First Sunday of Advent (December 2, 2018)
In today’s Gospel, Jesus urges us to live a life of holiness so as to experience the glory of His coming. This calls for a conversion of our hearts. St. Francis de Sales notes:
As soon as some people see that you wish to lead a life of holiness, they might speak of your conversion as hypocrisy, bigotry, and trickery. They will say that the world has turned against you, and being rebuffed by it, you have turned to God. Your friends will tell you that you will become depressed, lose your reputation, be unbearable, and that your affairs at home will suffer. All this is mere foolishness. People spend hours in playing games and think nothing of it. Yet if you spend an hour in meditation or get up a little earlier than usual in the morning to pray, everyone thinks there is something the matter with you. So we must be firm in our resolution to live faithfully in God’s love.
When we first have a change of heart, things will seem a little strange, as they are new. When we see that the mountain of Christian perfection is very lofty, we tend to say “O God, how shall I be able to climb it?” Have courage. Such feelings will pass, and you will receive countless blessings.
We are like young bees who cannot yet fly out among the flowers, mountains, or nearby hills to gather honey. Little by little, by continuing to eat honey the older bees have prepared, the young bees develop wings and grow strong, so that later they fly all over the country in search of food. At first we cannot fly up high according to our plan, which is to be holy. But as our desires and resolutions begin to take form and our wings start to grow, we hope some day to be able to fly aloft. Let us follow the instructions of holy persons of past times, and pray to God to give us wings, not only to fly upward during the time of our present life but also to find repose in the eternity that is to come.
(Adapted from the Introduction to the Devout Life, St. Francis de Sales.)