Help in these dark days….
Thoughts to help you realize Christ’s devotion to you!
And Moses told them, “It is the food the LORD has given you to eat. 16 These are the LORD’s instructions: Each household should gather as much as it needs. Pick up two quarts* for each person in your tent.”
17 So the people of Israel did as they were told. Some gathered a lot, some only a little. 18 But when they measured it out,* everyone had just enough. Those who gathered a lot had nothing left over, and those who gathered only a little had enough. Each family had just what it needed.
19 Then Moses told them, “Do not keep any of it until morning.” 20 But some of them didn’t listen and kept some of it until morning. But by then it was full of maggots and had a terrible smell. Moses was very angry with them. Exodus 16:15-20 new living translation
The entire scope of the mystery of Christ is experienced at ever-deepening levels of assimilation as we celebrate the liturgical seasons.… We are invited … to relate to Christ on every level of his being as well as our own. This developing relationship with Christ is the main thrust of the liturgical seasons.… The transmission of this personal relationship with Christ—and through him with the Father—is what Paul calls the Mysterion, the Greek word for mystery or sacrament, an external sign that contains and communicates sacred Reality. The liturgy teaches and empowers us, as we celebrate the mysteries of Christ, to perceive them not only as historical events, but as manifestations of Christ here and now. Through this living contact with Christ, we become icons of Christ, that is, manifestations of the Gospel in … daily life.
I look at the manna provided, day by day, to the people of Israel and I see a test I would fail, and fail at miserably.
Starving, and food appears, and my instinct would be to gather as much as I could – enough for the weeks and even a month ahead…. because what happens if it stops appearing? What happens when God doesn’t provide as he did on Sunday… what happens when the well is dried up… and not only the people I am responsible for, but me, face the test of trusting God for tomorrow?
Having been put in that place many times, and even in some recent situations, I know I will fail to trust God for tomorrow. Heck, I am having a struggle trusting Him today…
In this the season where darkness lasts longer each day, and where that darkness seems darker and colder, trusting God for eternal life is hard, because trusting Him for tomorrow seems impossible. So we sin by trying to grab upp more than He has promised to provide.
That is where the liturgy, and the church seasons have lent their support in the past, and still do, even in the darkness of today.
Because the liturgy is drawn from scripture, because it works through the life of Christ, from being an anticipated promise, to being born and dwelling among us, to dieing and rising, ascending and reigning, the movements mirror our own lives- including this darkness of the fall, and the depth of the winter’s depression. THe church year in its readings reinfroces this movement, and recognizes in Advent the darkness before the arrival of Christ.
A darkness where hope needs to be realized, a darkness needed to be shattered, andour being sustained by God’s providence until it is shattered. ANd the liturgy and the church year provide a reminder that it has been shattered… and that God is with us, in Advent and Easter, in the darkness and the new life. And as we walk with Him, as we realize His presence, we become icons, reflecting His glory.
In the midst of the heartache and pain, the loneliness and isolation, the season of Advent gives us a chance to breathe…. to look around… to hear God saying, I am here today…. walk with me now… and don’t worry about tomorrow…
and someday. we will be in the land of promise… Home with Him…
Lord, help us in the dark times of life to shed our anxiety, our heartache, and simply rely on what you provide in this moment, and in the word and sacrament that pours out Your grace. Help our faith, our dependence on You, grow in these times… that we may know You are here… AMEN!
Thomas Keating, The Daily Reader for Contemplative Living: Excerpts from the Works of Father Thomas Keating, O.C.S.O., Sacred Scripture, and Other Spiritual Writings, ed. S. Stephanie Iachetta (New York; London; New Delhi; Sydney: Bloomsbury, 2009), 341.