I often preach about opening your ears to actually listen to God speaking to you. Lest you think that this is a merely academic exercise, let me explain how this works – and let me be the example of being hard of hearing!
Since my medical “adventure” these past weeks, I have been trying to ignore the unpleasant (to me) truth that for the time being, while I am still “recovering,” I need to slow down and not “do” as much as I usually do. I must deal with change. There is a weight restriction on what I can lift. I am forbidden to shovel snow (or anything else). I must come to grips with an 11th commandment: “Thou shall no longer eat anything that either tastes good or once had a soul.” I am likely to pass on some evening meetings if strength disappears.
Not only must I deal with “change,” I am told that I must let others “do” for me, for a little while anyway. And while I try my best to hide all this, I am grumbling within. Obviously, this is a rather busy time in a parish’s yearly cycle of events. There is also the wrap up of expectations and demands from being an adjunct seminary professor. Don’t forget family responsibilities. Don’t tell me to “not do” things!!!
But this is exactly the entire point of Advent – and God has been screaming at me. What is it we celebrate but a fact involving a truth who is a person! What Advent celebrates is the fact that humans cannot make things right with each other or their God. Never have; never will! All that must be “done,” has been done for us in the coming of the incarnate God who is “the way, the truth and the life” for us. The daily and Sunday readings from Holy Scripture are really in your face reminding, me at least, that none of the people we remember and none of the events we celebrate were initiated by human desire or caused by human ability. It is God who does: we simply ARE the recipients of “his redeeming grace.”
Through these weeks, I have to keep listening to the haunting themes of O Come O Come Emmanuel because I am the one who needs to be “ransomed” from my foolish beliefs that the world is all about me or that I have to make everything right for everyone. God has done this already. I need to be silent, and to listen, and to learn to let God love me. – Any of this ring true for you???
– Fr. Joe