GospelLK 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 heads
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.”
+Prayer: Come Holy Spirit, come by the means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, Thy well beloved Spouse.
“Beware that your hearts do not become drowsy”
Why is Jesus cautioning us of this danger? What is a ‘drowsy heart’ and how should we be on guard against it? When I think of the heart, I think of the seat of Love, the place where everything in me, moves from, my deepest desires. What is Jesus saying to you and to me about our desires? When do we normally become drowsy? Perhaps, when its dark outside, or when we are overtired, overfed, overexerted, overbooked, overstimulated and overwhelmed to name a few. In other words, we become drowsy from an excess and from an absence (an absence of light). Becoming drowsy happens when the mind, heart and body are ‘too full.’ This is not a good fullness, but rather a ‘fullness’ that produces drowsiness. When the mind is too full of concerns, fears and anxieties it becomes drowsy. When the body is too full of food and drink it becomes drowsy. When the heart is too full with dissipation and worldly desires, it becomes drowsy. It looses it ‘edge' for sacrifice, it looses its alertness for Love. There is a marvelous peace that comes into the soul, and is experienced when we focus our heart on the One thing necessary: Attentiveness to God. Then we see His Beauty, and like a fragrance in the air, we know His Presence.
The more we let go of inordinate desires the more free our body is to stand upright, poised, waiting for Him. The more we let go of useless thoughts, worries and preoccupations, the more free our mind is ponder His ways and to think upon Him. The more we let go of secondary desires and keep our heart focused on Jesus and His coming right now, this day in my life, the more free we are to ‘move’ and respond to Him, we see glimpses of Him always.
Drowsiness can be ‘combated’ by keeping oneself empty, hungry for God. Empty of fears and anxieties, empty of disordered desires, empty of useless patterns of thinking. These things can be emptied in two ways. I despoil myself of them and/or secondly, I allow God to despoil me of them, either directly or through others. The poor in spirit are the ones whose hearts are not drowsy, they are eagerly awaiting the fulfillment of their hope, the coming of the Savior. The poor in spirit are in need and are awaiting Him with trustful hearts. We need to keep our hearts hungry for God. When we are really hungry, it is hard to sleep, having some measure of discomfort is good for us. This is the edge (the edge of vigilance) we need to travel with, in this Holy Month of Advent. A hungry heart, that has eyes wide open waiting to receive the Word made Flesh, the Bread of Life.
One final thought: I hear Jesus- eager to be found, seen, heard He is eager for us to look for Him in the very situations in our lives that are filled with confusion, consternation, turmoil and leave us in dismay. He promises us something incredibly comforting, He says that HE will be “coming in a cloud with power and great glory.'“ He tells us in other words, that He will come, but He will come in a manner that is so subtle, we could miss His coming, if we are not looking for Him.
As we begin the New Liturgical Year, let us begin with a new heart, a new desire to be fervent, faithful and focused….focused on Jesus! He is the Primary One of our lives, all else is secondary. “O Come Divine Messiah, the world in silence awaits You”
Prayer: Lord Jesus you are my life and the breath of my heart, increase my Faith and teach me to pray as you taught your disciples. Jesus I love you!