Thursday, December 22, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Today’s text

From a treatise against the heresy of Noetus by Saint Hippolytus (priest, 170-235)

God gave utterance to his voice, engendering light from light, and then he sent his own mind into the world as its Lord. Visible before God alone and not to the world, God made him visible so that the world could be saved by seeing him. This mind that entered our world was made known as the Son of God.


All the world came into being through you, in you and for you, O Christ. There is nothing that does not bear the mark and resemblance of you who are before time and beyond imagination.

Yet, you are as close as the goodness flowing through the beauty of all things, each thing revealing the mind of the Maker.

You are the mind of God, the intelligence and intention of the Infinite Source of Being, the Loving Mystery, the Eternal Wonder my naming cannot catch or fathom.

The immensity of your heart, O God, dwells in this child, this infant Christ, a peasant’s child. And that heart embraces all creation. It reaches out to see all that is made and to love it, to delight in it, to treasure it, to bless it, to desire fullness of life for all it sees.

I do not believe Jesus understood the mysteries of science, the depth of the farthest galaxies or the intricacies of the grass and flowers that spoke to him of the wonder of God.

Being the mind of God did not mean he possessed superior knowledge beyond that of any other peasant of his day. He was and remained human.

But truly so, in ways we are not, except in the blessed flashes of graced moments.

What he knew, O Lord was you. He had your mind, he was your mind, and your mind is a mind of love that hungers for the earth to sing its beauty and every human soul to bubble with joy.

This is your mind, O God, the mind that is in Christ--and in me.

You, Christ, are the Son of God for you stand in constant communion with the Mystery who is love, the Source who is infinite, the grace from whom springs every beauty of creation. God is how we name this wonder, whose mind you are.

In revealing the mind of God, you also show us also ourselves. You show us the person we become when, in those flashes of graced moments, your mind is born again in us, in moments when we feel the rush of love and gratitude for life and all that lives, when we are amazed at beauty, moved beyond ourselves to compassion and angered by all that wounds and disfigures created goodness.

So come, Lord Jesus. Let us look upon you again as you rest in Mary’s lap. Open our eyes to see that you are the loving beauty of the Father. And in seeing, may the mind that is in you be born again in us that we, like you, might be truly human.

Pr. David L. Miller

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

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Today’s text

From a letter by Saint Leo the Great (pope, 391/400-461)

But through this wonderful blending the mystery of new birth shone upon us, so that through the same Spirit by whom Christ was conceived and brought forth we too might be born again in a spiritual birth; and in consequence the evangelist declares the faithful to ‘have been born not of blood nor of desire of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.’


Be born in us, O Lord. This is my prayer as Christmas comes near. Be born again in the dark mystery of my heart. Illumine my soul with the light of your loving presence.

Be born in me that my coldness might be overwhelmed by your warmth,
that my confusion might be washed away by the certainty of a love that always was and always will be,
that my mortality might be filled with your immortality,
that my narrow heart might be expanded by the immensity of your all-encompassing, unfailing compassion.

Let Christmas come and banish all sadness. Let every soul see the cold winter world drenched in sunlight. Fill us with the joyful awareness that the golden rays of your divine love are filling every dark corner of creation.

Be born us. Raise us from the lethargy of grief, from preoccupation with what we have lost and from anxious fears of what we must face. Let us feel your love deep within that we may know that you are in us.

Then we shall know that you are greater than every sadness, stronger than the anxieties that erode our joy and more powerful than the forces of death that steal hope and cloud the future.

Make my soul like bright winter morning. I gaze out the back window of the house. The sun pours joy on the patio. It may be cold, but the world is clothed in light, joyous light, hilarious light. It laughs and plays.

It seeks out every cold corner. It does not force its way in, but silently rushes forward at unimaginable speed, lest the darkness get away and hide somewhere beyond its reach. But there is no such place.

You are light, O Lord, the light of onrushing love. And your light lives within me, or how could I know you? How could I be moved to praise you, to hope for you, to call out for you?

My prayer has long since been answered. You already have been born in me. And what is born in me--in us--is light, the light of eternal day, the joyous light of winter mornings playing on the patio.

It comes and reminds me that you, who come in Jesus, indwell my soul, seeking out every dark corner, every fearful place, every sadness over loss, every wound that hinders joy and purpose, every doubt that you, my Lord, are something less than all-embracing love.

And when my heart knows this, you are born again, not in Bethlehem, but in this soul, which is your holy purpose--and my great joy.

Pr. David L. Miller

Monday, December 19, 2011

Monday, December 19, 2011

Today's text

From the Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation of the Second Vatican Council (1962-1965)

He sent his Son, the eternal Word who enlightens all [people], to dwell among [human beings] and make known to them the innermost things of God. Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh, sent as a man to [all people] speaks the words of God, and brings to perfection the saving work that the Father gave him to do. To see him is to see the Father also.


I wonder about the work the Jesus the Christ was given to do. What is that work?

Many of the ways Western Christianity has emphasized in recent centuries make no sense to me. They never did. As a boy, I heard the idea that God sent Jesus to be strung up on a cross to pay the price of human sin, so that God, the Father, might be satisfied.

It made no sense. It God less forgiving than I was, and anything that does that must be mistaken.

This traditional “atonement theology” burns at the heart of virtually all conservative preachers and movements. It is at their core. But if to be Christian one must believe that this is Jesus work, well, I am not a Christian.

But I am, profoundly so, and I am more so as the years go by.

But this year again I come to the cradle of Bethlehem with the same question: How does this child, this Jesus help me? How does he help anyone? What difference does he make for those who are dying … or watching a loved one fade away? What does he mean for people I know who may be losing their little daughter? And what difference does this child make in a world where a billion or more are hungry today, or even starving?

Jesus is born to peasant parents with no prospects that they or he will amount to much, just more child in a world of poor children. The only thing that has changed in this regard is there now are far more poor children.

So what difference does Jesus “work” make; what work does he do?

The grand theories of theologians hold scant hold on my mind and less on my soul. They do not excite the imagination or touch the heart.

What does, however, is standing close to manger of Jesus and imagining that this child is the eternal desire of God for me and for all.

God’s eternal desire is to unite the great and uncreated divine heart with our created hearts, so that the Infinite Source of loving joy might pour through us. The loving and infinite God, who is everywhere as present, seeks to unite the created soul with the eternal heart of God--and has been doing so since before the beginning of time. All progress in humanity and grace is the product of such divine effort and presence.

This was God’s desire, an eternal desire, which has nothing to do with human sin and imperfection.

God’s great heart always seeks to give itself away for the sake of creating free and full communion of love and joy between himself and the created order. This is not the result of sin and human error. It is the eternal desire of God whose will is and always was love, and love wants but one thing--to unite with the beloved.

In Jesus, the eternal divine desire is fulfilled; the union of God’s heart and a human heart appears most clearly. And I see--no, I feel--that this child, this Jesus, shows me the union of Heart with heart, of Love with love, of Divinity with humanity, the union God is working to make happen in me … and in all.

When I look again at the child, when with shepherds I draw near the manger, listening again to the story … a love is awakened. I should say Love is awakened. God is born again in me. The heart of God is awakened in the narrow confines of my heart.

And at one and the same moment, my humanity and the great heart of the Divine Wonder dance with joy.

Pr. David L. Miller