Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Today’s text

From a commentary on Luke by Saint Ambrose (bishop, 337/340-397)

You are blessed because you have heard and believed. A soul that believes both conceives and brings forth the Word of God and acknowledges his works. Let Mary’s soul be in each of you to proclaim the greatness of the Lord. Let her spirit be in each to rejoice in the Lord. Christ has only one mother in the flesh, but we all bring forth Christ in faith.


I am fascinated by this mystery. You whom heaven and earth cannot contain dwells also within this heart of mine in light and love, in peace and purpose--and sometimes in frustration.

Frustration comes when I fail to express the heart of Christ in words and deeds of blessing. It comes when my fingers do not return often to these black keys to praise you, Holy One.

It comes when I turn from the depth of my heart to the details of the day, failing to see and seek what is in my heart. For your heart resides here within my own. It is known in the hunger to bless and the eagerness to proclaim that you are love--and that this love is what we most need to know and feel.

Frustration come when anxious chatter and furious figuring obscures the grace that we know and are when we gather around your word and open our hands to receive simple bread and words of blessing.

This grace is what matters among us. It is all that really matters to me. All else is distraction, the annoying clatter of faithless worry.

You live in this heart, and you are not all comfort and peace. Sometimes you are a prod, a frustration, an irritant that demands attention and expression.

Long ago you became my life and joy, a joy I know when I name your love and share your presence. Tension and disquiet build when even for a day or two I don’t say what I see and feel, blessing another soul with the love you are within me.

Then you become an uncomfortable presence. The discomfort disappears only when I do acts of blessing or speak words of love and praise of you who are the highest and best, the most lovely and wonderful--and yet who dwells within.

Did I give you birth by having faith? I cannot claim any merit in my own faith. I am not entirely sure how I got it other than by the example of parents and the witness of teachers, pastors and friends, old and young.

This faith is not something other than you, my Lord. My faith is you, present within, trusting the Eternal Father in me even as you trusted and called out to the Loving Mystery during the days of your earthly pilgrimage.

How, then, do I ‘bring forth Christ in faith,’ giving you birth again in my flesh? How do any of us do so if our faith is your presence already within? What can we do? What is your call?

Perhaps it is just to return to the places of your presence--to your word, to the worshiping community, to the voices of your grace.

Return again and again and listen. Listen for the Love who awakens love within--and trust that this is the eternal love of God who is pleased to dwell in you.

Each time this happens, each time Love is born within, Christmas comes again.

Pr. David L. Miller

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