St. Teresa of Calcutta (Mother Teresa) once said of the Advent season, “Advent is the season of the seed: Christ loved this symbol of the seed...Advent, the seed of the world's life, was hidden in Our Lady: Advent is the season of the secret, the secret of the growth of Christ, of Divine Love growing in silence. It is the season of humility, silence, and growth. For nine months Christ grew in His Mother's body. By His own will she formed Him from herself, from the simplicity of her daily life. She had nothing to give Him but herself. He asked for nothing else. She gave Him herself. Working, eating, sleeping, she was forming His body from hers. His flesh and blood. From her humanity she gave Him His humanity. Walking in the streets of Nazareth to do her shopping, to visit her friends, she set His feet on the path of Jerusalem. Washing, weaving, kneading, sweeping, her hands prepared His hands for the nails. Every beat of her heart gave Him His heart to love with, His heart to be broken by love.”
When I came across this quote, I was moved to think about the importance of taking time to ensure that Christ grows in our heart. Often, we fall into the fallacy of thinking that becoming a Catholic is an instantaneous moment or a passive event. I just simply receive Baptism, and now I am a full-formed Catholic. However, the lived reality is that we must foster the growth of Jesus in our own soul. Mary was one who centered her entire life around Jesus, from the moment that he was conceived in her womb. As St. Teresa said, “every beat of her heart” was filled with love for her son, Jesus. And so, just as Mary actively centered her life around Jesus, so too, we are called to imitate her example and have Christ grow in our hearts. This season of Advent offers us a perfect time to do just that.
Advent is a season of anticipation, but not only a passive anticipation. Rather, it ought to be an active participation. Just as with the arrival of a child, there is the active anticipation that any parents will do, making the house ready, preparing a room, purchasing the baby clothing, so too we ought to be active in our anticipation of Christ in our lives. We need to “till the soil” of our hearts by more actively seeking Jesus in our lives. Create that “room” where Jesus will reside in our hearts.
This Advent, let us follow the example of the Blessed Virgin Mary and actively anticipate the arrival of Jesus with every beat of our hearts.
ay God bless you this Gaudete Sunday.