Monday, December 20, 2010

Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent

“nothing will be impossible for God." -- Lk 1:37

Recently I had a chance to be tour-guide to my uncle who came visiting California for the first time. He loves taking pictures, so one day we set out to see Carmel and the scenic 17-Mile Drive. At the last landmark, he was truly in awe with the sight of The Lone Cypress – the famed tree that’s perched on a rock pointing out to Pacific Ocean.

Its inscription noted, “the Lone Cypress is a testament to the hardiness of these trees. It has withstood Pacific storms and winds for roughly 250 years.” Marveling at the scenery, my uncle kept chuckling, “How could that be possible?” At that moment, this very Scripture came to mind, “With God all things are possible” (Mt 19:26, Mk 10:27, Lk 1:37, Lk 18:27). I wish I had the courage to profess it out loud, but I feared that my uncle would poke fun at my post-Caritas fanatical holy conversion! So my timidity took over -- alas, sometimes cowardice could be easily masked with just ambivalent silence!

After taking a bunch of snapshots, my uncle pointed at the base of the tree, with layers and layers of rocks stacked up to fortify the foundation, and he explained that that must be the added protection withholding the tree. Oh wow, I must’ve seen this cypress more than 50 times, but I never noticed this barricade! (Which brings about the words of wisdom from Anthony de Mello, SJ, "Opening one's eyes may take a lifetime. Seeing is done in a flash.”)

This image sticks with me, as I imagine that each one of us is essentially a “lone cypress”. Maybe not with such majestic beauty, but God creates everyone with a likeness of His image and with His love, each with unique dignity and beauty nonetheless. There are all kinds of elements that we humans must “battle” during the storms of our lives -- temptations, frustrations, fears, doubts, confusions, sinful mistakes, etc. However, we don’t have to feel alone and afraid, because our God - God of kindness and compassion and mercy - will always be there with us, to “teach us the way” and strengthen us. I imagine that our Faith, at the deepest core of our being, is what keeps us solidly rooted. Each time we pray, we celebrate the Eucharist, we reflect on God’s Grace, we serve one another, especially when we “listen to God’s word and act on them”, we actually add layers and layers of rocks to our foundation. Thus, even if “the rain fell, the floods came, the winds blew and buffeted”, we would not “collapse and ruined”. (Mt 7:25)

Oh Lord, as Advent season is drawing near the end, may we still exercise our “patient waiting” to do things to strengthen our Faith. How can we learn to be faithful and trusting to say “yes” like Mary, “May it be done to me according to your word”?


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