From the Desk of Father Davis
I suppose there could have eternally been darkness, gloom, and the cold and lifelessness of the great abyss. There could have been mere chance, a world randomly spinning, aimless, directionless, without purpose, and out of control. There could have also been only a story of selfishness, violence, conflict, and turmoil. More deeply considered, there could have been only evidence of brokenness, sinfulness, and personal ills, woundedness, depression, and spiritual maladies. But, none of these were the Divine plan for the world, nor for the human person. There was (and is) so much more to the story of the created world, and of our human existence!
When original sin infected the Garden of Eden long ago, even that did not stop God from having a dream of a world redeemed, ordered the way it was meant to be, with purpose, structure, direction, virtue, and grace. Yesterdayís celebration of the Immaculate Conception shows, in no uncertain terms, just how far God was willing to go to foil evil, to turn darkness on its head, and to usher into the world and into the human community the era of Divine redemption, the Kingdom of Christ, and salvation for the life of the world. This has everything to do with the miracle of Christmas, which we will soon commemorate.
In the light of such a plan, perceived long ago by prophets, like Baruch, people of good will everywhere are encouraged to put on the splendor of glory from God, to stand up upon the heights, to breathe in the air of life and grace, be a people of hope, and advance secure in the glory of God. It was surely not Godís plan that we would wallow in despair, but that we would be a people of hope and glad tidings, divinely-given-potential and holy -possibilities. There is so much more to the story of our lives than we know! In the wake of the Resurrection, Saint Paul felt this impulse so strongly that he prayed for and encouraged his hearers that their inner peace and tranquility, the very operation of their souls, their love for God and one another, might increase more and more. The Evangelist Luke sought to capture this sentiment, igniting a vision of hope and fullness of life. He quotes the Prophet Isaiah, and accurately applies the prophecy to the great precursor of the Christ, Saint John the Baptist, announcing that every valley shall be filled; every mountain and hill shall be made low. The winding roads will be made straight; the rough ways made smooth. It is a clarion calling to allow God to be God; to welcome the salvation and healing he brings. Itís the story of redemption, of Godís dream for a world redeemed. Itís awesome that we are reminded of these inspirations at this holy time of the year.
The words of Isaiah on the lips of John the Baptist point, however, to the challenge of this godly moment for each of us. We are invited to ďprepare the way of the Lord, and make straight his paths.Ē Itís the call to integrity and spiritual depth. It is a holy exhortation that we get our lives on the road of Godís plan for us. We are to get them in order, so that we are featured participants in the theo-drama of redemption, of Godís plan for us and our world. Yes. Christmas beckons us to be prepared, to know what we are doing, to be people of hope and good news, to welcome the salvation of Godís action, lifting us up from certain darkness and despair, to life and light.
Yes. Advent is so rich in meaning. It gets us in touch with the deeper narrative of life. It reminds us of Salvation History. It also opens our eyes to perceive the ultimate meaning of the holy season of Christmas. May we be a hope-filled people, with a spiritual optimism that animates us to be counted among the people of Barachís day, standing upon the heights, advancing secure in the glory of God. Thereís so much to this story. Donít we perceive it?