Transformers: Dec. 11, Third Sunday of Advent

Jesus said to them in reply, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them.” ~Mt 11:.4-5

In a 2014 graduation speech at the University of Texas (Austin), U.S. Special Operations commander Admiral William McRaven declared: “If you want to change the world, start off by making your bed.” His point was that a mundane action, carried out in a disciplined way, can be transformative. So it is with prayer. The more faithfully we practice the small act of setting aside time to pray daily, the deeper we will be drawn into a relationship with Christ.

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And as we firm up our prayer habit, we will begin to experience the intimacy and reverence of that relationship. For God is both the chittering mother bird who shelters us in the shadow of her wing, and the fearsome Maker of the universe, who “laid the cornerstone of the earth while the morning stars sang in chorus” (from Job 38). As we are wrapped in the mystery of God’s transcendent and immanent love, a transformation occurs. Our human desires are subsumed into God’s will; the dross of our lives is burned away in the fire of divine love; and we are changed. Prayer transforms us.

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We may be blind to the truth about a relationship: through prayer we gain clarity. We may be immobilized by a family estrangement: through prayer we move towards reconciliation. And in the fullness of God’s time, we may find the lesions on our souls dissolved, the dead parts of our lives resurrected and our spiritual poverty filled with the riches of God’s word. This transformational healing was the gift of Jesus Christ to the people of his time, and it is his gift to us now.    

RELATED: Read all of our Advent reflections for 2016

O God, I pray today that you will bestow your mercy upon me and put right what is wrong in my life. Amen.

For today’s readings, click here.

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Bruce Snowden
1 year 1 month ago
I very much like the word “transform” descriptive of our relationship to God and God’s to us in prayer. Prayer is transformative. True, it’s not difficult praying, “conversing” with God as Father, “Poppa God” the childlike way I was first taught to speak with God. Or as the late, beloved Auxiliary Bishop of the NY Archdiocese Patrick Ahearn liked to say, “Daddy God.” Once traveling in the Holy Land the Bishop saw a Palestinian child stumble scraping his knee then run to his Father crying, “Abba, Abba,” the same word Paul used to describe God. Intrigued Bishop Ahearn asked the child’s Father what was the boy saying, and he replied, “It’s equivalent to Daddy.” And so, to the Bishop and many others, God became “Daddy God!” Praying to God that way is easy. However, praying to God simply as Creator, as “Transformer” is hard. That’s exactly what Creation and prayer creativity are and continues to be, “transformative.” I mean what you start out with changes “evolves” into something other, intrinsically connected to its beginning, but different. Like Creation, prayer is developmentally tumultuous, unstable, swirling. Then Light happens, wired to the prayer offered at the end of the essay, on which I am posting. God, “Put right what is wrong in my life.” As the priest at our wedding a few months shy of fifty years ago reminded my wife and I, “Sacrifice is usually irksome. Love makes it easy, perfect love makes it a joy!” True too, of righting what is wrong in our life, not easy, but doable through prayer and works, the latter becoming kin to prayer by a decision of the Will and the heart. For sure real prayer creaks and stumbles scraping its knee, and “Abba” God the Transformer, becomes the wash of the wound, its antibiotic, its band aide, its healing scab. Then whatever is lame, leperous, deaf, through less than sincere attachment to God, will be raised from the death of indifference and laziness, eager to proclaim the good news. This leads to a “well-made bed.” Then the music begins, but not for long, as prayer is a never ending journey into God. Figuratively as the shadow that is “earth” namely the one at prayer, passes over the “Sun” which is God, an eclipse of God happens and darkness covers earth. One must await the return of the music which will surely come, content to know that in prayer, like God, darkness and light are mysteriously the same. As Jesus said, “Pray always and do not lose heart.” Experientially ay least this is how I see it.

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