Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Today’s text

From a pastoral letter by Saint Charles Borromeo (bishop, 1538-1584)

The Church asks us to understand that Christ, who came once in the flesh, is prepared to come again. When we remove all obstacles to his presence he will come, at any hour and moment, to dwell spiritually in our hearts.


It has taken years to know the longing in my heart as a longing that is not my own.

I hear the words and songs of the Advent season. Isaiah, in particular, moves me. He speaks of deep and universal longings for a world made whole and for souls healed by the restoring love the One who is Love and most lovable of all.

The prophet writes that the Lord shall judge among the nations, and they shall beat their swords into plowshares, their spears into pruning hooks. One nation will no longer raise the sword against their neighbors, nor shall they learn war again (Isaiah 2:4-5).

The words stir the heart, awakening longing to be the peace God brings, so that every interaction of my life becomes a moment for offering the peace and gentleness of God in Christ to every soul I meet, whether on the phone, in the coffee shop, at the hospital bed.

I hunger for my whole bearing to be peace, the peace of God, the peace of heaven, the peace that fills the heart when one knows all is well, all is wrapped in the embrace of God, the Father.

Peace comes in quietness when the rush of the daily world fades, and we can hear the voice our heart. We feel our wounds, our hunger for healing, listening also to the longings that reside within us for a life beyond the life we are living, a life more beautiful and good, more graced and gracing, a life in which we are ruled more by joy and hope than disappointment and criticism.

Such longing is stirred when we hear the words of those, like the prophet Isaiah, whose souls have heard the Voice of the Eternal One in their own heart … and spoken what they have heard.

But we miss the point if we think the longings within us for peace, for love, for rising to a new kind of life are our own creation. They are the presence of God, the reality of Christ again taking on flesh within our flesh to make us the peace of God, the blessing of God, the presence of God in our time and place, wherever we are.

For God is not pleased to take on human flesh only once, in a manger, the child of peasants, in a time far distant from our own. Christ is born a million times and more in every heart where inner longing becomes words of peace and acts of mercy in a world that needs this most of all.

Pr. David L. Miller

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