01 December 2008

Come, Lord Jesus!

As we begin this most sacred season of Advent, we might stop to consider what a rich invitation it is for us to examine our own journey. We who seek Christ are all pilgrims on this side of eternity. During this season of preparation, our journey takes us to Bethlehem where we shall marvel at how the Lord comes among us as a child.
Those of us who live in monasteries do not travel a great deal, but when we do, we are struck (sometimes in more ways than one) by the rules and regulations that have been added at airports: shoe removal, food and liquid prohibitions, baggage limits, etc. Recently applied airline regulations may give us some insight into this journey of ours during the season of Advent.

Moses took off his shoes after the Lord appeared to him in the burning bush. He was standing on holy ground. Airports may not be holy ground, but our heart's journey to the manger where the Holy Family is gathered is a journey which can help us to grow in holiness. When we prepare ourselves for the Lord of Lords to be born anew in our hearts, we lay aside all that is unworthy of so great a visitor. Our hearts, if they are ready for the coming of Christ, will be made holy by Him whom we welcome.

Fortunately for us, we do not need to carry large bags when we travel: our wardrobe is simple and our needs are few. One cannot help but to notice, however, that the number and size of bags one may now carry on board an airplane continues to grow smaller. This, too, provides an insight into our pilgrimage to the manger in Bethlehem. When we journey toward Christ we cannot carry extra baggage. Such "baggage" might be: resentment, fear, anger, jealousy, discouragement, etc., and they are all roadblocks along our way. The more baggage we have, the more difficult it can be to stay on the road that will take us to Bethlehem. When we are not weighed down with baggage, we are also free to help others along the way. Let us set out, this Advent season, to throw down our baggage (or at least check it at the curb) and hurry for God is with us and He awaits us at the manger.

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