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In the midst of the bustling holiday season, the sacred season of Advent beckons us to pause, reflect, and embrace the spiritual discipline of waiting. As we journey through this period of anticipation and preparation for the coming of Christ, we are invited to reacquaint ourselves with the transformative power of waiting and the profound lessons it bestows upon our souls.

The Complex Nature of Waiting


Waiting is complex. We can draw parallels between the eagerness to actively wait for the fulfillment of God’s promises and the tendency to fall into the trap of passively expecting our own desires to be fulfilled. We must all earnestly cultivate a spirit of patience and receptivity, relinquishing our preconceived notions and embracing the divine art of waiting.

Waiting Like a Waiter


Jill’s, Executive Director of Many Parts Ministries, in a recent episode of “Charisms for Catholics”, exploration of waiting in the context of Sacred Scripture, particularly the Old Testament verses about waiting on the Lord and Mary’s exemplary example of waiting, offered a profound insight into the multi-faceted nature of this spiritual discipline. Her comparison between waiting with loved ones in everyday life and the nuanced role of a waiter underscored the active and purposeful essence of waiting, igniting a newfound appreciation for the depth and significance of this oft-misunderstood practice.

Waiting on God’s Timing

Furthermore, Jill’s personal journey of waiting for clarity from God underscored the profound impact of surrendering to God’s timing and actively engaging in the waiting process. Her narrative celebrated the transformative potential of embracing the period of waiting and the spiritual growth that unfolds as a result of patiently trusting in God’s divine plan.

The Sacred Opportunity to Wait


As we absorb the profound insights shared by Jill, we are reminded of the invitation to console God’s heart with our presence through waiting, acknowledging the sacred stillness and receptivity that crystallize the essence of the Advent season.
In the rush of modernity, the Advent season bestows upon us a sacred opportunity to reassess our understanding of waiting, fostering a deeper spiritual awareness, and nurturing a sense of eager anticipation for the imminent arrival of Christ.


As we embark on this journey through Advent, let us steadfastly embrace the sacred gift of waiting, recognizing its capacity to refine our spirits, fortify our faith, and draw us ever closer to the divine presence we earnestly await.
May we actively wait on the Lord, with hearts wide open to receive His boundless blessings and divine guidance as we fervently prepare for the birth of Jesus Christ.


In the resounding words of Jill Simons, let us contemplatively explore how waiting enriches our relationship with God and deepens our spiritual gifts, endeavoring to perfectly emulate the spirit of waiting on the Lord during this poignant season.
Embracing the sacred gift of waiting is not only a timeless tradition but also a profound manifestation of our unyielding faith, encapsulating the very essence of the Advent season.

Jill Simons:

Hello, and welcome to Charisms for Catholics. My name is Jill Simons, and I’m the executive director at Many Parts Ministries where we equip the body of Christ by helping people learn about and discern their charisms, which is really another word for spiritual gifts. When you discern your charisms, you’re are able to see how the holy spirit is already active in your life and where he is inviting you to further build the church. Let’s dive in. Editor Jill here from after going through and editing this podcast. There are a couple places where there are loud sounds, and it is just the sound of my paper right next to my computer, I did not catch it as I was recording. And, due to a lot of issues, we were not able to remove them in post. So I just wanted you to be prepared.

Jill Simons:

If you wanna listen to this at a little bit lower volume or something like that, there are a couple places where my papers brush up against the microphone, and I am so sorry. This is kind of at the the limits of my editing ability to fix. So thank you for your patience on that front. Hello. I am so excited to begin the season of Advent with you with this episode. This is gonna be a little less targeted in terms of being only about charisms. Usually, we talk very pointedly specifically about charisms. But in this episode, I want to give you more of a framework for just heading into Advent and really thinking about what this time is for.

Jill Simons:

And so I’m just going to share, a version of a talk that I gave last week, actually, at a parish here in my hometown about really the gift of waiting that we have as we head into Advent. And so in reflecting on waiting, I realized that there’s really a few few things that we detest as much as a society as waiting. Will really do just about anything to avoid a wait, whether it’s find something with a faster ship time or change lines in the grocery were to be able to go to the shortest one so that we’re not waiting any longer than we have to be. Were looking for things to be fast, fast acting. We’re looking at marketing that is really sending the message that instant vacation is the most important thing. But yet, at the beginning of this liturgical year, in the season of Advent, we are invited into this season that is specifically about waiting. Were asked to slow down for 4 whole weeks just as the rest of the world is really going into overdrive. Because to everyone else, it’s already Christmas.

