Monday, December 2, 2013

First Monday of Advent: Your Word More Than My Unworthiness

“Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.” – Mt 8:8

One of two most helpful and freeing prayers for me during Mass is what we pray before receiving the Eucharist: “Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed.” It is an almost a direct rendition of the centurion’s appeal to Jesus in today’s Gospel. A petition prompted by both compassion for his servant and greater trust in Jesus. Jesus highly commends this act of faith that goes beyond oneself.

I don’t really know why my response before receiving Communion is helpful to me and welcomes a most sacred moment that follows during Mass. Then I sit or kneel with everyone present, and allow Mystery to happen. Maybe it’s because I let go of my preoccupation of being worthy or unworthy of God’s love (or being loved). Maybe it’s because I let Christ’s mercy and goodness pervade my heart, mind, and body. Maybe it’s me saying “yes” to my dear friend Jesus who simply wants to be with me, look at me, sit with me, hide in me, share my loneliness, burdens, self-judgment, hurt, or worries for others, etc. Maybe it’s allowing the centurion’s faith to be my own, like embracing and personalizing the faith that my grandmother or my parents have passed on to me. Maybe it’s letting myself BE the Spirit’s dwelling place, and imagining the possibility that the people kneeling next to me, and those I find hard to see Christ’s presence at this time, are also God’s beloved children, Christ’s favorite hiding place. Whatever the reasons maybe, during that time of sacred silence, Mystery soaks in. Trust grows in me. It’s really not my doing. I’m simply learning to say “yes.”

Yesterday, Pope Francis reminded us that with every Advent, “we begin a new liturgical year, that is, a new journey of the People of God with Jesus, our Shepherd, who guides us through history toward the fulfillment of the Kingdom of God.” I am grateful to be reminded of the proper attitude and horizon of this journey during Advent, letting compassion for others and trust in God lead the way.

Whom are you more concerned about at this time? Consider entrusting your worries as well as placing your hopes in God? Invite God to enter “under your roof” or to welcome God into your “home” today.

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