Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Reflections for the 1st Week in Advent, Part 2

Thursday – More Than Just Words

“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.” Jesus is very clear here. Words simply aren't enough. Merely calling Jesus “Lord” won't get us to Heaven. Paying Him lip service isn't the same as truly accepting Him as our King and Savior. 

We need more than just words. We need a living faith that is obedient to the will of God. We need a faith that blossoms out into a love that wills and seeks our neighbors' ultimate good. Our words must be accompanied by works, as Catholic doctrine has always taught. 

No, it is not enough to call Jesus our Lord. He must truly be so, and for that to happen, we must obey Him, imitate Him, and make ourselves true instruments of His love to all those around us.

Friday – Wait for the Lord

Advent is all about waiting. We wait for our Lord's coming at Christmas, but there's more to it than just that. During Advent, the Church also invites to reflect on the Lord's coming in our own lives. We meet Him in prayer, but sometimes we must wait for His answers. We also wait for Him to bring about certain events in our lives, but He does so on His time, not ours. Sometimes we must even wait to receive Him in the Eucharist when we can't make it to daily Mass and have to hold out until Sunday.

Advent also offers the opportunity to reflect on the coming of our Lord at the end of time. Again, we must wait, for we don't know the day or the hour when He will arrive to usher in a new Heaven and a new earth. As we wait, we are called to prepare for that day by remaining in a state of grace and growing ever closer to our Lord in faith, hope, and love. We must remain spiritually awake, watching eagerly for our Lord's arrival.

Of course, Jesus may come for us personally before He comes at the end of time, so we also wait for the day when we will leave this world behind and meet our Lord face to face. Again, we must prepare for our death by maintaining and seeking to increase our intimate relationship with Jesus, allowing Him to fill us with grace and make our hearts ready to greet Him with joy.

This Advent, then, we should take the advice of the Psalmist and “Wait for the Lord with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord.”

Saturday – Guided

“This is the way; walk in it...” Wouldn't it be wonderful to hear God speak these words whenever you begin to stray off the right path? Wouldn't it be much easier to walk the straight line if these words came just as you were starting to wobble and swerve? Wouldn't it be comforting to always know exactly where you were going? 

Actually, we do hear these words...all the time. The Church speaks them to us when she teaches God's moral law. Like a good mother, she shows us the path on which we should walk and corrects us when we stray off to one side or the other. She shows us exactly where we ought to go, and she even picks us up and dusts us off when we fall in the ditch.

Of course, the Church receives the moral law directly from God, Who sets it as a standard for holiness, a standard that is a perfect fit for our human nature. God, Who is all-good, created us in His image, and therefore, we, too, are called to be good in imitation of our Father. 

But God, in His great love, doesn't leave us to do that on our own (we never could anyway). Instead, He programs us with His law (we know right from wrong deep down, no matter how often we try to deny it), and He speaks to us through our conscience, which is literally the voice of God guiding us and saying, “This is the way; walk in it...”

Now all we have to do is learn to listen and obey.

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