Sunday, December 10, 2006

Advent II... Back from Retreat, I Begin Again

I'm back from my Advent Retreat at Our Lady of Spring Bank Abbey (Cistercian) near Sparta, WI. It's too soon to blog about content and results, although suffice it to say now that it was a very blessed time.

However, God has a great sense of humor. This commentary on Sunday's Gospel reading from a Cistercian came my way via e mail while I was gone. And to add even more fun, Blessed Guerric's memorial was celebrated while I was the Abbey.

I really like Guerric's emphasis on beginning again each day. Can we do that this Advent season?

Blessed Guerric of Igny (around 1080 – 1157), Cistercian abbot Sermon 5 for Advent

“Make straight the Lord’s path”
“Prepare the way of the Lord.”

Brothers, even if you have advanced greatly on this way, you still have to
prepare it, so that from the point where you have already arrived, you might
always go forward, always stretched out towards what is beyond. Thus, since the
way has been prepared for his coming, with every step that you take, the Lord
will come to meet you, always new, always greater. So the righteous person is
right to pray thus: “Instruct me, O Lord, in the way of your statutes, that I
may exactly observe them.” (Ps 119:33) And this way is called “the path of
eternity” (Ps 139:24) … because the goodness of him towards whom we are
advancing is unlimited.

That is why the wise and determined traveler, even though
he has arrived at the goal, will think of beginning.

Giving no thought to what lies behind,” (Phil 3:13), he will tell himself every day: “Now I begin (Ps 76:11 Vulgata) …

May it please heaven that we who talk about advancing on this
path might at least have set out! To my understanding, whoever has set out is
already on the good way. However, we must really begin, find “the way to an
inhabited city” (Ps 107:4). For Truth says: “How few there are who find it!” (Mt
7:14) And many are those “who go astray in the desert.” (Ps 107:4) …And you,
Lord, have prepared a path for us, if we only agree to go on it… Through your
Law, you have taught us the path of your will by saying: “This is the way; walk
in it, when you would turn to the right or to the left.” (Isa 30:21) It is the
path that the prophet had promised: “A highway will be there… No fools go astray
on it.” (Isa 35:8)… I have never seen a fool going astray when following your
path, Lord… But woe to you who are wise in your own sight (Isa 5:21). Your
wisdom has taken you away from the path of salvation and has not allowed you to
follow the Savior’s folly… A desirable folly, which at the time of God’s
judgment will be called wisdom and which does not let us go astray, away from
his path.

Amen, Come Lord Jesus, and help us begin again today.

1 comment:

Antony said...

Amen. Good stuff. Thanks once again Phil for what you share here.