When the angel Gabriel came to Mary, he told her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.” And she answered, “Here am I, the servant of the Lord; let it be with me according to your word.” It was in this submission, this surrender and obedience, that Christ was conceived. And it is the laying down of power that is revealed in his birth.…He was born in a stable, at the mercy of Herod and the stark elements of cold and dirt. This pattern of complete abandonment of human strength in total surrender to God’s will is of vital importance for us. It was in the surrender of herself to God that Mary became the mother of Christ. It was in her acceptance of Gabriel’s message that the great decisive event of history took place. And in our own lives, in our efforts to do right, what is decisive is that we accept and live by and surrender ourselves to a strength which is not our own, to the piercing white light of God’s love. ~Philip Britts, Watch For The Light
O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come and shine on those who dwell in darkness and in the shadow of death.
When you feel sometimes
– perhaps without reason –
that you have been humiliated;
when you think your opinion
should prevail; when you notice
that at every moment
your ‘self’ keeps cropping up:
your this, your that, your something else…
convince yourself that you are
wasting, killing time, and that
what you should be doing is
killing your selfishness.
~St. Josemaria Escriva,
The Forge, #1050
Jesus observed, “Without me you can do nothing.” Yet we act, for the most part, as though without us God can do nothing.…“Oh, but nothing will get done,” you say. “If I don’t do it, Christmas won’t happen.” And we crowd out Christ with our fretful fears.
God asks us to give away everything of ourselves. The gift of greatest efficacy and power that we can offer God and creation is not our skills, gifts, abilities, and possessions. Mary offered only space, love, belief.
Try it. Leave behind your briefcase and notes. Leave behind your honed skills and knowledge. Leave the Christmas decorations up in the attic. Go to someone in need and say, “Here, all I have is Christ.” And find out that that is enough. ~Loretta Ross-Gotta, Watch for the Light
If everyone were holy and handsome, with “alter Christus” shining in neon lighting from them, it would be easy to see Christ in everyone. If Mary had appeared in Bethlehem clothed, as St. John says, with the sun, a crown of twelve stars on her head, and the moon under her feet, then people would have fought to make room for her. But that was not God’s way for her, nor is it Christ’s way for himself, now when he is disguised under every type of humanity that treads the earth. ~Dorothy Day
Openness to God demands our growing acceptance that we cannot create blueprints for our own lives. Though God’s character is unchanging, the ways of God are unpredictable, and there is a difference between arbitrariness and unpredictability. ~Enuma Okoro, Silence and Other Surprising Invitations of Advent
No matter what we do, unless we do it in the love of God, it profits us nothing. God wants our love, He will be satisfied with nothing else. That is what He principally looks for in our works. The things we do or achieve are not of primary value to God, for he can create them by a mere thought; or with just as much ease He can raise up other free agents to do what we do. But the love of our hearts is something unique, something no one else can give Him. True, He could create other hearts to love Him, but once He has created us and given us free will, the love of our particular heart is something unique and in a way irreplaceable. In any case, it is not for His own sake that He wants our love, but because He desires to make us happy with Him forever, and He can only do that if we are in love with Him. ~Dom Eugene Boylan; This Tremendous Lover
Christ’s future is not one single point in an absolute remoteness for which we are to wait – a mere coming event. This is hardly thinkable, for we would probably all go to sleep over it. Christ’s future is now, or it is not at all. It must become an experience of every individual believer and for every congregation. God’s deed through Jesus Christ must be your experience, today and tomorrow and every day. ~Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt, Action in Waiting
It is no use saying that we are born two thousand years too late to give room to Christ. Nor will those who live at the end of the world have been born too late. Christ is always with us, always asking for room in our hearts. / But now it is with the voice of our contemporaries that he speaks, with the eyes of store clerks, factory workers, and children that he gazes; with the hands of office workers, slum dwellers, and suburban housewives that he gives. It is with the feet of soldiers and tramps that he walks, and with the heart of anyone in need that he longs for shelter. And giving shelter or food to anyone who asks for it, or needs it, is giving to Christ. ~Dorothy Day