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Wednesday, Third week of Advent (St. John of the Cross): His Ways Are Higher

December 14, 2011

Blessed St. John of the Cross’ Day!

You can find his story here.

And Blessed Ember Wednesday!
The traditional Mass for Advent’s Ember Wednesday is also called the “Golden Mass”.
In medieval times, the first letters of this Mass were written in gold–
sometimes the entire Mass–and golden vestments were worn,
because the focus was on the golden mystery of our faith: the Annunciation,
when God first became Man in Mary’s womb.
The Golden Mass was held in early morning darkness,
lit by the golden glow of candlelight,
as we celebrated entrance of the Light of the World into our darkness.
When the lectionary was revised,
this Gospel was transferred to the 4th Sunday of Advent for Year B
(and this is Year B!).

May your prayer and sacrifices during these Ember Days
bless and sanctify the winter season for you and for the whole world.

Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that the coming solemnity of your Son
may bestow healing upon us in this present life
and bring us the rewards of life eternal.
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.

Isaiah 45:6-8, 18, 21-25 (God designed the earth for life)
Psalm 85:9-14 “Let the clouds rain down the Just One, and the earth bring forth a savior”
Luke 7:18-23 (John the Baptist sends messengers to ask, “Are you he who is to come?”)

God designed the earth to be lived in.
(see Isaiah 45:18)

We’re the ones who turned it into a waste,
closing ourselves off to the divine dew of justice
until salvation and truth dried up on the earth.

This closure of our souls to divine life became a closure of our bodies as well:
blindness, deafness, lameness, leprosy, and ultimately death.

Fortunately for us, God didn’t stop with creation.
He still wants the earth to abound with life.
He specializes in re-creation!

Blind ones are seeing, lame ones are walking, lepers are being cleansed,
deaf-mutes are hearing, dead ones are being raised
-Luke 7:22

Heaven comes down!
Earth buds forth salvation!

And He who releases bodies from bondage wants even more to free souls.

But we have to want His salvation.

And strangely enough, we often don’t!

Blest is that man who finds no stumbling block in Me.
-Luke 7:23

Most do find a stumbling block in Christ.
Because God’s ways are higher than ours (see Isaiah 55:9)
we think He’s wrong!
(we can’t conceive of any way higher than our own…)

So He pleads:

Turn to Me and be safe, all you ends of the earth,
for I am God; there is no other
-Isaiah 45:22

And He demonstrates:

Go back and tell John what you have seen and heard
-Luke 7:22

When we allow God’s ways–so much higher than our own–to water our parched earth

Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from Heaven.
The Lord Himself will give His benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
-Psalm 85:11-13

The next time you’re inclined to protest what God’s brought into your life (maybe today!),
look up instead.
His ways are higher.
Open your heart (parched earth!) to His heavenly dewfall.

He will give the increase.

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