Advent 2011: Live Anew

Written by Br.  Gabriel Torretta, OP

For children, December can be both the happiest and the most agonizing month of the year. The anticipation of Christmas is almost too much to bear—the long weeks of waiting, knowing that any (or none!) of the absolutely necessary, can’t-live-without toys and gadgets on their Christmas lists could be hiding in some closet somewhere, can be almost physically painful. Some might even resort to drastic measures to ease the pain of waiting—turning clocks forward, changing calendars, and rooting out potential present hiding spots.

As we get older, the objects of our desires change, but the ways we try to satisfy them might stay the same. Waiting for what we want is hard, and always comes with a kind of pain; just taking what we want often seems easier. Why wait in a long line if I can just cut to the front instead? Why ask to use my neighbor’s snowblower if I can take it and return it before he notices? Why apologize to my girlfriend if I can make my mistake look like her fault?

But we are not trapped forever in our own egos and selfish plans. The third beatitude shows us the way out: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” The meek are those who accept that they are not the masters of their own lives. Rather than trying to force their will upon every situation, they trust that the Lord loves them enough to give them what they need.

The meek are not spineless or weak; they are men and women who have allowed their desires to be shaped completely by God. The meek live the life God has given them without reservation or selfishness; freed from the prison of their own obsessive grip on time and the world, they are free to be fully human. The meek will inherit the earth, not by the merely transient pleasures of the world, but by the heavenly joy that has no end.

Our Lord will come again, we know not when. But we know he will take to himself all those who have given their desires over to him, who have not tried to force their way into heaven by selfish pride, but have allowed God to change them slowly, in his own time.

Today’s meditation: Spend a few minutes in prayer, asking God for the virtue of patience.