Jill Simons:

It’s already the hustle and bustle of the holidays, and yet we as Catholics are asked to be still. Why is this? When we look at people the people that god loves, so especially all of the saints that we also love so much. I think there’s 2 really interesting common threads that aren’t exactly what we would expect, and that’s that he asks them to suffer, and he asks them to wait. And this makes us maybe immediately wanna, like, opt out of of being one that god loves or opt out of sainthood. But I think that there is something that we learn in both of those things, suffering and waiting, that is so integral to the Christian life. And it’s also very interesting then to think about the liturgical year and how we have a season for each of them. We have lent that we’re all very familiar with and typically more comfortable with where we’re focusing on suffering. But then we have advent where we are invited to focus on waiting.

Jill Simons:

And and both of these seasons are really meant to be a gift because neither of those things are things that we’re seeking out on our own. We’re not looking for opportunities to suffer and wait, and that’s exactly why the church kind of takes us by our callers and leads us in to these seasons to really look in the face of things that we would avoid left to our own devices. But why is it that we need this. What is the point of the waiting and the suffering? I think that the answer really lies in God’s mercy. God knows our human feebleness and how he created our muscles to work including and maybe even especially our brains. And there’s this whole wing of social scientists sciences, I should say, that looks at how we build and maintain habits and how things that we do over and over again affect affect our lives. But long before we had that, long before we did the social sciences as a culture, we had the church led by God giving us these opportunities to practice suffering and to practice waiting so that when the big suffering comes along, when the big weight comes along, we have some spiritual and emotional stamina for that. When God makes that big ask of us, when we have our moments like Christ in the Garden of Gethsemane, we can get past our own weak human wills because we’ve done this before.

Jill Simons:

We know what it’s like to suffer, and we know what it’s like to wait. And I think a lot of us kind of get this about Lent. Right? It’s it’s the more straightforward season for a lot of us. It’s early spring. The world is kind of gray. It it makes sense for it to be the more suffering kind of season. We kind of rub shoulders with people still plugging away on their New Year’s resolutions, send there’s kind of a cultural solidarity happening there, and you don’t miss out on a lot. You know? Maybe there’s know sugar in your coffee.

Jill Simons:

Maybe it’s, you know, you don’t take the birthday cupcakes in the break room or something like that. But all in all, it makes sense to us. Whereas Advent is really confusing for us just in terms of what were supposed to, like, do a lot of the time, but also it’s confusing to our culture because to them, it’s already Christmas. And that’s a Christian thing. Right? So why are we not embracing Christmas? And so Advent often becomes this kind of uncomfortable thing to look at. We, you know, light our advent calendar or candles, I should say, if they didn’t melt in the attic during the summer or, you know, when we go to mass on Sundays, and that’s kind of the extent of it. And other than that, a lot a lot of Catholics’ advent looks a lot like most people’s December. Right? And I think that can be okay.

Jill Simons:

I’m not here to tell you that you can’t put up your tree or you should stop wrapping presents. But what I think separates an intentional advent from a passive advent isn’t the way it looks. It’s what’s happening inside. Because ultimately, inside is where we wait. But then that question remains. Right? What do we do? How do we live this advent call to waiting? And so I have some thoughts about this. 1st of all, I think it’s really interesting if we look at one of our most commonly used job descriptors because it gives us a lot of insight into this topic of waiting, and that’s the idea of being a waiter. We don’t really think of it that way.

Jill Simons:

Right? You know, we say all the time, waiter, but it doesn’t really land that way. It’s just what they’re called. And I think the job of a waiter is really our same job in Advent. Because what are the two sides of the equation at a restaurant? Right? There’s a waiter, and there’s a customer. There’s someone who’s doing the serving and someone that’s being served. And now think about which is which. Pretty obvious. Right? We take part in this all the time.

