December 1, 2011
Thursday of the First Week of Advent
Trust in the LORD forever! For the LORD is an eternal Rock. He humbles those in high places, and the lofty city he brings down; He tumbles it to the ground, levels it with the dust. It is trampled underfoot by the needy, by the footsteps of the poor. Isaiah 26:4-6
Jesus said to his disciples: "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the Kingdom of heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in heaven. "Everyone who listens to these words of mine and acts on them will be like a wise man who built his house on rock. The rain fell, the floods came, and the winds blew and buffeted the house. But it did not collapse; it had been set solidly on rock." Matthew 7:21, 24-25
Father, help us to listen and act on your Word. Through the example of your Son, Jesus, may we always find ways to put your plan, not ours, into action. When we want to focus on our agenda, send forth your Spirit to guide us in your ways through this dark Advent of preparation and into the light of your life in this world. Amen.
As we move through the early stillness of Advent, we are reminded that it is His will, not ours, that we are to put into place with our words and our deeds. Our piety helps us to put on the proper mindframe and our study shows us the way. Yet, two legs alone does not a tripod make unless we "act on them."
In the next few days, we will celebrate two special feast days within the Advent calendar. On December 8, next Thursday, we will mark the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. Then on December 12, we mark the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe. In those days, we will once again hear the lesson of Mary's life, a life lived not for her own purposes but to fulfill the will of God. "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word." (Luke 1:38). In fact, this passage will be a part of the readings for Advent no less than four times. (The final occurrences will be on December 18 and December 20.)
Reflect on how the attitude of Mary (portrayed to beautifully in the Canticle recited on her visit to Elizabeth) can guide you through this Advent season. It can remind us to resist the lure of advertising and excessive spending to "redefine" Advent as it was intended -- the time to prepare for the coming of our special guest. This prayer also reminds us of the theme in the reading from Isaiah in which the lowly will rise above the most powerful.
"My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord;
my spirit rejoices in God my savior.
for he has looked upon his lowly servant.
From this day all generations will call me blessed:
the Almighty has done great things for me,
and holy is his Name.
He has mercy on those who fear him
in every generation.
He has shown the strength of his arm,
and has scattered the proud in their conceit.
He has cast down the mighty from their thrones
and has lifted up the lowly.
He has filled the hungry with good things,
and the rich he has sent away empty.
He has come to the help of his servant Israel
for he remembered his promise of mercy,
the promise he made to our fathers,
to Abraham and his children forever." Luke 1:46-55