11 December 2005

Gaudete Omnes!

Once again we have St. John the Baptist put before us as an example. And again we can glean some insight from a homily of St. Francis de Sales which he delivered on the third Sunday of Advent, 13 December 1620.

Assigning to St. John the Baptist the great virtue of humility and to Christ that of charity, St. Francis de Sales suggests that in our lives humility is to be the forerunner of charity in all that we do. Humility is the voice that cries, "Make straight the way. . ." And it is only when our hearts are emptied by humility that they can truly welcome Christ and receive the virtue of charity.

St. John the Baptist humbled himself by refusing the honor that rightly belonged to Christ: the title Messiah. His humility was in his honesty. When we ask for the grace of humility we ask for the grace to see ourselves as the Lord sees us: creatures loved by the Creator, despite our weaknesses and foibles. Very often it is only in light of our weaknesses that we see so clearly our need for the Lord's help. We see our "littleness" when we recognize our weaknesses. And, humbly asking for help, aware of our neediness, we prepare a welcome home for charity to dwell in our hearts. For it is only when we are empty that we have room to be filled by the Lord.

Let us empty our hearts of all that is unworthy of the coming of the Lord. Let draw up from our hearts and place before Him all our needs, all our desires, all our concerns. Let us trust that in emptying our hearts we shall be ready to receive Him at His coming. Gaude, veniet!

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