Jill Simons:

This is a dynamic that we’re really used to. But I was really drawn to this metaphor actually in doing biblical research for this talk because I knew the Holy Spirit was really drawing me into talking about waiting. And so I started like I always do and just researched the Bible, looked for the word wait. There were a ton of hits as you might imagine, but I was really struck by these ones woven all throughout the bible that were about this waiter waited on kind of situation. There’s a story in the gospels that I’m sure you know where Jesus heals a woman and she immediately waits on him is what the scripture says. There are stories all throughout the old testament of entertaining guests and waiting on prophets and angels and things like that. And I was just really taken with this whole idea of serving and being served. Food concretely as an extension of waiting as we’re discussing now because I don’t think we pull those things together very often.

Jill Simons:

But I think the insights are really really interesting if we do. Because if you think about your relationship with God, who is the waiter and who is the waited upon. Harder. Right? Maybe you feel like your answer is not the right answer. Any it It definitely lands that way for me. I think a lot of times in my relationship with God, I’m asking for the things. I’m asking for the food that I want to be prepared a certain way, ordering water with not too much ice, maybe a lemon, asking for the dressing on the side, all of those things. And it’s it’s really about executing my vision for things.

Jill Simons:

We kinda do the one-sided waiter conversation thing, and I’m the one who’s always talking. I’m the one who’s making my concerns heard, asking for specific things to happen in a very specific way. Kinda just expect God to shuffle off and do it. Right? His job is the other side of the equation in my mind. But when I put that into so many words, I think it’s really obvious that there’s something out of balance there. Because here on one hand, we have the supreme Creator of the universe, the infallible, omniscient God. And on the other hand, you have, like, a mom in her thirties from Oklahoma. And I think it becomes a lot more clear who the waiter really needs to be.

Jill Simons:

But so much of the time I’ve lived like the opposite is true. And I think that at the end of the day, that is why I personally need Advent. That’s maybe why you need Advent. I’m trying to focus this year on figuring out How to wait on God in all senses of the world of the word. And there’s so much good stuff in the Old Testament about this. Actually, there’s 21 verses about waiting just in Psalms alone. But 1 verse that really, stuck out to me is Isaiah 4031. Those who wait upon the Lord will renew their strength.

Jill Simons:

And I just love thinking about in the sense of waiting, like, we normally think of waiting, but also of being god’s waiter. Like, literally, the person who waits on god’s every word, hungry to serve him, happy to please him, focused on fulfilling his desires. And that makes Advent a lot less like a doctor’s waiting room. It’s not just about sitting and waiting for something to happen. It’s being on hand and available for the request when they come. And so I think that this becomes a really natural point for us to turn our attention to Mary and how she gives us this example of really how we can live advent well. Because because if you think about Mary, she’s this young Jewish woman who is incredibly holy because her desire is to serve to serve God is so pure that when the angel comes, she just lays it all down and says, let it be done to me according to thy word. She doesn’t ask a lot questions or ask God to qualify his request for her to bear his son.

Jill Simons:

She just says she will do what she’s asked. And this is where we can keep going with this whole metaphor of being a waiter because she talks about being the handmaid of the Lord, which is not exactly the same but it’s very similar. And unlike modern dystopian literature might lead you to believe being a handmade is not a bad thing. A handmade is a support staff member for an important person. It doesn’t have that connotation of being a slave. It’s it’s really someone who serves with joy. And as we enter into Advent, we’re invited into the waiting that Mary experiences after she says yes to the lord. But when there’s not a lot else happening yet, I think we kind of forget that Mary’s life was long or at least I do.

Jill Simons:

I I really think about those high points that we get in the gospel and just kind of jumping from one to the next. But that’s not how her life actually worked. She found out she was gonna have a son, but then she had to do the same nine long uncomfortable months of pregnancy that every single one of us have if we’ve been pregnant. And she was very young by our standards when she gave birth to Jesus. A lot of scholars think she was between 12-14 years old. And we also know that she outlived her son, and the popular estimate was that she outlived him by about 11 years. So that all added together puts her at about 57 ish years old when she dies. And in there, there was months years of waiting, waiting to give birth, waiting for Jesus to be revealed as the Messiah that she knew he was, waiting for the terrible suffering that she knew was coming when he died.

