In poverty, He comes.

February 8, 2016 by  
Filed under Vocations

The hours are fast approaching before His coming.  And lo, He does not delay! Recently, someone asked me if I was ready for Christmas. Ready? Am I ready? What does it truly mean to be ready for the coming of Jesus, anyway?

On the Second Sunday of Advent we heard the exhortation, to “prepare the way of the Lord.” We may be asking ourselves now as the clock is ticking before His arrival, have I prepared the way for Him to come to me? Have I made straight a path in my heart?

We can learn something from Our Blessed Mother’s preparation for the coming of the Savior of the world. Perhaps, she knitted a baby blanket, made little Middle Eastern onsies, a soft pillow for the Baby Jesus. Perhaps, she decorated a beautiful crib hand-crafted by St. Joseph. We can assume that she, the most perfect shelter of heaven’s glory, was as ready as ever to welcome Him into the world.

Yet, we read that just days before His birth, she is sent to travel with St. Joseph to Bethlehem for the census. Thus, allowing herself to become totally impoverished. Everything was ready for the Baby Jesus in Nazareth, but she is asked to leave it all behind – all her plans, all the beautiful things she must have accomplished to welcome Him, to show Him her love. She (and St. Joseph) must surrender all of it – and I imagine they do with peaceful trust. They became truly poor without even a decent place for the Newborn King to lay His Divine Head.

Yet, now, in this poverty, according to God’s mysterious plan, she is fully ready to welcome Him.

God chooses to come into poverty – into the piercing cold midnight hour to be placed in a feeding trough for animals. We can be confident that God Almighty, the Holy One of Israel, desires our poverty. He doesn’t wait for us to be perfect and all cleaned up. No, we must welcome Him in our poverty. The Light of the World came into the darkness of the night. He is not afraid of the dark. He is not afraid of our darkness! This is where He wants to be born – in the rough, crude, cold and smelly places in our hearts – to make them new.

Only when we are poor, humble, meek, completely empty and dependent, relying on God’s utter providence, can we be truly ready to receive our Newborn King.

For the consecrated religious, this is particularly poignant. In professing a vow of poverty, a religious empties herself to be filled by Christ. Our constitutions state, “Through the vow of poverty the Sisters commit themselves totally to Divine Providence to let nothing stand in the way of abandoning themselves into the hands of Almighty God.”

We remember the poetic prophesies we heard all through Advent – “and on that day….  He changes desert into springs…” “and on that day… the desert and parched land will rejoice… Fear not, O Zion, He will rejoice over you with gladness and renew you in His love.” Yes, and on that day, our poverty becomes a gift.

This is “that” day. May we give Him the gift of our poverty this Christmas that He may renew us in His love.

Lo, He comes – a helpless baby. Vulnerable and small. Completely dependent. King of all the ages! Here is our God. May we truly be “ready” to welcome Him.

A blessed Christmas to you and your families. Know of our daily prayers for you.

In Him,

Sr. Grace Dominic

 

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