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  • Writer's pictureDr. Anthony Lilles

Gentleness of Advent

As the Christmas mystery draws near, we are tested by Divine Gentleness to a greater love. Our meanness of spirit is revealed in flashes of anger over something trivial or in a bitter judgment of heart that we want to forget, but find ourselves unable to let go. We wound with a glance and kill with a single whisper. Even our smiles in a tense moment betray hostility. In all of this we confront how countless banalities and irrational judgments threaten our freedom to love. We also discover our sluggishness toward God. We distract ourselves from the promptings of the Gentle God because they are inconvenient, and then we wonder why He seems so distant.

For all this, we have reason to hope and our hope is not in vain. Divine Love is not content to allow us to wallow in self-pity or wrath. The Almighty permits our failures only so that a greater victory might be ours. He knows what we face and He has taken our side, implicating Himself in our plight. He enfleshes Himself in our hearts and works to be brought to birth in our actions. The Just Judge tests only to encourage us to turn to Him again and to allow Him to reveal the perfection of His power in our weakness. If we have fallen, it is not too late to ask the Lord to lift us up. If we have wounded a heart that is close to us, ask the Lord for the humility to admit fault and make reparation. He will give this grace. If we cannot forgive or forget an offense, submit to the Holy Spirit who teaches compassion and how to intercede for those who have hurt us. Our mysterious Advocate will not fail us. Above all, cling to the love of God when love seems impossible. Love rebuilds what we have destroyed, and whatever it costs in prayer and sacrifice, it is worth the expense. For in the grace filled effort to love, our inadequacy is met with a Divine caress.

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