How often it may seem that our really ginormous God is too big to fit into our life. And yet the truth is, He is already there in every crack and crevice. He is the origin of every moment and sustains our life in that moment. Not because He has to. Because He wants to. And this really ginormous God came to us in the smallest way: a naked infant totally dependent on humans, willing to listen to His Father and follow His Spirit.
For Gaudete Sunday, we rejoice as we prepare for the coming of our Savior Lord Jesus Christ. There is a longing in each of us for Advent to be a little different this year and for Christmas to truly be joyful.
Advent is a time of awaiting new life: our own. “New” is change; “life” is God. The only way to change a dynamic in any relationship is to first change ourselves, which is precisely the beauty of Advent. The gift of Christmas is this new relationship with God. Gaudete is a day of thanksgiving that our deepest Hope is to be fulfilled: that of being wanted and loved by Love Itself.
When my daughter was 3, a friend told her (regarding Christmas & Santa Claus) “You gotta believe to receive”. She immediately began to cry because that meant her Jewish friends would never have Santa Claus come to their house!. Well, I was able to calm her slightly by explaining the 8 days of gifts given in Hanukah. But she still knew there was something more special about having God’s saint come personally on Christmas eve just for you. At the center of the myths, magic and folklore of Santa Claus is a beautiful truth: believing in the one you cannot see who longs to shower you with His precious gifts.
How easily grown-ups lose sight of that.
Advent is a mini-Lent, a Nativity Fast. It is intended to be a time of preparation for our Savior. Not surprisingly, as we enter into this season we enter into a time of temptation. Fudge everywhere! Materialism everywhere! It unfortunately can become the season of instant gratification. We can deny ourselves the temptation and temporarily reject it. Success! But (and this is especially true of addictions), if we don’t replace it with something what do we have? An interior void ready to be filled by temptations again (Mt 12:43-45). At their root, all temptations are a temptation of desire. We must ask to be filled with a new desire that is Holy. After all, this is the purpose God permits it to begin with. He is waiting to give you a Holy desire for Him. 😊
It was a cold November night as I sat in Mary’s garden outside of our church praying a rosary for a friend who had just died. A young man in his 20’s came by and decided to look at the statue in the garden. He was curious as to who the woman was standing on a serpent.
God has designed life full of these poetic moments. Just as one of his sons is brought to his eternal rest, another son follows the Holy Spirit’s trail of grace and finds the path.
Something is different, and it isn’t just the weirdness of living in a worldwide pandemic. This Advent let’s also come to know this woman standing on the serpent and her Son.
Something is different…
The Gospel of the rich young man (MT 19:16-22) is prayed when preparing for the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius. A young wealthy man doing everything “right” as he was taught by his elders. Yet at some point in life, he came across Jesus. We all know what happen. Jesus told him the one thing he must give up, and the young man walked away sad.
The young man didn’t just walk away from Love itself. He walked away from salvation. The question begs, of course, how many times a day do I?