15 December 2016
Sam Wells at last Advent Sunday at St Martin-in-the-Fields ended his sermon thus:
“The greatest gift under the Tree is often unopened: it is Christ himself”.
This was something to take away for the remainder of the Advent period — and beyond.
Perusing on the awful tube yesterday morning the volume of Hearts on Fire: Praying with Jesuits (Michael Harter SJ Ed.), Paul’s eyes alighted on this:
THE FIRST PRINCIPLE AND FOUNDATION
The Spiritual Exercises, #23
All the things in this world are gifts of God,
presented to us so that we can know God more easily
and make a return of love more readily.
As a result, we appreciate and use all these gifts of God
insofar as they help us develop as loving persons.
But if any of these gifts become the centre of our lives,
they displace God
and so hinder our growth toward our goal.
In everyday life, then, we must hold ourselves in balance
before all of these created gifts insofar as we have a choice
and are not bound by some obligation.
We should not fix our desires on health or sickness,
wealth or poverty, success or failure, a long life or short one.
For everything has the potential of calling forth in us
a deeper response to our life in God.
(St. Ignatius Loyola as paraphrased by David L. Fleming, SJ)
… So open the oft unopened (including the heart) as Mary found the tomb in the garden and mistook the Risen Christ as the gardener. He was indeed waiting at the door covered in weeds after years of closure. Ready to plant seeds in tended soil that will bear all fruits of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Paul Collins)
May this Advent bring us the patience to wait, the wisdom to choose, and the humility to receive His blessing. Peace and joy to all.