Saturday of the Third Week of Advent
Both Ahaz and Mary show a complete trust in God. Ahaz is quick to point out, despite being asked for a sign, he does not wish to tempt the Lord (Isaiah 7:12). While not asking for a sign, YHWH points to something that is only possible through the power of God, a virgin having no relations with a man, will conceive and bear a son. This sign is easily evident, when the messenger tells the Virgin Mary she will conceive and bear a son because she has found favor with God. Despite her initial hesitation (1:29, 34), her final response to be the “handmaid of the Lord,” (Luke 1:38) would forever change human history. As we enter into the Fourth Week of Advent, let us be willing to place complete trust in God, even when the future seems uncertain.
Grace: An intimate knowledge of the many blessings received, that filled with gratitude for all, I may in all things love and serve the Divine Majesty.
Reflection: In the meditation upon sin, we made reference to Dante’s vision of hell, a cold, desolate place where the fire of love has been extinguished and all lies in a spiritual torpor. This is the perfect image of the heart grown cold to the stirrings of love which God places within it. At the opposite end of Dante’s journey lies a vision that perfectly encapsulates the final meditation of the Spiritual Exercises, the Contemplation to Attain Divine Love. From the lowest reaches of the spiritual universe, Dante ascends to the heights of heaven, where he views “the love that moves the sun and the other stars.” At the heart of the universe lives the Trinitarian God, whose perfect love draws all being into an ordered symphony of praise. Dante feels himself drawn into this harmonic vision through the enflaming of his passions and desires. No one with eyes to see can sit impassively at the vision of God’s love. From the disordered state in which Dante had fallen at the beginning of the poem, he becomes progressively cleansed of his disordered affections through the grace of God and the intercession of Beatrice until finally he is able to pass through the heavens and stand in the presence of God. But notice that Dante only sees God’s depths after he has been interiorly transformed.