3rd Sunday of Advent, 11 Dec 2016

From the Dean’s Desk

This season of Advent is one that calls us to prepare for and to await the coming of Jesus at Christmas.  It urges us to ensure that we make a place for God during this time of preparation, so that God remains with us throughout the entire year and not just at Christmas. It can be  difficult for us to give time to God in the busyness of our lives and commitments, but it is  essential that we do, otherwise our lives and our destinies are indeed at a loss.

I would like to share with you an excerpt taken from the Office of Readings for Friday of the First Week of Advent.  It is written by St Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109), a monk, from his work called the Proslogion.  It becomes a tremendous prayer and challenge for us as we continue in our Advent  preparation.

Flee your preoccupations for a little while. Hide yourself for a time from your turbulent thoughts. Cast aside, now, your heavy responsibilities and put off your burdensome business. Make a little space free for God; and rest for a little time in him.

Enter the inner chamber of your mind; shut out all thoughts. Keep only thoughts of God, and thoughts that can aid you in seeking him. Close your door and seek him. Speak now, my whole heart! Speak now to God, saying, I seek your face; your face, Lord, will I seek.

And come you now, O Lord my God, teach my heart where and how it may seek you, where and how it may find you. I am breathless with desire to see you, and your face is too far from me. I long to come to you, and your dwelling-place is inaccessible. I am eager to find you, but do not know where. I desire to seek you, and do not know your face.

Lord, you are my God, and you are my Lord, and never have I seen you. You have made me and renewed me, you have given me all the good things that I have, and I have not yet met you. I was created to see you, and I have not yet done the thing for which I was made.  Look upon us, Lord; hear us, enlighten us, reveal yourself to us. Restore yourself to us, that it may be well with us, yourself, without whom it is so ill with us. Pity our toilings and strivings toward you since we can do nothing without you.
Teach me to seek you, and reveal yourself to me when I seek you, for I cannot seek you unless you teach me, nor find you unless you reveal yourself. Let me seek you in longing, let me long for you in seeking; let me find you by loving you and love you in the act of finding you.

This prayer echoes our desire to recognise and be more aware of God’s presence in our lives.  In many ways it highlights the plight of the imprisoned John the Baptist, who we encounter in this Sunday’s Gospel [Matthew 11:211].  John asks his disciples to find out whether this person Jesus of Nazareth is ‘the one who is to come, or have we to wait for someone else’ [Matt 11:3].  At times, like John when we experience moments of doubt – the ‘distance of God’- we too may question God’s presence and intentions.  We can take as our motto for this coming week Jesus’ reply to John’s disciples: ‘happy the one who does not lose faith in me’ [Matt 11:6].  May God continue to reveal himself to us in this coming week in the events of our lives.

Fr Robert Bossini
Dean and Parish Priest