Your word is a lamp for my feet and a light for my path. (Psalm 119)
The Annunciation of Christ Jesus’ birth to Mary guides me to find and follow God’s will for my life. First, and perhaps foremost, Mary was accustomed to praying ‘without ceasing’ (cf 1 Thessalonians 5:17). She was present in prayer, so mindful of the Holy Spirit of God to perceive the angel Gabriel and to hear his message. Secondly, despite her initial fear, Mary listened and recognized the origin of the life-giving words (the Word), and so opened herself in body, mind and spirit to the will of God. Thirdly Mary did nothing to promote her own agenda, but glorified God in thought, word and deed, because she recognized his plans of mercy and healing. Finally, Mother Mary waited and waded through the challenges of 9 months of pregnancy for Jesus to be born, and another 33 years for Gabriel’s prophesy to be fulfilled in her son’s death and resurrection. Am I ready, like Mary, to lift up my soul to God, that we might receive salvation and healing through Christ Jesus? Holy Spirit, help me accommodate your will for my life.
Who shall ascend the hill of the Lord? And who shall stand in his holy place? Those who have clean hands and pure hearts, who do not lift up their souls to what is false. (Psalm 24:3,4)
[God’s will ] comes from love; all is ordained for the salvation of people; God does nothing without this goal in mind.
St. Catherine of Sienna
Soli ad gloriam dei
It seems that children in Jesus’ day played unsupervised in the marketplaces! Clearly our Lord had observed them in their games calling out to each other, “These are the rules!... Play it my way!” Child’s play hasn’t changed much over the centuries; neither has the predisposition of adults changed, to revert to the do-it-my-way attitude when we meet up with relationships, circumstances and events that are unfamiliar. In this context, Jesus commented on the crowds’ judgement and dismissal of both John the Baptist and himself, each of whom lived ‘outside the box’. Because neither John as a prophet, nor Jesus a the Messiah fit the status quo (a.k.a. did-it-my-way) society easily dismissed – and disposed of – both John and Jesus. How am I walking with Christ Jesus? How am I insisting on Jesus being my Redeemer and my Healer in my way? Christ Jesus, help me receive your presence in my life in your way. Help me mature in faith that I might see things your way, not my way!
Happy are those who do not follow the advice of the wicked, or take the path that sinners tread... (Psalm 1:1)
Real zeal is standing still and letting God be a bonfire in you.
Soli ad gloriam dei
Holy Spirit, help me accommodate your coming to remove our sinfulness...
More than anything the people of Israel, indeed the whole world, needed to have their sinfulness –their tendency to be self-centred, self-glorifying and self-sufficient – removed so that they could live into their heritage as children of God. This is what Zechariah in his priestly role prayed for when it was his turn to offer incense on the altar of the temple. The Lord’s answer to his prayer was to bring the forerunner of the Messiah into the world through Zechariah’s own holy family, ‘barren’ though it was. Was this what Zechariah expected to be the answer to his prayer? No! In fact it was so astounding to him that he had to wait in mute silence for almost one year to come to terms with God’s entrance into his own and Elizabeth’s reality. How is God calling me to accommodate his coming in my present reality to remove our sinfulness? Help me accommodate your coming to remove our sinfulness, no matter how surprising your will is.
The Spirit of the Lord began to stir him... (Judges 13:25)
The endurance of darkness is the preparation for a great light.
St. John of the Cross
Soli ad gloriam dei
The people of Jesus’ day expected that their Saviour would be calling them to arms to obtain societal power and control. Instead their Messiah came as the Prince of Peace. He did not call them to espionage and weapons. Instead he offered to settle his yoke on their shoulders so that they could learn from him as Redeemer and Healer of all of humankind. He offered to teach them not violence, but his own gentleness and humility, so that they could find rest. Am I willing to exchange my own brand of power and control (aka violence) for the gentleness and humility of Christ? Teach me your gentleness and humility, Christ Jesus.
The Lord is good to all, and his compassion is over all that he has made. (Psalm 145:3)
Be kind to each other. It is better to commit faults with gentleness than to work miracles with unkindness.
St. Mother Teresa of Calcutta
Soli gloriam dei.
2 Peter 3:8-14
Sometimes we are so impatient. We pray, and expect God’s response (that is, God’s fulfilment of my vision, my desires immediately. This season of Advent, though, reminds us to wait for God to unfold his will, which is the fullness of our humanity, according to his timing. How are we to wait for this unfolding of God’s will? Simply by living a godly life and striving to be found at peace by him – at peace with others and with myself through forgiveness and reconciliation, with humility and with patience. Today how am I waiting for God? How will I ‘dwell’ in godliness and peace? Holy Spirit, help me dwell in godliness and peace as I wait for you.
A highway shall be there, and it shall be called the Holy Way... (Isaiah 35:8)
Faith liberates. It liberates love and hope. If I am free to love and free to hope, what more do I want of life?
Soli ad gloriam dei
Beverly Illauq lives in Kemptville, Ontario, where she greets each morning by seeking the Gospel Mystery of the Day - the Word of the Lord for direct and practical application to the specific challenges & joys of the day.