“May it be done to me according to Your Word.”
These words spoken by the Virgin are forever an example of our response to Jesus as well. And especially during these last couple days of this holy season, we have an opportunity to pray that. As we get ready to celebrate this wondrous feast of the Incarnation, a simple way to prepare if we haven’t done anything else or if we have done a lot else, is every day between now and Christmas to simply say to Jesus, “May it be done to me according to Your Word.” To take just a couple minutes and give Him that opportunity to open our hearts a little more deeply to the wonder of what we’re about to celebrate.
We don’t have Gabriel at our side reminding us that this is a good thing. In fact during this season because of what’s kind of happened to it for Christians, this tends to be such an incredibly busy season that we’re lucky if we get any time to pray at all, let alone to add some extra prayer to prepare for a Feast of this magnitude. And it’s not that the things being done are necessarily bad, I mean, preparing for family and friends, and preparing food and gifts and all that kind of thing, those are good things in themselves.
But sometimes in our life the good is the enemy of the best. And we need to make sure that in the midst of all the good things we’re doing we don’t lose sight of Jesus Himself. That we take a little time even if it’s just a little time to simply say, “Lord, it’s a big day coming, please open my heart. Prepare my heart for the gift of Your Grace, as we approach this holy season.”
It’s also good for us to remember though, that the devil hates Christmas almost as much as he hates Easter. And it’s not uncommon for us to experience a lot of spiritual warfare, especially during this time right now, as the devil does everything he can to try to beat us up so that we’re in the worst shape possible when the great Feast finally arrives. We’ve referred to that before as the ‘pre-blessing blitz’.
And so to take a little extra time even in the morning to simply ask our guardians for a little extra protection, that we would be just a little more sensitive to the presence of Jesus, that the things that the devil is tossing to us to set us off we would resist a little more, so that he would not have his way with us, but that we would try to keep our hearts at least in some modicum of serenity as we approach this great Feast. And if we say yes to the Lord Jesus, and plead with Him, He will do little things that will take care of us and bring us a little closer.
This week has been a hellacious week for me just in the sense that six consecutive penance services in a row are enough to just kind of deep-fry me. In fact on Thursday, somebody came up to me, this was after five of the six penance services, someone came up and they just asked for a simple blessing and I just automatically went into the absolution. And got about half way through it and suddenly realized what I was doing and had to do kind of an abrupt about-face, “God the Father of mercies, through the death and resurrection of His Son- Who really loves you and blesses you right now, in the name of ”--so!
Thursday night I was at St. Francis for the penance service, and I had decided before that I wanted to go to confession on Thursday night, so- unfortunately I was like the last priest finished, everybody else was done and they were all leaving. And so I really wanted to go to confession and I just prayed you know as I was hearing the confession of the last person, and as I was getting ready to absolve her, and I saw the last priest leave and I just prayed, “Jesus, please stop that guy”. And he stepped into the pew and sat down and was praying, and so when I finished the confession I went up to him and I said, “Would you hear my confession?” And he said, “Yes, because Jesus told me you wanted to go and to wait until you came up to go to confession.” The Nazarene scores!
If we give Him a chance and during this time especially when lots of crazy things happen, one of the things that we can ask Jesus is to do is to protect our sense of humor so that we can just maintain some kind of interior serenity during all this. Last night I went to two wonderful Advent celebrations and got home about in the morning, and discovered that I had locked myself out of my room upstairs. I could get into the house, but I couldn’t get upstairs to where I live. And so it’s now in the morning, and I’m thinking okay what do I do? I went to the key drawer, no- did I have spare keys in the parish key drawer? –Noo. So I thought, well I could get a sledge hammer; I could smash down the door, I could – I’m trying to figure out what to do, and I realize that there’s access to the attic through my bedroom and through the other side of the house. So it’s about this big __. It was like - I think they described it like- sucking an olive through a straw!
So I get up in the attic, and I’m crawling all over in the attic, and of course when they put in the new dormer, the attics don’t connect. And so I’m finding a variety of nests and things, but no way to get through. So finally I come down. And I didn’t want to go up into the attic with my clerical blacks on because it really is a mess up there, so I’d gone to the garage and put on this blazing yellow rain-suit I have for when I’m on my cycle and it rains. So, I get back to the garage, and I’m thinking, now what am I going to do? And then I remember that I had left my bathroom window slightly cracked, which meant it was open. So now I’m running around trying to get ladders. I find a ladder to get into the second floor window, while I’m wearing this blazed yellow outfit. It’s now in the morning. I manage to climb up, and I had to like just smash through the screen - oh well, and then push the window open. I get mostly in, and now I’m kind of stuck. And you know this- what I really prayed at that moment was that there wasn’t any poor person walking by on the way to the Eucharistic chapel, because I thought, this is a visual image you do not need to bring before the Blessed Sacrament.
So I finally manage to like pull my way through, and to kind of cartwheel into my bathroom, and lay on the floor there, just – roaring with laughter. Thanks be to God! Um, finally got to bed. And then just you know, woke up and just laughed. But, it’s like you have to because otherwise you could just go crazy because there’s always so much other stuff going on, that if we don’t maintain some kind of semblance of humor, we will go nuts. And we’re like most of the way there anyway, and so this keeps us from just stepping over the edge all the way. To plead with Jesus so that even in the midst of situations that are phenomenally unpleasant, He’s still there. And during these last couple of days, He will build in little opportunities for us to experience His love and His grace in a way that prepares us for the wonder of the Mass of Christ, if we just let Him.
So let us plead with Him tonight for that. So whether we’ve done a lot of things, or very few things during this Advent to prepare, we take advantage of these last couple days and we echo Mary’s prayer, “May it be done to me according to Your Word”, that each of us would experience something new, something deeper, something more grace-filled in our life with Jesus as we celebrate the gift of His birth.
Fr. Ed Fride, Christ
the King Parish,