1st Sunday of Advent: Gospel of Luke 21: 25-28, 34-36
"Jesus said to his disciples: There will be signs in the sun, the moon, and the stars, and on earth nations will be in dismay, perplexed by the roaring of the sea and the waves. People will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming upon the world, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken. And then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. But when these signs begin to happen, stand erect and raise your hands because your redemption is at hand."
"Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life, and that day catch you by surprise like a trap. For that day will assault everyone who lives on the face of the earth. Be vigilant at all times and pray that you have the strength to escape the tribulations that are imminent and to stand before the Son of Man".
We have just begun the new liturgical year in the Church, Happy New Year! The year of Mercy! (which officially begins December 8th)
Our Lord speaks His first words of the new year to us; and what are some of these first words..."Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy from carousing and drunkenness and the anxieties of daily life." When we think of the heart, we usually don't think of sleepiness. We usually think of one word..."Love." Jesus wants us to think of that word, "love." He wants us awake not drowsy in our love for Him. He wants our hearts to be, "wide open" to His coming, alert to His presence right now because in order to truly receive someone you must acknowledge their presence before you. Many things can make our hearts drowsy- not attuned to Him or weak in receiving His love and giving love. Jesus mentions a few; carousing, (revelry, looking for pleasures, following one distraction after another, aimlessly wondering, never grounded). Then there is drunkenness, the glutting of oneself in all respects, drink, food, pleasures, and self - "numbing" the mind and heart, "self medicating" in the hopes of deadening the pain inside our hearts caused from wounds, or simply the acedia that prefers to live "short" of the fullness of our being. This drunkenness leads us to dullness, and an inability to respond to love's demands. Lastly, anxieties, that constant interior agitation, propelled by fear, vanity and pride, that restlessness that gives us no peace, or allows genuine rest in the Lord. When this static become loud inside us, it prevents us from hearing the Lord's voice and seeing His presence near us. Many times in sacred scripture, our Lord cautions us against anxiety; "Be not afraid"..."do not be anxious", because in a sense, it obstructs our view of His presence and He is RIGHT THERE.
Let us prepare to spend a little while with our Lord in His company. Lectio (read very slowly and prayerfully (attentively) the gospel passage). Meditatio (spend time here with Jesus and watch: what stays with you, what bothers you, what draws you, what puzzles you, what do you notice, see or hear? Stay there and ponder). Oratio (share with the Lord, talk to Him about it, bring it to Him and just stay there with Him and open your heart and give it all to Him, share it with Him. Contemplactio (Let Him in!..Allow Him to Love you- Let Him in your Heart, Let His love-”Love you”). Keep your heart open and very close to His Heart. Contemplation is very much like an "inflow" of God, His love, His life, Himself - in your soul. Allow the Lord to enter your mind and heart and be with Him, be real, tell Him everything. The final part is very important, don't run away from Love-stay put-wait on the Lord
Lectio is very simply, BEING with Jesus
"Love Jesus Trustfully, without looking back, without fear" (Mother Teresa)