Monday, November 28, 2011

Advent: Freedom, Self-Giving, Forgiveness

At the beginning of this Advent season, I pray that many will come to discover the love of God, and experience the true freedom that this love gives to their minds and hearts. May the God who gives us everything, in every moment, be recognized and loved in that wonderful expression of freedom called gratitude. This is not slavish fear, but the freedom that answers Love with love. Gratitude consciously receives with awe and wonder the gift of God that is nothing less than Himself, and in that receptivity is empowered to respond with the gift of one's own love, one's own self.

Come, O Lord. Be with us. Let us experience Your Love in our poor, bewildered human lives. Let us find strength in the presence of that Love, the strength that makes us free to open up and give ourselves. May we discover the fulfillment of our freedom in this gift. Lord, let us especially know Your Mercy, for we are awkward in the giving of ourselves, and sometimes we fall into doubt and fear because we forget that we are loved by You. Let us be rooted in Your Mercy, and find there the courage to ask for and receive forgiveness. Enable us to offer ourselves each day, and not succumb to the great temptation to give up in the face of our failures and sins. Have Mercy on us, forgive us, raise us up, strengthen us to continue on the path of loving You and loving others. Save us from our awkwardness and our weakness; do not let it be a scandal to us. Let it rather be an occasion for greater trust in Your Merciful Love, which is the Source of all that we are, and have, and do. You who have given us our freedom, and who sustain it within us, want so ardently to bring it to fulfillment in love, according to Your wisdom. Preserve us from turning away from You. Draw our hearts to you, convert us and bring us Your healing. Give us trust in You. Come, O Lord. Be with us.