Godtalk: An Advent Meditation


Tender Mother by Robert Cheaib on Flickr

Each day in the middle of our routines, anxieties and disasters, the liturgy brings its work of healing.  ‘It binds up the wounded soul’, gives us food for the journey of our lives and renews us in the truth that only faith can see and sustain. It carries us when we need to be carried and celebrates with us when we mark those moments of joy and thanksgiving, weaving them all into the fabric of God's own eternal life, sanctifying our life in its everyday ordinariness.

In the rhythm of the liturgy the Spirit makes Christ present, so that he may draw us more deeply into His life with the Father. Each day it wakes us and summons us into His mystery, his active love at work for the sustaining and healing of our world.

Every season of the liturgy asks us to discover or refresh a disposition of heart and mind and action.  Advent asks of us an  openness, an attentiveness, to what God is doing in us and in our world. It orders our relationship to God in reverence, humility and gratitude.

There is a sense of the immensity of God’s glory which shows itself in a total outpouring of love: "Take, this is my body, this is my blood." Each day in this moment we see and experience the humility of God who chooses to be present and give himself to us.

We also glimpse something of a God who is not afraid to make himself one of us that he might gather our weakness into Himself.   Most people are conscious of a deep mystery in life.  Advent helps us to attend to this mystery at the heart of our lives and our faith.  Like the Mass itself, it is the school of humility - something the world thinks effete. 

Advent points us to a different way of thinking. The humility of God in the Incarnation does not demean us but graces us. God gently exposes our weakness: he slips into our world almost unseen: he clothes our weakness with his own.

God does not force us to acknowledge Him but waits in the simplest places for us to find our way to him. He does not compel Mary to do his will, but invites her to a service which can only be her fulfillment – and ours. All he asks of her, and of us, is to see how much we are loved. His humility opens up before us the depth of that love and the wonder - full power of his weakness. He asks only that we accept that ‘nothing is impossible for God.’

We are not the masters of creation but its guests and servants. It is not our world but His; it is ours only by gift.  Our minds can never exhaust its wonders.   Through the Incarnation God has made our world his home.  Advent  gazes with joyful wonder into this mystery. It points to inner freedom..

Advent is the time between His first coming, his everyday coming, His coming at the end of time. Advent  is a time to leave behind all that weighs us down, holding us back from giving ourself  to God. It is our time to begin again, a season in which our own freedom is renewed. It is a time to put right whatever has gone wrong, to begin a new future guided by the light of Christ rather than our passing moods.

We should be joyfully expectant of Christ’s everyday coming, as a loving friend who knows us better than we know ourselves and loves us beyond our power to imagine.  We should expect him in small things as well as big events.  If our heart is right and our mind expectant we will find Christ in many places – in the face of a child, in some need of others, in our joys and in our sorrows.

Advent unfolds for us a time of promise. It shows us that patience is part of God's loving kindness. As we wait for Him so He waits for us, even as He waits on us.  This is the season of our be - coming, in which the opening dialogue of the Mass is recognised as both prayer and proclamation, fulfilled in his presence: "The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you" .. .forever,

Peter Knott SJ