Chapter Talk – Second Sunday of Advent – December 5, 2021, cycle-C
There is a ‘voice’…do you hear it? A voice that is crying out in the center of our longing. What is that voice saying that cries out, that yearns for our attention, that yearns for us to open our hearts even more now as we await the manifestation of God’s ‘new gesture of love’. Is this something that you need…that I need? Absolutely.
Here is what Guerric of Igny writing in the twelfth century says in an Advent sermon: “Let us hear what the Voice of the Word calls to us, so that we may progress from the Voice to the Word. ‘Prepare the way of the Lord,’ he says, ‘make straight his paths’ [cf. Isa 40:3]. They prepare the way who amend their lives; they make straight the paths who direct their footsteps along the narrow way. An amended life is certainly the straight road by which the Lord, who in this very conversion is already there before us, may come to us” (quoted in Give Us This Day, December 2021, p.61). Hold this thought: ‘the Lord who in this very conversion is already before us’, waiting to come to us…waiting to grace us with the needed change.
How does a voice become a word? How do we progress from the Voice to the Word? How does the Word become part of our flesh, our very lives? A voice is crying out in the wilderness of our souls…the ‘word’ of this voice is ‘repent’, turn away from your selfish ways, let go of your hopeless attitude, die to your fears that freeze you from receiving the pregnant seeds of life that God is offering. There is something deeper happening within us…the Divine stirrings are crying out…Where are we? Are we caught more on the surface of our lives by other voices that pull us away from the Divine Voice, which is deeper than deep within us? Pope Francis in hisAngelus talk given three years ago hits the ‘nail on the head’ in these words: “Today, the Second Sunday of Advent, we are shown how to give substance to this anticipation: by undertaking a journey of conversion, how to make this anticipation concrete” (December 9, 2018). This is the fruit of ‘conversion’: our anticipation is made concrete, the Voice progresses to the Word, and to the Word made flesh.
Pope Francis then ends his talk by leaving us with a question: “How can I change something in my attitude, in order to prepare the way of the Lord?” In the question that the Pope leaves us with, ‘conversion’ is aligned with changing ‘something in my attitude’. Let us take this as the inner work and self-knowledge needed to prepare the way of the Lord. In the first place, to have simple awareness of my attitude. Is it negative, fear oriented, dark with hopelessness, reactionary towards others and situations? Then, to pray the grace of conversion, to place our faith more in God than in these voices that the ego never lacks in spewing forth!! The God of love will not abandon us…yes, there are struggles…but grace is never lacking. And the One who is “the fullness of grace and truth” is coming.
God utters himself in the Word. Let us, then, prepare the way to receive God’s unimaginable gift of the Divine-self given to us in the Word that is becoming more flesh of our flesh.
Sr. Kathy DeVico, Abbess