Jill Simons:

And in the end, I can only imagine that yearning, waiting she has to be with both of her husband and son in heaven. And I think it becomes so clear that this is a woman steeped in waiting. That’s kind of the scope of her whole life, which we can look at as a whole or we can zoom in on this little part that lines up really, really well with Advent, and that’s her pregnancy with Christ. So that’s what I want to do now to dig into the pregnancy itself and what that period of Mary’s life teaches us about Advent. So to recap, Mary has said yes to bear the son of God. She had conceived and was getting more pregnant by the day, probably were uncomfortable by the day because pregnant, Middle East, no AC. I know that I went through pregnancies in the summer in all of our modern conveniences and I was still very, very uncomfortable. And she’s in this limbo of not having the joy of Jesus in her arms yet, but she’s already having the social repercussions of this miraculous conception, and I really wonder what she did during those long days.

Jill Simons:

We do know one thing that she did. Right? She went to visit Elizabeth, and the Gospels tell us a lot about this. And Elizabeth, also, someone super well versed in waiting because she’d waited years years years to finally conceive John the Baptist, which is a struggle that I’m sure many of you deeply understand. And so here we have two women deep in the middle of waiting on the Lord for his work to be realized in their children. And they come together to wait together because they have a sense of what is coming, but it’s not here yet. Both of their children are still in their wombs, and there’s the waiting for what is to come. And that’s really not unlike all of us as we go through Advent. We’re gathered to wait for what is to come.

Jill Simons:

We’re all going through time at the same speed and no matter how good or bad or unknown things are up ahead, we have to walk this steady piece of time together. Because who do we wait with in everyday life? How is waiting a part of our lives outside, you know, waiting in lines, waiting for the weekend, waiting for retirement, kind of waiting? When we are in the midst of those wasting time together moments. We spend those with the people that we love. And so think about what you do when a friend or a loved one is going through a hard time. Of course, you know, there’s opportunities to bring food and arrange childcare and and just really deal with all of those practical day to day things that become so challenging in the midst of a crisis. But at the end of the day, all you can really do is wait together. And that’s an active thing. Right? We’re present to the one we love and we’re we’re present to the ones that suffer.

Jill Simons:

Typically, in a bodied way, that’s definitely best and most fulfilling so that if the person in front of you asked for something, you would be right there to take care of it for them. Right? There’s usually not that much to do, but if there was, you’d be there. You’d be ready to do it. And so we’re right back at being a waiter. Right? This is the person always ready need to refill the water and bring condiments and get you more bread. But for the majority of the meal, they’re just kind of silently and actively observing, preparing all the time to just jump in if they see that you need something. And so this is where I wanna pull all these ideas together. Waiting is active, waiting is preparedness to serve, and we wait with those that love and those that suffer, and god is both.

Jill Simons:

God loves and God suffers. He loves us endlessly and selflessly, and he suffers so deeply when we turn away from him. And so that’s what he’s inviting you and I to do right now. The same thing that Jesus invited the disciples to do with him in the garden. Can you wait with me one hour? Can you console my heart and the pain of this love with your presence? What do you say to God when he asks you that? I mean, just really try and, like, think of what it would actually be like, like, you know, God saying that to me in so many words. And I wanna say that I would just unabashedly be like, yes, Lord. Absolutely. Whatever you want.

Jill Simons:

We wanna love the Lord well. But if you’re anything like me, and it’s okay if you’re not, but for me, I often get caught up in the weeds of but what I’m what am I supposed to do? I’m yearning for that active part of things. That’s why this whole idea of waiting as serving is helpful, I think. It doesn’t change the fact that a lot of our waiting will still look the same, but it fundamentally changes the way that we show up to the waiting. Just like we talk about with charisms, how it fundamentally changes how we show up when we know what our toolbox is, the waiting fundamentally changes when we recognize that we are there to serve in the midst of it. We’re not constantly squirming in the chair, wondering when this is gonna be over. We’re watching attentively. We’re ready to be called into action when the moment comes. Our eyes are focused, our stance is alert, and our role is clear.

