Advent

He’s coming

I’ve been feeling pretty adventy (adventurous?) for a few weeks now, so I’m pretty happy it’s now officially advent, and we’re all waiting together.

What I mean is, I’ve been feeling the need for Christ to come lately. There’s so much in the world that just doesn’t make sense, so much sin and meaningless suffering, and it’s been getting to me. I can’t stand it. And so I’ve found myself thinking, when is Jesus coming to sort this out? And thinking about how great it will be when He does.

Advent has confirmed this desire in me, for Christ’s glorious return and judgment, and has also reminded me, that He has already come, and He comes still, and we’re not just passive observers of His coming. I have to do my part. I must prepare the way of the Lord, into my heart, by repentance. And I must welcome Him, recognising His voice, His presence. And I must bear Him to the world with love, magnifying Him and rejoicing in Him.

Repent, welcome, and bear. Repent, clearing away every obstacle, filling in valleys and levelling mountains, so He can march straight in. Welcome, because He’s already here, so we must say our Fiat, let it be done to me, according to Your word, submitting to His will. Bear, carrying  Him with us to the world’s sin and suffering, because He is already with us, and that is what He came for.

To repent is to turn towards Him, to welcome is to listen to Him, to bear Him is to live in love with Him.

And so, by His grace, with our preparation, He comes to us, to our sin and suffering, and makes sense of it by His love, by His life, death and resurrection.

God bless you!

The Sorrow of Christmas

Among my favourite Christmas songs are ‘I believe in Father Christmas’ by Greg Lake, and ‘Mad World’ by Gary Jules. If you don’t know them, they’re really, really sad songs. I like when they interrupt the merry, joyful, and jubilant songs.

Why?

Because they remind me that in the light of Christmas, the suffering of the world is absurd. Where is the peace for people of good will? If God became man, how do we allow such suffering? If God came to us as a babe in a manger, why is there such loneliness?

If God came down to earth, where is He when we need Him so much? And if we truly believe God was so close to us, how can we remain so far from each other, from those in need?

The feast of Christ the King reminds me that despite the madness of the world, victory is already won, on the cross and by our faith. But for now, by our faith (“the victory that has overcome the world” (1Jn 5:4)), we must continually bring Christ into the world, in expectation of and longing for his final return, when he will fill all in all. This is the great tension of Advent.

How do we bring Christ into the world? By abiding in him, that is, by loving as he loves. By receiving and sharing in his love. This is what Christmas demands.

We cannot believe that Christ is born, without bringing him to this suffering world. Nor can we be ready for him, except by being among the lowly with him.

I strongly encourage us to bring Christ this Advent. To open our hearts more than our wallets, and to join a suffering world. To lower ourselves with Jesus. To be a friend of outcasts.

Maranatha!

“We ask the Lord, in this Advent season, to bring us nearer to his mystery and to do so the way that He wants us to do: the way of humility, the way of meekness, the way of poverty, the road where we feel sin. So that he can come to save us, to free us. May the Lord give us this grace.”
-Pope Francis

http://www.news.va/en/news/pope-mass-a-humble-heart-knows-god-theology-is-don

Reading to Jesus

Today I did a reading in front of three thousand people, as part of my University’s carol service. I was a bit more than understandably nervous. It’s the very opposite of my comfort zone (my discomfort zone?).

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(It was much darker, and much, much more full)

As I sat nervously before it started, the salvation army band playing, I took the opportunity to silently pray, offering the whole thing to God. I asked that it may be for us an encounter with Jesus. Then it struck me (he struck me) that I should read for Jesus himself! That he was with us (in our midst, but particularly at the very back of the Cathedral) listening. I was to read not as history, not as duty, not as story, but as speaking to my Love about my Love. And loving the three thousand overhearers because my Love lives them.

So I went up, silently offered it to God, and read. I was terrified. I spoke loudly, but I feel my heartbeat was still louder than my voice. I’m not sure if anyone noticed, but my leg began shaking a couple times. I shifted my weight slightly to stop it, and the other leg would start. But I read, and read with love, and I’m told I did well.

The Carol Service was absolutely beautiful. At many times I had to remember there were angels singing with us, in order to explain the beauty (always listen for the angels).

Happily I found afterwards, that my reading was in fact today’s Gospel reading for the feast of the Immaculate Conception. God is good.

 

God bless Us, Every One!