Luke 21: 29-33 Brace Yourselves!
Where sin lives, hell reigns!
Early this morning the sky was beautiful. Before the sun rose from its slumber, the stars were so bright; heaven lit up! After a storm comes clarity and last night was no exception. I began my meditation early this morning and I went for a walk. I know in my heart that there are many graces the Lord wishes to give to me this Advent. What kind, I do not know. But we do know that the Lord lives among his people (Rev 21:3b). He loves to be with us. He loves to share time with us. He even loves to sit and observe us. What does he observe from me? What does he see?
“My offenses truly I know them; my sin is always before me. Against you, you alone, have I sinned; what is evil in your sight I have done.” (Ps 51) And so, what shall I do?
St. John, in the Book of Revelation, sees heaven and hell, angels and wild beasts, ancient serpents and fallen angels. He also sees the Lamb and his throne, souls and their deeds. He sees more than we could ever imagine because he has eyes of faith, and when there is faith, there is the Lord. What does he do with all these graces? He holds onto the Word for dear life!
Jesus told his disciples a parable about anticipation, “When the buds burst open, you see for yourselves and know that summer is now near.” In the same way, when we experience the Lord’s presence in our lives we know that the Kingdom of God is near. The Lord loves to be with us; to share time with us. When he is near to us, the Kingdom of God is near. Do not allow the day to end without having caught sight of the Lord. His presence is felt most when his grace is embraced. Embrace his grace more than your sins! If I am not happy with who I am or where I am, then I haven't reached the height or depth the Lord wants me to go. The Lord is telling me, "start moving towards me."
Some time ago, while I was meditating, I suddenly felt a wave of despair come over me. It is hard to describe and I wish I had a better word for it. It definitely felt like a wave rushing over me and it definitely did not feel good. It wasn’t the first time this happened, and I am sure it will not be the last time. It doesn’t happen often but it is easily recognizable, it is definitely something supernatural. But what I would like to say is that it is a wave that is unmistakable and unforgettable. How did I handle it? What did I do? I completely ignored it and continued meditating on the word of God. This was my greatest light: Ignore it. This has to be our response – always. We must never give evil a second thought, a second glance or a second chance. It is a waste of time and grace.
Heaven and earth will pass away, but the Lord’s word will never pass away. Christ will never fail; he will never die; he will never come to an end. Darkness will never overcome the light. There is a reason why the Lord called himself the Light of the World, but light is not at the end of the tunnel, Christ is. His presence is not felt in cowardice or in self-pity (false humility). His love is not felt in knocking oneself down or allowing self-hate to fill one’s heart. This tree, my life, is good because it was planted by Him and it will produce fruit for Him. I will not allow the vultures in the sky steal it from Him.
The winter season is a beautiful time of year for it is obedient and follows the Liturgical year. Winter is not a time of hibernation – it is a time of meditation and reflection - to get away and find some hidden corner to enjoy silence, simplicity and solitude. Embrace these moments, do not let them slip away.
There is a tree that is waiting to bloom, and that tree, this tree of life is you. It is time to get away; to allow the arrival of winter to purify the heart and mind and cleanse the soul to renewal. We know what it takes? The best remedy of selfishness is selflessness. Embrace the greatest grace the Lord gave to you: Embrace who you are so that the Lord can transform who you are and create a love-gift.
Where grace lives; heaven reigns!