The pressure is on. When am I going to write all those cards? Have I accidentally left off anyone from the Christmas present list? Will I cope this year with the family coming for Christmas dinner? Will I be celebrating alone? Let us leave those anxieties and worries aside for a while. We need to make space for Jesus in our heart. The cry of John the Baptist is “In the wilderness prepare a way.” Mountains and valleys can make our journey awkward and slow. They are barriers that need to be overcome. How do we prepare a way that is straight and smooth this Advent so that we can welcome Christ with great joy into our lives and hearts? As Fr Sylvester Flynn* suggests we need to have a look at our lives or to examine our conscience. What are the paths we need to straighten? Are there attitudes or behaviour that have deviated me from loving God? Are there times when I have allowed anger or resentment blind me to the way of love? The valleys to be filled in are the times when I have wandered from a sense of God’s presence or enthusiasm for God’s work was low. The mountains to be laid low are the obstacles which I imagine to be insurmountable because I have forgotten to trust in God; or the hills to be levelled can be the areas of pride where, because I am good at something, to look down on others in judgement. The winding ways can represent the delaying tactics I employed on my journey back to God. Do I delay, postpone, procrastinate.? Do I say: “tomorrow, Lord”? How do we make the rough ways smooth? We need to acknowledge the jagged edges of our personalities which irritate others or rub them up the wrong way. It could be my insensitivities, my lack of generosity, my unwillingness to compromise or my attempts to dominate others in subtle ways. This coming Tuesday at 7;30pm we have an Advent Penitential Service with an opportunity to go to sacramental confession. The Lord waits for my return. I will receive him a welcome guest into my heart.
* “Good News of Luke’s Gospel”