2 Thessalonians 3:6–18
Do not be weary in doing what is right. 2 Thessalonians 3:13
We live in challenging times and at such times it is tempting to focus only on our own personal relationship with God. I have recently been reading The Emergent Christ by Ilia Delio, a very challenging book on several levels. She writes that “If God is absent from the world, maybe it is because we refuse to give birth to God in our daily lives; we refuse to incarnate the Word, to make God come alive.”
During Advent we are challenged to stay awake, to be alert not just to the presence of God in our lives, but also to those times and places where God has called us to be Christ in the world, to be Christ’s hands and feet, to make a difference in the lives of others through our prayers, our loving presence, and our actions. We need to be willing to be open and vulnerable not just to the leading of the Spirit but also to the needs of others, rather than cocoon ourselves in our own little worlds. The purpose of prayer and of the Christian life is not to be comfortable; it is to be transformed — to open ourselves to God’s transforming love. As we know, being transformed (whether inwardly or outwardly) is neither easy nor comfortable. Ilia Delio suggests that we need to be in the business of “whole-making” as Jesus was, seeking to bring peace and understanding and reconciliation to our broken world, to practise forgiveness, and to let go of our own anger and resentment. Several years ago three phrases came to me during my walking meditation: loving intent — deep listening — compassionate action. As I meditated on these phrases, I came to see them as the essence of prayer and of the Christian life. Loving intent and deep listening are not enough; we must respond with compassionate action.
–– Sr. Elizabeth Rolfe-Thomas, SSJD