Jill Simons:

We’re here to support the vision of God. We are his handmaids, his waiters, his children. Whatever term you wanna use, the function is the same. Were not seeking to bend God to our will, but we are seeking to be bent to his. This is something that I’ve experienced in my own life in a very specific way. I originally wrote a version of this talk for an Advent by Candlelight event back in 2020. And just prior to that, I had started my first ever podcast. And I had wanted to do that for years years years leading up to that, but I knew that I was really reaching for something in wanting to start a podcast, in wanting to have a speaking career, all of these things.

Jill Simons:

And so I asked the Lord to please come through other people to invite me into these opportunities so that it would be really clear to me when the waiting was over. And it is one of the great graces of my life that God really answered my prayer in that, in sending me very specific people to make an invitation at very specific time to know what it was that God was asking me to do. And so I felt very empowered to wait well because I trusted the clarity that God was gonna provide when it was time to move out of waiting and into action. And I’m so thankful for all of the experiences I’ve had throughout that time because it taught me about how freeing it is really to wait on the Lord when we trust that he will be clear with the ask, with what it is that he is inviting us to do when the time comes. And that’s just been a great, great grace in my life because, like a lot of presentation oriented people pleasers, I’ve been really susceptible to struggle with pride. And I knew that I could not and I did not want to trust myself with the timing of my own life. I wanted that to be very surrendered to God. And it’s so interesting because when I wrote this talk and gave it for the very first time.

Jill Simons:

Now it’s been three years since that happened. It was really the beginning of the end of the waiting. And that’s just one of those super satisfying God things that he does so well where when I came to really reflect on what I had been doing on the process I had been going through and I came to appreciate it, that’s when God invited me into the next thing. And it it hasn’t been without waiting in the last three years, but it’s been a lot more forward motion than, say, the three years before that. And so that is just hopefully encouragement as well that that the waiting is not forever. The waiting is not interminable. God is going to invite us into what’s next when we watch and are ready and alert for what he’s doing. And I know throughout your life, you’ve had times just like that when you had to wait.

Jill Simons:

And I think we’re most aware of the heaviness of that, of the hardship of the waiting when we get frustrated about what we don’t control, when we’re angry with what’s going on in our larger country and maybe in the world, when we are annoyed at our own inability, I should say, to stay productive when we’re sick or to help in some way when we watch a loved one suffer. We seem able to avoid the waiting in a lot of the small ways in life now with all of our modern inconvenient or modern. Maybe they are inconveniences, modern conveniences, but the heaviest, hardest waits still remain. We can fight them, but they do not go away. We have to wait. And so in that sense, Advent is such a gift. It’s a time to bring this waiting into the spotlight so that we can really examine it look at whether we wait well or whether we don’t, whether we’re active or whether we’re passive, And whether or not that needs to be addressed in our spiritual and emotional life. I imagine that if you’re like me or about 95% of the people, I would guess, alive today, we have really and truly been indoctrinated into this whole mindset of instant gratification.

Jill Simons:

And it’s really, really toxic to a help the spiritual life. And so just like sometimes we need to turn our whole attention to some part of our physical health, maybe to heal our bodies, whether it’s a treatment we need or a specialized diet that we need to follow. Advent is this time to cultivate spiritual wellness through waiting. It’s a time that we’ve been given by the Church, being told in all honesty and transparency, you’re gonna need to know how to do this. You need this. The health of your soul is depending on it. So we’re going to help you do this every single year. And so that’s your chance.

Jill Simons:

Here in this season of Advent, it’s ripe and ready for you to be present in the waiting, waiting actively or just to live your life normally like you do all year round. Like all gifts, like our charisms, we can take the gift of Advent and we can use it, or we can just leave it on the shelf somewhere. God doesn’t force us to take the gift. And it’s all well and good to nod along with this episode and then have this Advent be exactly like every other one. It’s it’s fun and enjoyable to be inspired and then not have to actually change anything. And I’m just as guilty of that as anybody. But I think that God is inviting you into more, this Advent just by putting this message in this podcast, in your headphones right now. He has more for you. If there’s that if, famous if, if you’re willing to wait on him.

