The Fourth Saturday of Advent

Father,

you show the world the splendor of your glory in the coming of Christ, born of the Virgin.  Give to us true faith and love to celebrate the mystery of God made man.

We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Doesn’t this closing prayer from this morning’s Liturgy of the Hours sum up our feelings as we enter the final seven days of Advent?  We ask for true faith and love in the face of a world where faith and love are often ignored, or worse, ridiculed.

“This is the twenty-first century.  Forget faith.  We need proof.  How do you knot that this “Jesus” was really the Son of God?”

It’s like the old joke where the customer asks the salesman the price of a car and the salesman answers that if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.  In the same way, if you have to have scientific proof that Jesus is truly the Son of God, born of a Virgin on that first Christmas night, then you’ll never get it.

Thomas Merton wrote in No Man is an Island, that God never gives us the complete answer because, if He did, then faith would be impossible.  He gives us small glimpses of the truth, but added together they don’t equal the whole truth.  If they did, then there would be no faith.  And faith is what He asks of us to enter into His kingdom.

I discovered this passage of Merton’s at at time in my diaconal formation when I was seriously questioning if I was really called or not.  At that time in my life it was exactly what I needed to seal the deal.  I was looking for proof at a time when faith was what was needed.

And so we pray, “Father, Give to us true faith and love to celebrate the mystery of God made man.”

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