Wednesday, December 4, 2013

How to Make Ready to Receive the New-Born Jesus: Advent 2013, Day Four

"Earnestly indeed may you long for Christ's Advent, and prepare your heart to be his dwelling-place.... Jesus gives himself to none but those who anxiously look for him. Choice food is thrown away on such as cannot taste it, and so those who long not after God's presence cannot value him as they ought. Our Lord hears 'the desire of the poor' (Ps 10:17) and bends his ear to listen to the sighing of their hearts after him, for that is all he cares for in the children of men. When their sighs reach him, he comes into their souls ... [and] that which is conquered by love is kept by recollection and contemplation." (Saint John of Avila, from Letter to a Young Lady Telling Her How to Make Ready to Receive the New-Born Jesus)

"The believer is essentially 'one who remembers.'" (Pope Francis, Evangelii Gaudium, 13)

"That which is conquered by love is kept by recollection and contemplation." Though it may seem that more often than not God does not answer my "sighs" in the manner in which I imagine He ought to, He always answers me with some sense of His presence, even if just in a memory of how I felt it on some other occasion. Such recollection never fails to be enough when I truly need it. In this way He allows me to conquer Him over and over again with my love and longing. And because He allows me to "bind" Him "by a single hair" (Song of Solomon 4:9 Douay-Rheims), I cannot help but continue to pursue and "keep" Him through contemplation.

In Advent and always.

Amen.

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