Advent Joy with Jesus and St. Andrew
Happy Feast of St. Andrew!
It may seem funny to top our post with a picture of His many fans adoring baby Jesus when here it is only the beginning of Advent, but I think St. Andrew is inviting us today to get ready. It is, after all, the day we can start our special prayer to obtain favors by imploring our Heavenly Father through the merits of the blessed hour and moment of Jesus' birth . . . and then, I'm finding Advent to have come upon us so quickly that I need to remind myself of the very simple reason for the season: the infinite love of our Savior and God!
The Magnificat had a beautiful meditation this week that came from the pen of Servant of God Archbishop Luis Maria Martinez, and I knew I had to share it here in case you hadn't seen it. We at Miss Marcel's Musings are huge fans of the book I Believe in Love, and this meditation - though not from that book - encapsulates the message of I Believe in Love, of little St. Therese, of Marcel - of Jesus Himself! - so very well! If you have seen this meditation already, I bet you'll enjoy reading it again! So here it is, from dear Archbishop Martinez, with thanks to Magnificat for printing it:
"God's love has all the characteristics of the love we idealize in our ardent dreams, for we all dream; it so becomes the human heart to dream. Yes, we want to be loved with a deep, tender, consuming love. Half measures do not satisfy us . . . Now let me assure you of this: Jesus loves us more, infinitely more, than we desire, more than we dare to dream of. Sometimes our dreams seem bold, almost absurd; nevertheless, they are far below reality. It is this very magnitude of God's love that so frequently disconcerts us. We think: 'It is an exaggeration to say God loves me like that. If not even I can love myself that way, how is it possible that God does so? No, that is an excess.' Right, it is an excess; infinite love has to be so. The Incarnation, the manger, Nazareth, the Cenacle, Gethsemane, Calvary - each was an excess . . . In comparison with our smallness, infinite love must necessarily be an excess. Yet how difficult to convince souls that God so loves them. If they could be convinced, how many anxieties would be alleviated.
"We may go a step farther. God's love for us is not a sterile love, confined to heaven; it is an active love, provident, watchful, solicitous; it is a love that does not forget us one moment, that protects us unceasingly, that keeps arranging minutely all the events of our life from the most far-reaching to the most insignificant. I am not exaggerating; Jesus Himself affirmed it: No hair of your head shall perish. Some persons may consider this hyperbole. Perhaps, but at any rate it is a hyperbole expressive of the solicitude, the constancy, the minute care of God's love for us. Consider a mother caring for her first babe, watching at his cradle, ever mindful of his needs, anxious lest he weep or become ill. The devotion of such a mother cannot match even remotely the constant, minute, tender solicitude of our Lord. If only we had the faith to understand this. Not for one moment does our Lord turn His eyes away from us, nor does His hand cease to guide us; at each instant of our lives His power protects us and His love enfolds us. And if this is true, if God's solicitude for us is loving, unalterable, most tender, what reason have we to be disturbed? Can a child in his mother's arms be disturbed?"
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How eager Jesus is to make us understand this infinitely tender solicitous Love that brought Him from Heaven to earth! There are so many things that might (and will) distract us this Advent, and yet what we can return to, what the Holy Spirit wants us to remember (and He will remind us, don't worry!), is the simple but unutterably magnificent fact that God became man: that the Father sent the Son to live with us, first as a baby, then growing through the years into a man, the Man whom Andrew met and followed and invites us to follow.
Just little baby Jesus, with Mary and Joseph behind Him, ready to hold Him out to us for our embrace and our kiss. And He has made Himself so kissable!
As to gifts, He is The Gift, we know that, but then He likes us to ask for others. He knows every smidgen of our anxiety for our loved ones, of the pain in the world, of the intentions commended to us and that we are commending to yet others. So here is the prayer we can say beginning today, on St. Andrew's feast. all the way up to Christmas. I love this prayer because it reminds me of Jesus' birth in the silence and dark of the night which was then lit by God Incarnate. And although I have heard it recommended that one say this prayer 15 times a day, well, that would cease to remind me of Jesus' birth and instead become (for me) an act of compulsion and confusion, so please feel free to be very little and say this prayer now, and once a day if you love it - or however often it delights you to delight Jesus in saying it! (And if 15 times a day is delightful and sweet for you, that is wonderful too!) I thought it might be fun to ask for 15 favors (since intentions seem to be piling up over here), but however you approach this prayer, may it bring you joy and Jesus! Here it is:
Hail and blessed be the hour and the moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ and of His Blessed Mother, Amen.
I can't imagine how many sweet favors God has in mind for us, along with the sweetest favor of Himself. I hope you will be able to receive Him in Holy Communion soon, so that His sweetness will sweeten your waiting (or rather, help you wait as you fulfill your little Christmas preparations) - and this too is marvelous! Jesus loves us so much that He can't wait for Christmas to come to us! He is happy to come to us each day, to even stay with us between times (as St. Therese experienced in her Eucharistic Miracle and we explain in Something New with St. Therese), and really, how can we be surprised? Love requires union, and Jesus is all-powerful. May His union with us this Advent prepare us for His union with us this Christmas. As He frequently repeats to Marcel, He is holding us close and covering us unceasingly with kisses. May you find your anxieties relieved and your fears quieted by the knowledge of His nearness and His insistence on keeping you close to Him forever!
Draw me, we will run!
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