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Tuesday, first week of Advent

November 29, 2011

Blessed Tuesday!

Look with favor, Lord God, on our petitions,
and in our trials grant us your compassionate help,
that, consoled by the presence of your Son,
whose coming we now await,
we may be tainted no longer
by the corruption of former ways.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
(Opening Prayer from Mass)

Isaiah 11:1-10 (the gifts of the Holy Spirit bring peace and security)
Psalm 72: 1, 7-8, 12-13, 17 “Justice shall flourish in His time, and fullness of peace forever”
Luke 10: 21-24 (God reveals to children what He hides from the clever)

We think we’re so smart.

We’ve got it all figured out.
Just beef up our image, pull a few strings so everything goes our way,
adroitly pull off our clever little plot & we’ll be happy. Ah!
…then experience suggests otherwise…
and we try variations on the same old theme–
it has to work sooner or later…right?

Fortunately for us, the Holy Spirit has a sense of humor!

Eying our backward ways, our upside-down thinking
–and our misery in the midst of it!–
He pulls off a divine practical joke.

Exultant with the joy of this Spirit, Jesus exclaims,

I bless You, Father, Lord of Heaven and earth,
for You have revealed to little ones
what You have hidden from the learned and the clever!
-Luke 10:21

Ha! How silly we look, how foolish in our earnest machinations
when the smallest of children are toddling away with the prize of happiness!
…when their unwavering trust, their sense of fairness and tenderheartedness
bring them the peace and safety for which we long–
in the very places where we experience the greatest of pains.

But God isn’t doing this to degrade us.
Far from it!
With a twinkle in His loving eye He’s pointing out to us a path we never would’ve expected,
a path down which the Spirit of God will gladly lead us if only we will follow.
He’s holding out to us the very prize for which we’ve worked so hard
–and so misguidedly.

A little child shall lead them
-Isaiah 11:6

…but not just any little child (although we can learn a lot from any little child!)

This Child is the shoot sprung from the root of Jesse (father of the celebrated King David).
The Spirit of the Lord rests on Him (He has to work on us!).
This Child is filled with the Spirit’s wisdom, insight, counsel,
fortitude, knowledge, piety and fear of the Lord.
His success comes in His submission to God,
in His justice based on truth and mercy, and in His faithfulness.

When we follow Him, nothing can harm us.

Yes, things will look scary.
Not too many lambs feel entirely at ease with wolves, nor cows with bears, but

I am certain that neither death nor life, neither angels nor principalities,
neither the present nor the future, nor powers,
neither height nor depth nor any other creature,
will be able to separate us from the love of God
that comes to us in Christ Jesus our Lord
-Romans 8:38-39

It’s all of a piece with the divine paradox:

Whoever would preserve his life will lose it,
but whoever loses his life for My sake and the sake of the Gospel will find it
-Mark 8:35

When we give up our way in favor of God’s way,
we become the little ones, in on the divine joke, who so delight Him.
Than we can laugh with Him!

It’s been said that Christmas is for children.

Let’s use this Advent season to become as little children,
that we may enter the joyful Kingdom of Heaven (see Matthew 18:3)

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