"Then I looked, and there was the Lamb, standing on Mount Zion! And with him were one hundred forty-four thousand who had his name and his Father's name written on their foreheads" (Revelation 14:1).
The one hundred forty-four thousand standing on Mount Zion...
A new song only they could sing...
The wedding of the Lamb. The heavenly Jerusalem...
To be honest, these are not my "everyday" thoughts. Yet this is who I am, who we are.
Politics, problems, and plans seem more real, more in the moment, more "us" who have to make our way on the face of this earth in the journey called life. We have been tricked into thinking that the visible is more real, more true than the spiritual realities we can't see. What a mistake we've made.
A friend of mine who has since gone to heaven is a guide for me. We used to get all worked up about everyday situations, upset about the ramifications of present choices on future possibilities. Now I feel her near me with a great smile saying, "If only you could see it here. This is what is real. God is real and God's providence is real. It's going to be okay." She reminds me that to become God's own, to be united to the Unutterable, I must make the leap out of myself (and what I think I know) into the Silence where I no longer call the shots. To that place where I am overwhelmed by the Mystery that works out plans that surprise even as they twist their way through every kind of confusion and trouble.
We stand at the beginning of the month of November. In the next two months many liturgical feasts will seek to remind us again this year who we truly are. The readings at Mass during this month focus on the final judgment...on a reminder of what in the end is important. St. John of the Cross reminds us in spiritual shorthand, "In the evening of life I will be judged on LOVE."
Advent hones our inner vision to see through the "winter" darkness with the faith that God's Day has irreversibly begun with the Incarnation of his Son.
December 8th, Feast of the Immaculate Conception, lets us find in Mary the most pure Virgin, our elder sister who has lived as handmaid and creature, allowing God in his providence to do with her as he desires...the secret of true holiness and authentic humanity.
December 12th, Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Mother who appears to Juan Diego in Mexico to comfort and console and protect us, assuring us of her motherly love: “Hear me and understand well, my son the least," she told Juan Diego when his uncle was ill, "hear me and understand that nothing should frighten or grieve you. Let not your heart be disturbed. Do not fear that sickness, nor any other sickness or anguish. Am I not here, who is your Mother? Are you not under my protection? Am I not your health? Are you not happily within my fold? What else do you wish? Do not grieve nor be disturbed by anything. Do not be afflicted by the illness of your uncle, who will not die now of it. be assured that he is now cured.”
December 25th, Nativity of our Lord, God who left behind his home in heaven to enter our home, walk our roads, experience our pain and even our death so that we might walk the roads of the new Jerusalem and stand even today among the 144,000 who worship the Lamb.
January 1st, Feast of Mary Mother of God and the beginning of the New Year. As baptized followers of Jesus we worship him as God among us, with us, for us, in us, and through us present to all others who dwell in the world. A time to set out anew after the renewal of the Advent-Christmas season, certain of the wisdom of the mysterious ways in which God directs our lives.
So I wish you many blessings in these last two months of the year. Enjoy, but don't get too worked up about the gifts, the parties and decorations. Let the Son of God tug at your heart, as he captivated the hearts of Mary and Joseph. Let the Child lead you on his Way!
Sr. Kathryn James Hermes, FSP