Jill Simons:

Are you willing to stop thinking about God as your waiter and be God’s waiter instead? What would that look like? How would you pray differently if you were trying to do that? How would you think of God differently? How would your day to day life concretely change if you stopped giving God instructions and started waiting for instructions from him. I think this is a really powerful mental shift that can happen here starting with Advent. This Advent can be the beginning of a deepening of our receptivity to God. And that’s such a hallmark of femininity. Right? I know we have men listening as well, but for women, especially, to be receptive to those that we love. And that’s really opening that part of who God created us to be as women. Not that men can’t experience that, but I think think that that’s something that we really benefit from exploring as women. And that brings us that that activity of women brings us really for the first time to what we are specifically waiting for in Advent, which is, of course, the birth of the baby Jesus, the birth of Christ.

Jill Simons:

It’s a baby. It’s the perfect example of the receptivity of women to who and and that one woman who is our greatest example of how to wait on the Lord. Maybe you feel like it’s kind of gimmicky to say that we’re waiting own the baby Jesus every year. I know as a kid, I was always like, he’s right there pointing to Jesus hanging on the cross above the altar. It’s not like he’s not gonna come. This happened a long time ago. So what are we supposed fix our eyes on as we wait here in 2023. I feel like the answer is that we’re waiting to see what God will do.

Jill Simons:

I’m praying that we’ll be alert enough to not miss it. The Israelites were waiting for a king and a messiah, and then they ended up with a baby. Almost everyone missed it in the moment except for those people actively waiting like Simeon, like the Magi, attentive to the gentle moving of God, the changes in the stars, the baby in his mother’s arms in the Temple. We wait just like these people, shoulder to shoulder with them throughout time as we all watch God’s infinite work unfold in its own unique way in our own time, often with a subtlety we’re not gonna understand until we get to heaven. Advent reminds us that even now, we’re in a time of watching and waiting, that waiting was not simply the work of people in the Bible, but it’s still our work even today. And so whenever you approach the creche this year, when you enter into the joy of the coming of Christ, I really want to invite you to look at that baby lying there. And if Advent has taught you something new this year, deep in your bones about waiting, I invite you to just tell Jesus right there. You are the one I’ve been waiting for, and now I’m ready to wait for what you have next for me.

Jill Simons:

I am ready and willing to serve. I pray that you all have a blessed Advent. A lot of people have asked if we are doing some kind of program for charisms for Advent. And we just really discerned that, the Holy Spirit was not inviting us add another thing to our plate this year. We’re really trying to preserve our own receptivity to the Holy Spirit so that we can do his work ultimately and not be driven by things that we just feel like we should do, but actually really doing the things that he is leading us to do. So I’m not saying no for the future, but this year, we are not. But this is a great time as you go through Advent, as you think about waiting to invest further in your charisms. This is a great season to use as kind of a microcosm of discernment if you have yet to really complete that process for yourself.

Jill Simons:

And it’s also a great opportunity to think about how waiting overlaps with your charisms in light of the So that you just listen to to think about where the primary charism is for you right now or what the few primary charisms are. There are definitely seasons of life where we have a charism, but we’re not being invited to use it at kind of its full force yet. Like I talked about with speaking, which is really a function of leadership for me, that was something that I knew I had for years years, let the Holy Spirit just kept urging me to wait on on really expecting to use it in full. And so if that’s the case with one of your charisms, maybe you’re in a season where you’re working in a job that doesn’t really use it. Maybe you’re home with little kids and it feels like you’re not really using everything, I just invite you to reflect this Advent on how the wait is ultimately deepening your relationship with God and deepening the gift that you’ve been given so that it is more fruitful and ready to go when God does invite you to use it at at its full force. So I will continue we will continue to have episodes, each week throughout Advent. We’ll be back to more kind regularly scheduled programming. But I just invite you to really take whatever time you need during this Advent to just reflect on the questions posed here and think about how do you more more perfectly wait on the lord.

Jill Simons:

God bless you. Thanks so much for joining us on today’s episode of Charisms for Catholics. If you would like to learn more about your charisms or begin your own discernment journey head to our website at manypartsministries.com where you can download our free PDF guide to all 24 charisms and also begin your own journey by taking our charism assessment.