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Advent 4B

2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8b-12, 14a, 66 / Romans 16:25-27 / Luke 1:26-38

 

I hope all of you are having a blessed Advent.

 

It’s such a wonderful, wonderful spiritual season.

 

A time for prayer. . .

A time for waiting. . .

A time for joyful anticipation and hope.

 

Christmas is fast approaching. . .

just a few more days. . .

 

but don’t go there just yet. . .

at least not spiritually.

 

Stay with Advent a little bit longer. . .

 

and let its unique spirituality take us to

just the right place we need to be

to celebrate Christmas.

 

Today, I want to give just a

few final thoughts on Advent.

 

Recently, I discovered a wonderful

prayer for Advent.

 

It’s been wonderful to pray these words

and then. . .

just sit with God as I wait and hope.

 

Here is the Advent prayer I discovered:

 

“My God, I ask nothing of you but charity and humility.

You cannot refuse me them,

[Because] they are necessary.”

 

Listen again,

to these incredible words

addressed to our loving God.

 

“My God, I ask nothing of you but charity and humility.

You cannot refuse me them,

[because] they are necessary.”

 

I got this prayer from an incredible woman. . .

A mystic of the last century.

 

Her name is Raissa Maritain.

 

That name may sound familiar. . .

Maritain.

 

Raissa’s husband Jacque Maritain

was one of the greatest Catholic philosophers

of the 20th century…

 

Author of more than 60 books—

 

and very influential in drafting the United Nation’s

Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

 

Jacque and Raissa were both agnostic. . .

but found their way to the Catholic faith.

 

She was an artist and a poet,

and after she died in 1960—

Jacque read her prayer journals.

 

And her journal confirmed that she was mystic. . .

a soul in love with God.

 

She wrote this prayer around Pentecost.

 

But for me. . . .

it’s an Advent prayer.

 

“My God, I ask nothing of you but charity and humility.”

 

You see, when we ask for nothing

but charity and humility,

what we’re really asking for is for Jesus.

 

We’re asking for Jesus to be born in our hearts.

 

Can you believe that our salvation. . .

Our God. . .

comes to us as something

so small and

tender and

vulnerable and

lovable.

 

As a newborn baby,

laid down to sleep

in a feeding trough for animals—

 

Such love. . .

Such humility. . . .

 

So when we pray this prayer

“My God, I ask nothing of you but charity and humility.”

 

We’re praying that Jesus will be born in our hearts,

And that His birth will transform us. . .

into other Jesus’—

who reflect the incredible love and

humility of God

to the world.

 

And if our hearts are receptive. . .

God cannot refuse us of this. . .

 

[Because] love and humility are the one things

absolutely necessary

for the Christian life.

 

Just a few more days until Christmas,

But don’t go there yet. . .

 

Stay with Advent. . .

Preparing our hearts for as that

welcome manger for the baby Jesus. . .

 

And waiting in joyful anticipation for

the humility and charity of God

to be born in us.

 

“My God, I ask nothing of you but charity and humility.

You cannot refuse me them,

[Because] they are necessary.”

 

A great Advent Prayer.

 

Another thought on Advent. . .

The season of waiting!

 

What is the best attitude for us as we wait?

 

I got this wonderful concept for Advent

from spiritual writer Fr. Henri Nouwen.

 

Nouwen wrote a small little book on

the spirituality of waiting.

 

Nouwen realized that the

appropriate way for us Christians to wait. . .

 

is to wait open-endedly. . . .

 

Open-endedly. . .

 

Just the way the Virgin Mary waited for

all the incredible things that would happen to her

 

Nouwen found it best to

let go of his wishes—

his wishes—

and wait open-endedly instead.

 

He said that it was only when he

was willing to do this. . .

only then could something really new happen to him. . . .

 

something beyond his own expectations.

 

What a radical way to live

in a world preoccupied with control . . .

which has its roots in fear. . .

and lack of trust.

 

Waiting open-endedly is to have faith in

an all-knowing and all-loving God.

 

Waiting open-endedly is

trusting that something will happen to us

that is far beyond our own imaginings. . .

 

Waiting open-endedly is giving up

control of our future and

letting God define our lives. . .

 

Waiting open-endedly is

Allowing God to mold our lives

according to God’s love. . .

and not according to our fears and

pre-occupation with control.

 

Because God is the loving business. . .

God is in the blessing business. . .

God is up to something big in our lives.

 

Just wait and see. . .

Just wait. . .

 

Just a few more days until Christmas,

But don’t go there yet,

 

Stay with Advent. . .

And learn to wait open-endedly.

 

Waiting for Jesus to be born in our hearts. . .

 

Waiting for God’s loving future to unfold.

 

One last final thought on Advent. . .

 

As Mary waits for that incredible

something to happen to her. . .

the birth of the Savior. . .

 

notice that Mary doesn’t have to wait alone.

 

When Mary received her words of promise,

She went directly to Elizabeth. . .

who had also received words of promise.

 

And as soon as Mary arrived,

And to Elizabeth. . .

 

the infant in her my womb—

John the Baptist—

Leaped for joy

 

And Elizabeth said,

“Blessed are you who believed

that what was spoken to you by the Lord

would be fulfilled.”

 

And they waited. . .

They waited for the fulfillment of God’s word for them. . .

for the wonder God had planned for them. . .

together.

 

Not alone. . .

but together.

 

And so it is with us.

 

As Catholics

we believe that we are saved in community. . . .

 

A community of support. . .

A community of love. . .

A community of prayer. . .

 

A sacramental community. . .

 

that supports us

as we too await the

fulfillment of God’s Word in us.

 

During the pandemic we wait together

not as much physically as we used to,

 

but spiritually

and through prayer

as joyfully waiting for the day we wait together—

in person, again.

 

 

Just a few more days until Christmas,

but don’t go there yet,

at least not spiritually.

 

Stay with Advent. . .

 

Pray “My God, I ask nothing of you but charity and humility.

You cannot refuse me them,

[Because] they are necessary.”

 

And wait for Jesus to be born in our hearts. . .

 

Let go of control and fear and

Wait open-endedly as God

prepares to do great things for us.

 

And realize.  . .

realize,

that we never wait alone.

 

Holy Spirit 12/19-20/2020