Salesian Sunday Reflection
Fourth Sunday of Advent
Today’s Gospel reminds us that like St. Joseph, we must have confidence in God’s plan for us. God has a plan for us that is greater than our own. St. Francis de Sales notes:
In today’s Gospel, Joseph sees that Mary is with child. Knowing that it was not his child, he was ready to divorce her. But the angel revealed to Joseph that the Holy Child was to be Our Savior. With great peace and serenity of mind, Joseph accepted the unexpected event that befell him. Our confidence in God ought to be like St. Joseph’s.
The foundation of our trust is not in our own self, but in God. While we may change, God remains always gentle and merciful when we are weak and imperfect, as well as when we are strong and perfect. When we have absolute trust in Our Lord, we are like an infant on the breast of its mother. The child just lets itself be carried and led wherever the mother wants to take it. Similarly, we ought to have such confidence in letting ourselves be carried when we love God’s will in all that happens to us.
Holy confidence in the goodness of God is the life of the human spirit. As we grow in love with God, we may experience the contractions and pangs of spiritual childbirth. Yet, in the midst of our troubles, Our Savior will guide us on our way no matter how difficult it may be. Let us think of the words of our gentle Savior: “When a woman gives birth she is in great distress, but after the birth she forgets the suffering of the past because a child is born to her.” Our souls ought to give birth to the dearest Child that one could wish for. It is Jesus whom we must form and bring to birth in ourselves. The Child is well worth whatever we endure. How happy we would be if we devoted all our efforts to accomplishing God’s will for us. We would obtain from God’s goodness all that we could possibly desire and need, a new invigorating life. A holy rebirth in Christ!
St. Francis de Sales)
This letting go and submission to God's Will is the hardest part of the Christian project for many since it seems to imply passivity, as in the image of the infant being carried by its mother. Yet the true life of the Christian, and more broadly of the Progressive, is active cooperation with and participation in the Will of God, that is to say Good, Peace, etc. As the saying is, we are - or must be - the good and peace we seek.
So as we prepare in this last week of Advent to welcome the Christ Child, let us reflect on what He brings and what He demands of us. We need not be Christians to find these things in our hearts or to see the desperate need for them in our world.