Reflections on Faith - Advent Journey and Holy Waiting - December 2006

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December 25, 2006

You're here Jesus! You've finally come. Did you hear me saying Maranatha over and over? Yes - that was me. thank you Jesus.

I went to see the Nativity movie. It was lovely. I hope you saw it on the large screen or that you will find a way to get a copy and look at it with your entire family at home. It seemed most realistic as it depicted the times and the Jewish people. Certainly – the theme of an expected coming of a ‘savior’ was memorable in the movie. Most all of the Jews wanted freedom and a restoration of the kingdom… a restored sense of dignity.

That is exactly what Jesus brought to them. That is exactly what that baby Jesus brought to all of us. And the irony of it all – is that all we have to do is become like babes ourselves – and we will then understand the freedom and dignity that He gave us as the first of many Christmas gifts.

Earlier this month, I mentioned Catherine Doherty and her various writings. She called Christmas a feast for little children. Alas, most of us have trouble with the concept of complete surrender of our independent adult-hood. From time to time I catch glimpses of it. From time to time I am allowed to participate in it in my own life. And when these ‘mystical’ moments happen, it is so awesome.

I kneel before the manger and look at the Babe—and he tells me he loves me. That he has loved me ever since my conception in my mother’s womb. And with tears on my cheeks – I ask if he loved me even when (…….)? And he smiles at me warmly and says, “I don’t remember anything like that… I told you I’ve always loved you…. Always.”

Merry Christmas. My prayer for you: may you enjoy your childhood again.

Deacon Tom
Christmas, 2006

December 18, 2006
This Week's Reflection:


One week left till the beautiful Nativity of the Lord! Come, Lord Jesus, come….

Are you making any progress towards Christ’s arrival anew in your life? In the Liturgy of the Hours – those prayers said throughout the world by priests, deacons and some religious – I came upon the words of a beautiful hymn. I don’t know how the melody goes – but the words are powerful and touching – especially at this time of year when we invoke peace and loving charity among all mankind….

-Breathe on me, breath of God, Fill me with life anew; that I may love the things you love, and do what you would do.

-Breathe on me, breath of God, until my heart is pure, until with you I have one will, to live and to endure.

-Breathe on me breath of God, my soul with grace refine, until this earthly part of me, glows with your fire divine.

-Breathe on me breath of God, so I shall never die, but live with you the perfect life, in your eternity.

The whole theme of Advent is to welcome the reality of Christ into your heart and mind and soul…. So that a shoot shall sprout from you – a new birth of Christianity in your life. And if that happens to one degree or another in you and you and in me… then truly, the calf and the young lion shall browse together with a little child to guide them… and animals (and people) that today fear each other will become neighbors. Let us pray for peace – peace in our hearts…. peace in the world… peace in every womb of every expectant mother. Amen.

December 11, 2006
This Week's Reflection:


My wife and I have just finished a weeks-long trip… over 6,000 miles in the car (and we still want to be married!). We visited some 19 states. More important, we visited family members, friends and church members who live in other states during part of the year.

While driving those many miles – I had time to pray and reflect on things. I thought about the coming of Christmas – and about seeking a new arrival of Christ in my life. Here I was journeying – and seeking… that certainly describes these times in my life… perhaps it describes all of us: people of the journey.

I came upon words by a Father Richard Veras (published in the Magnificat Advent Companion booklet). Fr. Veras wrote: “If I am not seeking a savior – then Jesus Christ is just a name, just a word.” That is so true. There are people who buy Christmas cards that have words about peace and kindness and – perhaps even words that mention the ‘birth of the babe.’ But do they invite the reader to spend time in a holy journey to find Christ at Christmas? There are many who try to find happiness in shopping malls and decorations and pleasing the kids – but the true answer is to go on the journey to find Christ in our lives. In the Gospel – Jesus said, “I will not reject anyone who comes to me.” These words tell us that we have to be in movement – journeying to relationship with Christ. So maybe I’ll back off the idea of purely holy waiting – maybe what I should say is that we need to be in holy journey to find Christ on December 25 th. Blessings.

December 4, 2006
This Week's Reflection:


We sure don’t like to wait, do we? I’m ‘bothered’ if I pick the wrong line at the Safeway store. Or at the drive-through lane at the bank. And gosh can I ever see this issue in the people who routinely speed past or around us on the nearby freeways. It frightens me when I see what’s happened to us. So many people – thinking only of themselves. And even I am guilty of not wanting to wait. Well thankfully, Mother Church gives a time of waiting – if we are willing to slow down and almost do nothing.

One of my favorite seasonal ‘motivators’ is the late Catherine Doherty. And so let me start off with an Advent (or Christmas) gift idea for yourself, or perhaps for someone else. It’s Catherine Doherty’s book called “GRACE IN EVERY SEASON.” It’s available from Madonna House Publications, Combermere, Ontario, Canada K0J1L0. The book is a series of rich daily reflections – a sampler of insights and excerpts from Catherine’s letters and diaries. It’s chock full of common sense – but with an array of Advent, Christmas, Easter and other customs and ideas that are magnetic and every-day holy.

Catherine says that we need to prepare for Christ’s coming. But to do so, we ought to become like Mary in Nazareth. Mary was in a time of waiting and no one paid attention to her. What did she do? She prepared for world-changing events by quietly sweeping the cobwebs and the dirt from where she was. Catherine invites us to sweep the cobwebs and dirt from our hearts and souls.

Prepare the inn inside of us to make ready for the coming of the Lord. Catherine suggests us to lay down our fast-paced life in an exacting, disciplining, routine, even monotonous or repetitive work of cleaning and preparing for Christ’s birth in our lives.

Humble tasks – done well with great love. These become the gifts that the Child unwraps and delights in when he is born to us again. Peel potatoes, dust and vacuum. When possible, find a place: a room, a chapel --- an outdoor setting which elevates to thoughts of who and what is to come. Open Scripture and slowly, deliberately, patiently read (perhaps) Luke’s Gospel… meditate upon what it was like. There was no rush then. There was only prayerful waiting and hope. “In the days of Herod… there was a priest named Zechariah… and his wife Elizabeth…. But they had no child.” They waited for a Savior.

People of God have waited patiently for his coming. And I can testify to you that he has come again and again. He will come to you – if only you will wait this Advent. But you must spend your time in holy waiting.

© 2006-2008 Deacon Tom Online