May the blessings of the holiday Spirit be with each of you! Advent is a season to recall once again who we really are and to humbly accept it. We are human beings, whose privilege it is to have God as our destiny ... human beings, to whom God has given Divine Life from the beginning ... and, in the process of becoming fulfilled, we must pass under the fiery glance of God. Since we keep fighting off the approaching God, it is always God who must lay the groundwork for Love's approach, who must tame and train the wild human stallion for its advent destiny. And only when we live panting in the corral, do we open up to God's life-giving breath.
Is it not true that somewhere deep down in the silence of our troubled hearts, we have always looked for God's coming? Yet, in the last analysis, we need only say our yes to who we are ... we need simply to become more responsive to the secret yearning of our heart, which we often lock up but can never squelch entirely. Inasmuch as we are open and receptive, then we are truly men and women in waiting, advent creatures who allow Love to approach them and look forward to God's coming.
To interpenetrate an entire human life with divine life, it is not enough to kneel once a year in front of the crib and let oneself be moved by the charm of the holy night. One needs to live one's entire life in daily communication with God, to listen to the words that God has spoken and that have been transmitted to us, and to follow these words.
Attending in readiness waiting
My soul meets yours,
Enter, Oh Holy Spirit,
Tending in rapt devotion
Spirit's gentle touch --
Open as an infant's gaze
More insistent than any pain.
Open in steadiness attending
Creation's one and all,
Trusting Its wondrous tenderness.
Am I at least Its child?
Paraphrased from Elie Wiesel's THE OATH, an old man describes one of the characters:
He could gamble with his own suffering, but not with that of someone for whom suffering was not a game. He knew that nothing justifies the pain one person causes another. Any messiah in whose name people are tortured can only be a false messiah. It is by diminishing evil, present and real evil, experienced evil, that one builds the city of the sun. It is by helping those persons who look at you with tears in their eyes, needing help, needing you or at least your presence, that you may reach wholeness.
I live my Advent in the womb of Mary.
And on one night when a great star swings free
from its high mooring and walks down the sky
to be the dot above the Christus i,
I shall be born of her by blessed grace.
I wait in Mary-darkness, faith's walled place,
with hope's expectance of nativity.
I knew for long she carried me and fed me,
guarded and loved me, though I could not see.
But only now, with inward jubilee,
I come upon earth's most amazing knowledge:
SOMEONE IS HIDDEN IN THIS DARK WITH ME.
Here in time we make holiday because the eternal birth which our loving God bore and bears unceasingly in eternity is now born in time, in human nature. St. Augustine says this birth is always happening. But if it happens not in me, what does it profit me? What matters is that it shall happen in me.
Silence is primarily a quality of the heart that leads to ever-growing charity. It is portable cell that we carry with us wherever we go. From it we speak to those in need and to it we return after our words have born fruit. And, it is in this portable cell that we find ourselves immersed in the divine silence. The final question in a ministry of silence is not whether we say much or little, but whether our words call forth the caring silence of God, the silence to which we are all called.