Sr. Margaret Dorgan's Weekly
This reflection appeared first in The Church World, the diocesan weekly of Maine.
© copyright 2004 by S. Margaret Dorgan, DCM
MAKE ROOM FOR JESUS
Advent prepared us for the coming of Jesus. We looked ahead to His first arrival in His birth at Bethlehem, and we also pondered His final appearance at the end of this world. Both of these comings are designated as a “fullness of time.” The years before them progress toward a particular climax.
But there are other comings of Christ that involve me directly as He approaches me in my own personal existence. He enters into my life, asking to be born in me. I can speak like the innkeeper, “There is no room in this inn.” The INN-er me has no space for the One Who asks for shelter.
Hopefully I will ponder this refusal and empty out the extraneous pile of things that occupy my thoughts and then make an interior cave where Jesus can come to new life in me. I stop to listen to angel voices rather than the strident secular voices always competing for my attention. If there is darkness within my spirit, I look for a star to point the way to my Savior, Who will show me how to deal with any shadows that encompass me. “Come, Lord Jesus,” I pray. God answers in words that ring with even greater force than they did for the prophet Malachi: “Shall I not open for you the floodgates of heaven to pour down blessings upon you without measure?”(3:10). A Savior from the tribe of Judah truly rains down on me a torrent of benedictions.
All of time from its beginning moved forward to Christ’s incarnation in a virgin mother’s womb. Fully human and fully divine, He came to dwell among us for thirty-three years. Now wholly present in the Eucharist, Jesus also extends His presence beyond the wonder of the Blessed Sacrament to live with each one of us in the earthly space we inhabit. Ever our companion, He makes use of our separate human natures to expand His kingdom in this day and age. The Good News has been delivered to us. “I have put My words into your mouth and shielded you in the shadow of My hand” (Is 51:16).
Each one of us was born to a mortal mother and reborn through our baptism in order to grow in a way that makes the Incarnation of Jesus visible again. The fourteenth century Augustian Blessed John Ruusbroeck wrote, “We should thank and praise God, for God has created us as rational beings and has ordained that heaven and earth and the angels should serve us….(God) became a human being, teaching us, living for us, and showing us the way. He served us in a humble form… and promised us His eternal kingdom, where He Himself will be our reward” ( The Spiritual Espousals , p. 79 in The Classics of Western Spirituality ).
Through the Incarnation, we have a Guide Who helps us advance on our mortal journey in holiness and truth. Every fresh rising of the sun brings the promise that Jesus will come forth anew in us, His life taking hold of our substance in a yet more profound way. Each son and daughter of human parents is called to walk a different path, laid out according to the individual vocation God gives.
We know the angels sang at Jesus’ birth and surely there were angelic songs when you were born. “A star danced, and under that star was I born,” Shakespeare has Beatrice say in Much Ado About Nothing . You were created to give glory to God in a wounded flesh that the Babe of Bethlehem was sent to redeem. Jesus became an infant as you were once and He experienced the stages of growth in a baby’s frail body.
Christ was clothed in weakness that He might partake of our infirmity and then empower us with grace. “That divine power of His has freely bestowed on us everything necessary for a life of genuine holiness, through knowledge of Him Who called us by His own glory and power” (2 Pt 1:3).
In celebrating the birthday of Jesus, be sure to celebrate your own which brought you to a world in need of your coming. For you are summoned to show forth in your life the radiance of Christ, especially where overcasting clouds prevail. Let your shining, which is like nobody else’s, add joy on Christmas Day. And on the days that follow.
Sister Margaret Dorgan, DCM
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