Be Watchful

Advents come and go, but there is one I will never forget.  It was the first Advent I spent in the Dominican Republic.  The only hint that Christmas was just around the corner was the string of color lights Rosa Parks put up on her store.  There was an absence of Christmas sales, Black Friday sales and the constant barrage of Christmas advertising.  No one in Sabana Yequa decorated the outside of their house; mainly because they were too poor to waste their money on non-essentials.  It was an Advent spent without all the hustle and bustle that is so much a part of our experience.  I found a stillness in that uncluttered time—a time to look within myself—a time to care for the inner home.

The Prophet Isaiah announced, “No ear has ever heard, no eye ever seen, any God but you doing such deeds for those who wait for Him (Isaiah 64:3).”  God is always at work within us and around us.  He is like a potter and we are the clay.  He is forming and shaping us into thAe person He is creating.  In God’s eye we still are unfinished creatures.  St. John in his first letter states, “What we shall be has not yet been revealed…when it is revealed we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is (1 John 3:2).”  We think because we cannot see Him that He is far from us and that He resting.  We cannot see love.  We only see the effects of love, and so it is with God.  In the stillness of the soul we will find God creating and loving us.

We are the gatekeepers of our souls.  Jesus asks us to be watchful because we do not know when the Master will return.  The question is, “What have we let into our souls?”  Surely we do not want to welcome the following guests into our souls:  anger, pride, greed, lust, envy, gluttony and sloth?  These will muddle the voice of God and we will not hear the soft whispering of our Lord.  We can overcome those unwelcome guests because we have the power to do so.  St. Paul in his first letter to the Corinthians states, “You are not lacking in any spiritual gift, (1 Cor. 1:3a).”  We have the grace to clean the inner home of our souls so as to ready it for the Master’s return.  We wait in joyful expectation for His coming home to us.

Advent is a time in the midst of the hustle and bustle of the season when we need to return to the stillness that lies within each of us.  It is a time to embark on a journey in which every moment, every step is a new revelation of God’s presence in our midst.  The interesting fact of this journey is that God is both the road by which we must travel and the destination of our journey.  It is a journey of waiting for God to reveal Himself in our waiting to be healed, in our waiting to forgive, in our waiting to let go.  Waiting is a responsibility of being a gatekeeper and we are the gatekeepers of our souls.  It is in the stillness of the soul that we come to know what the Prophet Isaiah proclaimed, “O Lord, you are our Father; we are the clay and you are the potter: we are all the work of your hands.”

Sincerely yours in Christ,
Fr. Dennis

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