Saturday, December 10, 2011

Waiting For New Life

Come O long- awaited One

I saw a young woman kneeling in front of the Blessed Sacrament, as her husband sat nearby. Late into the night she stayed on her knees; she seemed to have much to pray about. Perhaps it was to give praise and thanksgiving; certainly that should have been her first prayer. (It should be our first also.) But I felt I had seen the couple at mass one day, alone, in my parish where so many couples are blessed with large families, and I had a feeling that this night, this Advent night, her thoughts might not have been on Jesus’ coming, but on her own waiting for a child, another one long awaited and desired. And so she knelt in peace and quiet, before her God.

I had thoughts recently on the fears that many of us are facing; our lives are so often full of trials, and we worry about our unknown futures, and fearing the worst. But if we have faith, I reflected, our God can overcome our worst fears. He really and truly is a God who loves us, and that is where our faith must be, trusting in that love, and knowing that because He loves us He will do everything in His power to care for us. “Doing everything in His power” --- and who may I ask is more powerful? We really should laugh at our worries about the future and what WE must do about it. What we should DO is have faith, because Our Father will provide for His children, whom He loves. He said so.

Still … we can have faith and yet pray about the future. We have a free will. I think a good prayer is that we use that free will and talents given us to help bring about a future He would desire, one good for us and others --- although not necessarily the one we would think to pray for. Not my will, but Thy will be done. And to strengthen our faith in the future, a good future, we can look back on all the good that God has done in the past for us and others, to see proofs of His love.

I hope the childless couple can find faith there: He long ago promised to Abram that his family would be as numberless as the stars --- surely there is room for one more, for this couple, if it is His will. He once promised a nation that a messiah would come to fulfill all their dreams, and He did come, and He gave them more than they could ever have dreamed of. They waited and trusted in His coming for a long time, and He did come.

We wait for many dreams, each of us. Some dreams are for good things, the blessings which God has promised to those who love Him: sons and daughters, peace, healing, love, or even just a calming of our fears. These are things we can want and pray about, and can expect that our prayers will be answered, in accordance with His will. We need not worry. And for those who pray about our Church, our country, and our world, He also promised justice --- and mercy. These too are good things to pray for.

One thing which we sometimes pray for, however, is not a good thing. We pray for things to remain as they are, or to revert to as they were, but often the answer to our prayer entails change, the beginning of a new phase in our life, and not a continuation of the old. And change is hard to accept. Our prayers are answered, but not as we expected and so we don’t see the new life of promise in answer to our prayers. Remember the Jews, who prayed for and expected a Messiah-conquerer. He did come as was promised, however He came not to conquer their enemies, but their hearts. And many found they couldn’t accept this answer to their prayers. Their long awaited new life came, and they did not recognize it, or Him.

However bad we may think our life is now, however long we think we’ve been waiting for it to get better (or be as good as it once was), we need to have faith that God will bring us a new life, one happier than this. And not one to just answer our immediate prayers and needs, just one child or a temporary healing or a period of peace, but an eternally happy life, measured in love. We can be confident of that because of His love, it has already started. Our God came down to earth, to show us how much He loves us. And even the angels proclaimed the result: “Peace on earth to men of good will.”

Pray for better times? Much of what we desire is already here. All we need pray for is our awareness and participation and thanksgiving as it unfolds in each of our lives. Waiting for a new life? It is already within our hearts. And to ensure we accept those blessings already given us, all we need do is hold out our hand, and trust that even though the road may be rocky, He will guide us to even more than we could desire.

Waiting? That’s okay, our future is not yet here for us. But worrying, that is not okay. Trusting, that’s something we can and must begin to do right now. The Jews waited and worried. But for us Advent is a time of waiting but not worrying; it’s a time for trusting --- for we KNOW what God has done for us already. And it started on Christmas Day, with the coming of the long-awaited One.

Whatever you may think you are waiting for or praying about to improve your life, do you really think it could be better than this Gift which has already been given us? God was given to us in answer to our prayers. And the Holy Spirit was sent to be with us always. The New Life we think we want is already in our hearts, a present waiting to be opened, a Gift from our Father.

Do not be anxious.


  1. Such an encouraging post, and so true.
    "We really should laugh at our worries about the future and what WE must do about it. What we should DO is have faith, because Our Father will provide for His children, whom He loves. He said so."
    A year ago I was worried about what my life had become, thinking that the worst had happened to me and Clinton. We were both stunned at finding ourselves in Assisted Living. It seemed that the very worst had come upon us.
    Tonight, however, we can join in your thought that much of what we desire is already here. God has placed us here, and we shall bloom where we're planted. Thanks be to God.

  2. Amazing! You can not see the beauty of the stars until darkness surrounds you.

  3. Thank you Maryellen and Anne, you both are an inspiration for me also. Even as I fret a bit today about the packages yet unwrapped (that's basically all of them) and the cards unsent (that IS all of them) I know how little my worries really are. I am greatly blessed.

    Each morning at mass, across the altar from me, a little baby stares at the priest and host. I asked her mother to stop by yesterday afternoon, during adoration, that I might take her picture staring at the monstrance as she does each morning. For the pictures, all she stared at was my flash. I have nice pictures of her, next to the monstrance, staring at me. Oh well, perhaps I should use those in a post not to emphasize the glory of the Eucharist as I intended, to to point out how much we look at one another --- or even ourselves --- when One much more important is nearby.

    I wish you much joy this Advent season, and hope.

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