Making straight our paths
A reflection for the Second Sunday of Advent, Year C
by Rebecca Dussault
Okay, I feel it. I feel the inadequacy as a writer to try and pull together God’s themes and schemes from Scripture. How can a creature make sense of The Man of Mystery, God Himself?
In our feeble minds we cannot conceive of such things promised by Him as mountains being made low, winding roads becoming straight, and rough ways turning smooth.
I quite like terrain that is rough, windy, and full of climbs, so I’ve always thought this was a bum deal.
But what if our thinking remains overly connected to a merely geographical interpretation and we miss the terrain of the human heart about which these things are speaking? To be sure, I do not like the unpredictable, winding, and rough route that sin takes me on.
Without a doubt, every one of us has uneven spirits, rough relationships, and mountains of our own sanctity to scale. All of this points to our need to reconcile with one another and return to God to smooth and straighten the way to our salvation.
Our temporal mindset and emotions are quite equatable to the earthen terrain around us – extra rocky, winding, and steep unless, like St. Faustina, we live and believe in a way wherein “the humble soul does not trust itself, but places all its confidence in God”.
Sinner, know thyself! Let us pray and know through prayer what it is that the Lord is revealing and act upon the instructions given. Our personal daily choices make an easier or harder way through this life.
In a modern and fast
moving world, we are often incorrectly convinced that we’re doing the right thing: buying the right stuff, going to the best places, seeing the top doctors, on the best meds, living our “best life”. I want to question that. I want to question all of it.
We are becoming a people wholly dependent on self, science, and technology who are hardly awaiting a second and final coming…and judgement. Our self-reliance is our downfall, and we go without. We go without the means of healing our soul’s inner terrain with the balm of Truth and a pure participation in Christ, The Mystery. We go without healing the body’s inner terrain and fall for the wisdom of the age, again making us often even sicker overall. We are deprived of the wisdom of living fully, and holy, so families can cast the stones of worldliness out of the fields of their family culture, smoothing them out. We are not a God-dependent people but an independent mess, often leaving behind our ability and stability to be on His level and well-trodden routes.
It is becoming more and more apparent that we will all need to go backwards before we go forwards. One can look out and see all the lost tools of life! If the grid went down, we’d fall back a few hundred years and without the knowledge to operate. Fragile! I surmise most of us are too culturally passive (and pacified!) and much too fragile to really ascend the mountain of the Lord or stand in His holy place. Mea culpa!
Study the lack around you, the lack of peace, lack of purpose, lack of fidelity, lack of fecundity, lack of strength, stamina, and grace.
St. Theophan the Recluse commits us to this reflection:
“A merchant, a solder, a judge, or a scholar has work which is full of cares and difficulties. How do they sustain themselves in the midst of their labours? By enthusiasm and love for their work. One cannot sustain oneself by anything else on the path of piety. Without this we will be serving God in a state of sluggishness, boredom, and a lack of interest. An animal like the sloth also moves, but with difficulty, while for the swift gazelle or the nimble squirrel, movement and getting about are a delight. Zealous pleasing of God is the path to God which is full of consolation and gives wings to the spirit. Without it one can ruin everything.”
An all too common passivity of life won’t cut it if we really want to know how we are to conduct ourselves. “Doing the daily” in flesh, mind, and soul matters an awful lot. Look at the mother who has mountains of laundry to do. She can either loathe the loads, or she can choose a more excellent route, folding each piece while performing a simple exercise with her body. And what’s more, each garment suggests to her the name of some family member she ought to pray for in the moment. Where Christ is, we can make a way.
Shake out of passive observance and into deliberate action to get to the goal. What do you want in this life? What does God want you to want in this life? We are not wholly inadequate at knowing the mind of God, so enter the mystery and travel on from here.
The readings for the Second Sunday of Advent, Year C, are
Philippians 1:3-6, 8-11
Rebecca Dussault, Olympian and World Champion, is a Catholic health coach helping women optimize their faith, fitness, and food. She is the owner and operator of Fit Catholic Mom and is a superfoods entrepreneur helping others achieve detoxification and weight loss. She pivots lives in health and holiness!