Immersed in Christ: December 23, 2020
Wednesday of the Fourth Week of Advent
Our King and our Law,
Long-awaited of the nations,
Savior of all, Come!
Set us free, Lord our God!
The key to Christianity is “God be with you.” Or, more accurately, “God with you.” But we need to understand the mystery of this. And stay aware of it. 1
The root mystery of Christianity is the union of the divine and human in God the Son made flesh in Jesus. We celebrate this at Christmas. Jesus is “Emmanuel,” which means “God with us.” Even children understand this.
We don’t always explain to children the deeper mystery: that by Baptism we were incorporated into Christ on the cross. We died in Christ, as members of his body, and rose in Christ to live now as his body on earth. We are “in Christ” and Christ is “in us.” We are true sons and daughters of God the Father because, and only because, having “become Christ,” we are in the Son. 2
Finally the mystery of the Good News was brought to completion by the sending of the Holy Spirit at Pentecost. Through this Gift, Jesus acts now, not only with us and in us, but through us. When we, enlightened and empowered by the Holy Spirit, think with the thoughts of Christ, speak with his words and act as his body on earth, the mystery of Christianity is made manifest to the world: God with us. “Emmanuel.”
Knowing this does not help much unless we keep ourselves aware of it. Only then will it enlighten our attitudes, empower our choices, and anoint all our actions with love. The first phase of growth in grace is awareness.
To foster this, form the habit of saying the WIT prayer all day long. When you wake, give your body to Christ as you did on the day of Baptism and say, “Lord, live this day with me, live this day in me, live this day through me.” WIT. Before everything you do, all day, say, “Lord, do this with me, do this in me, do this through me.” WIT. 3
Malachi 3: 1-24 and Luke 1: (16-17) 57-66 both speak of the “messenger” God will send to “prepare the way before me.” The messenger was Elijah, who “returned” in John the Baptizer, to “turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers.... to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” 4
The “messenger” today is us, and the One we announce is present in us. If that is not evident, our message is not credible. Christianity proclaims “God with us,” Jesus risen from the dead, living, acting and speaking in his body on earth, the Church. If we keep aware of this, we can proclaim it.
Initiative: Be conscious of Jesus as Emmanuel acting with you, in and through you.
1 “To say, ‘The Lord with you’ is to affirm the core of God’s Revelation: that God himself has covenanted to take up residence among his people. It is to renew, in hope and thanksgiving, the Covenant made through Moses.” Cardinal Jean-Marie Lustiger, La Messe, Bayard, 1988. 2 See Catechism of the Catholic Church. no. 795. 3 Read the classic work of Brother Lawrence, The Practice of the Presence of God, Institute of Carmelite Studies, Washington, D.C., 1994. 4 See Matthew 11;14; 17:12.