Living the Gospel – December 1, 2019

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“Come, let us climb the LORD’s mountain,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
that he may instruct us in his ways,
and we may walk in his paths.”

Those of us who have climbed a mountain can probably identify with this description of the Way that has been so eloquently described in both the Hebrew and Christian scriptures. Most of us elders, of course, have learned that accepting instruction in the ways of God can be both comforting and difficult. To emphasize the challenge, those of us who have lived on a mountain know that some of the time the path to the top is clearly marked and smooth going; other times even a footpath can be hard to find.

Ordinary life brings additional problems: we’re instructed to be peacemakers, love our enemies, refuse to participate in behavior that will harm ourselves or others and give our lives to God to do with as God wishes. We pray to be transformed into the likeness of Christ. We understand that we’re made in the image of God, but it takes patience, forgiveness, humility and time to grow into His Likeness. In today’s worldview, God’s Way is ordinarily counter-cultural, and we need knowledge and strength to follow the Way to which we have dedicated ourselves.

Can we be certain that God will be with us on this journey? Certainly, God was with Joseph and Mary on the road to Bethlehem. Will hard times touch us with pain and fear? That’s what life brings to everyone. God gladly gives us strength for the journey and hope for the future. We understand from scripture, history and life experiences that there has always been incredible beauty along this road – even during the difficult times. The closer we get to our destination we will see it more easily.

During this Season of Advent, I hope that we can become more trusting and more at peace. Our journey towards the Celebration to honor the Christ who can be born anew within our own hearts can bring us great joy. Let us pray that we will again see God – and Life – with the trusting eyes of the infant Jesus.

Dorothy Hathway, OCDS, CSJA