of Advent is about is allowing us to realize the passion and the heart of God to come looking for us. So I pray that in the next few days you will find a way into your school chapel or a local church and you will just sit and you’ll be like, “Father, I want you to speak to my heart about this season. I want you to convict me of how much you love me. I want you to convict me of what you’re doing in this season.”

And I think if you do that, he’s going to honor that so beautifully. Look, behind all this is that I just believe that as Catholic educators you just give so much. I keep saying on stage, “You are professional givers. That’s what you do. You give and you give and you give and you give.” And really there’s just this incredible need to receive. And I want you to find the silence because you have so much to give. And the Holy Spirit wants to move through you so powerfully in the hearts of these precious young people that you teach every day, but you can’t give from this empty well. So bless you, friends. I hope you’re going to go to the silence. I hope you’re going to find his presence there. He loves you so much.

All right, come and find me. Instagram, jonathandoyle47. If you’re on Instagram, please come and find me jonathandoyle47. Why? Because I’m publishing there every day and I’m encouraging people. Please, on Twitter, I want to come and find me, @beingcatholic1, or just search for Jonathan Doyle. You should find me there. Look, if you’re on Facebook, come and just do a search, Passionate Catholic Teachers. Do a search for that. You’ll find the group. Come and join us. Everything else is on the website beingcatholic.com.au. Please go to that website and you can find out about how to book me to speak. And, of course, what else? There’s the Going Deeper program there, which you can take a free trial of, which is awesome.

So, last things, please make sure you’ve subscribed and could you do one last thing? Would you share this with people? Would you grab this link wherever you’re hearing it and send it to some other Catholic teachers and say, “Hey, check this out.” God bless you, everybody. Father, I pray for every teacher listening. Holy Spirit, just pour into their hearts, restore them, bless their families, ease their burdens, help them to be full this Advent and Christmas season so that they can just continue to give so beautifully to your precious young people in Jesus’ name. Amen. God bless, everybody. My name is Jonathan Doyle. This has been The Catholic Teacher Daily Podcast, and I’ll have another message for you tomorrow.

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Life offers us so many possibilities. I’ve always been interested in why some people live amazing lives of contribution and success and why so many struggle with lost ambitions, unfulfilling relationships and the status quo.

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