We take our first step into Advent; into a season of waiting and preparation for Christmas. It is a time for a pause, to reflect where our daily life is taking us spiritually. I had been missing from this blog for the last two Sundays and today I am a day late. I had a text from a friend this morning to check if I was OK. It awoke my spirit and returned my discipline.
What we do and focus on in daily life can easily take us away. It can create many openings to lure us down a path of spiritual dryness. There is nothing wrong with daily life but we must watch how we allow it to affect and control us, which can eventually bring us to ruin. I had been pulled away by work demands on my time. Without pausing, I allowed the tide of daily life to carry me, faraway enough to be then lured further away by distractions and then into an undisciplined lethargy towards God.
“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.” (Gospel)
The season of Advent reminds me of the coming of Jesus, who already is here but is often forgotten and lost in the motions of our daily life. Pausing to reflect is the call of every Advent for us to check on the focus of our daily life. “We urge you and appeal to you in the Lord Jesus to make more and more progress in the kind of life that you are meant to live: the life that God wants”. (Second reading). This is an appeal to be good; to allow love to flow through us to love the other.
“May the Lord make you increase and abound in love for one another and for all” (Second reading).
We live in a relative world. Being good is actually not that tough but rather being bad is all too easy. Imagine a world where everyone is good, where love freely flows in that we truly love one another. In that spiritual energy, it would not be difficult to also be good. But this real world isn’t that ideal world. In this reality the forces of bad pull us away from true love into the confines of self-absorption.
This is the physics of spiritual life. Our daily life must always be in the motion of doing good deeds to allow love to flow through us. Spiritual dynamics does not allow us to stand still, where we are not bad but also not proactively doing good things because the forces of reality will drag us into the lull of spiritual dryness. In that lull we will forget that Jesus has come into our lives; a forgetfulness that will lead into the dangers of disbelief.
Advent has its reasons. Pausing and reflecting on where we are in daily life allow us to reset the course of our life. Jesus is always coming, we need to be always returning. Pressing pause helps.
“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.” (Gospel)
First Sunday in Advent 2019 (Year C)