Immersed in Christ: December 24, 2020
Thursday in the Fourth Week of Advent
Both readings and the verses of the Responsorial Psalm are proclaiming the goodness of the Lord, with an emphasis on his “steadfast love.” In 2Samuel 7: 1-16 God reminds David, “I have been with you wherever you went.” And he promises to continue:
I will make for you a great name.... and I will give you rest from all your enemies.... make you a house.... raise up your offspring after you... and I will establish his kingdom.... forever....I will not take my steadfast love from him.
Psalm 89 echoes this:
I will sing of your steadfast love, O LORD, forever; with my mouth I will proclaim your faithfulness to all generations.... You said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one.... My faithfulness and steadfast love shall be with him.... He shall cry to me, ‘You are my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation!’”
All of this is about awareness. It is not enough for God to be good, and for us to know he is good. We have to keep ourselves aware that he is good. And aware of just how good he is. This is an essential if we want to live an intentional, growth-oriented spiritual life. It is the first phase of growth into the “perfection of love.”
Awareness expresses itself, preserves and perpetuates itself, in praise. We should insist on it: Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
The Church recognizes in the fourth Preface for weekdays:
You have no need of our praise, yet our desire to thank you is itself your gift. Our prayer of thanksgiving adds nothing to your greatness, but makes us grow in your grace.
God is always aware of his goodness. For us to be aware of it too is the first step toward union with God in love, the first phase of spiritual growth. Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.
Zachariah’s canticle in Luke 1: 67-79, known as the Benedictus, is so filled with rich memories that it has become the climax of the official morning prayer of the Church.
Blessed be the Lord... he has visited his people... ransomed them...raised up a mighty savior.... shown the mercy he promised... remembered his holy covenant, the oath he swore... that we, rid of fear and rescued from our enemies, might serve him in holiness and righteousness all our days....
Memories segue into prophecy. Zachary is speaking to and of us all as he says:
And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High...you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give to his people a knowledge of salvation in freedom from their sins.
Do we believe this? Are we aware of it all day? If so, why have we not yet brought the whole world to Christ? How could anyone be indifferent to the Good News unless those who have heard it are? But if we just keep aware of it...
By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.
We end Advent exclaiming, “Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord.”
Initiative: Give God thanks and praise constantly, to keep yourself aware.