December 1998In the morning, we shall see God's glory.


Some years ago, our monastery put out a Christmas mailing featuring the theme of "Ask for a Christmas heart." The quote went on to describe what a Christmas heart might be.

It seems that one way of describing a Christmas heart would be to say that it is a heart ever open to the coming of God. This gives birth to other probing questions such as, "How do I most desire to experience the coming of God this Christmas, and how does God wish to come to me?" Are these one and the same?

I asked various people just how they most desired to experience the coming of God this Christmas. Here are some of their responses:

1. I wish to be totally changed, totally different from what I seem to be now. I wish to receive the complement of what I have experienced myself to be so far.

2. I ask that God will come as my felt life vision, a vision that will give my life meaning and purpose.

3. I ask that I may be a more effective community member, with spontaneous positive responses.

4. I desire to experience the coming of God as compassion, a compassion I first experience and then pass on.

5. I ask to be illuminated from the inside out, illuminated because of having been in contact with the depths of the Mystery of God.

In reflecting on these responses, I was struck by the fact that people were quietly, somewhat radiantly eager, to ponder the question of how they most wanted to experience the coming of God this Christmas.

Even though God continually comes, we cannot force the manner in which God may choose to come. We can only desire and yearn for this coming and hope that we recognize the ephiphany when it happens. It would appear that the color and the nature of our prayer has been inspired by God also, and thus is a prior gift.

Perhaps during this Christmas time, we should make a point of being alone and quiet from time to time, so that these promptings may surface within us. As we reflect on our life situations, let us accept our human reality in all its forms. Let us "peek under the edges of the ordinary", knowing that this is where God chooses to come to us, and where, at times, God embraces us. In prayer, let us say again and again how we want God to come to us. With great yearning, let us pray it the way we would a mantra. Let it be a new form of Maranatha. Come, Desire of my heart. Enter and make me beautiful within!

By: Sister Mary Jo Loebig


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