I bow down before your holy temple, filled with awe.
The Church in her wisdom has given us the liturgical season to focus are attention on the mysteries. As humans due to original sin and the break of the integrity of our will, great mysteries can become dry to us. We can begin to read the prologue of the Gospel of John “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth; we have beheld his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father.” and say them with the same enthusiasm as “Have you seen the remote control?” We are unable to maintain the same sense of awe and amazement as when we first started to believe that God became man and our prayer life gets slack. I believe that at first the Israelites were amazed and deeply grateful for the pillar of fire sent to them at night to guide their way. But I also believe that after a couple of days they were complaining “Hey when is God going to turn that pillar of fire off? I can’t get any sleep with it on.” It also wasn’t long after God gave them the manna that they started complaining that they wanted some meat.
The season of Advent is given us to prepare for the coming of Christ and one of the greatest mysteries – the Incarnation. St. Teresa of Avila encouraged reflecting on the incarnation as one of the surest guides to contemplative prayer. We can all be like Simeon at this time of year. Knowing ahead of time of the coming of the Messiah and knowing that we will not die without seeing him. We can wait in joyful silence and expectation for the birth of Christ. Like Simeon’s prophecy to Mary we also know that even with Jesus’ arrival that there are still swords that will pierce through our own souls, yet the wonder of the incarnation and Jesus’ redemptive death heals all wounds when we call to him.
In my own life I try to take the lesson of the Origens and Tertullians to not presume on my faith and understanding. These were men of great intellectual understanding and at first were true to the Catholic faith, but later on went on to teach heresy. We need to always measure our understanding against the teaching of the Church and when found wanting to correct our course. Our conversion must be daily and we must stridently work to maintaining the awe at the statement “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us.