One Minute Reflection – 9 December – ‘ … Do not despair then, persevere, happy soul, …’

One Minute Reflection – 9 December – Thursday of the Second week of Advent, Readings: Isaiah 48:17-19; Psalm 1:1-4 and 6; Matthew 11:11`-15

From the days of John the Baptist until now, the kingdom of heaven suffers violence …” – Matthew 11:12

REFLECTION – “Someone wrestled with Jacob until morning perseveringly … and Jacob said to him: “I will not let you go unless you bless me” (Gn 32:25.27). … So to you, my brethren, we say, you whose set purpose is to win heaven by force, you who have come together to wrestle with the angel who guards the way to the tree of life, to you we say – it is wholly necessary that you should wrestle perseveringly and without remission, not only until the thigh … is deprived of its vigour but also, until the body is mortified. But your toil will be able to achieve this, only by the touch of God’s strength and through His bounty. …

Do you not seem, to yourself ,to be wrestling with an angel, or rather, with God Himself, when day by day He resists your impatient prayers? … You cry to Him and He does not listen to you; you wish to approach Him and He repels you. You make a decision and the opposite happens and so, in every way, He sets Himself against you, with an unrelenting hand. O Mercy, You conceal Yourself and pretend to be unrelenting! With what loving-kindness You fight against those, for whom You fight. For although You “hide these things in your heart,” I know that You “love those who love you” and that, “the abundance of your sweetness which you hide away for those who fear you is immense” (Jb 10:13; Pr 8:17; Ps 31[30]:20).

Do not despair then, persevere, happy soul, who has begun to wrestle with God; He loves to suffer violence from you. He desires to be overcome by you. For when He is angry and stretches forth His Hand to strike, He seeks, as He Himself confesses, a man like Moses to resist Him. … For if His anger is implacable and His sentence unbending, Jeremiah, who had attempted to resist, will weep and say: “You were the stronger and did prevail” (20:7).” Blessed Guerric of Igny (c 1080-1157) Cistercian Abbot (2nd Sermon on Saint John the Baptist).

PRAYER – Almighty and merciful God, let neither our daily work nor the cares of this life, prevent us from hastening to meet Your Son. Lord, make straight the winding ways within us. Draw us to repent! Enlighten us with Your wisdom and lead us into His company, that we may love Him and do homage to Him. By the prayers of the Immaculate Mother of Your only-begotten Son, may we receive Your grace and Your strength. We make our prayer through Christ our Lord, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, now and for all eternity. Amen