A Reflection for the Feast of St. Ambrose
Like most things in 2020, this will be an Advent unlike any other. But each day, you can still take a few minutes to reflect on the coming of our savior at Christmas with short reflections on Scripture, written by the staff of America Media.
A reading from the Book of Isaiah
The desert and the parched land will exult;
the steppe will rejoice and bloom.
They will bloom with abundant flowers,
and rejoice with joyful song.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to them,
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
They will see the glory of the LORD,
the splendor of our God.
Strengthen the hands that are feeble,
make firm the knees that are weak,
Say to those whose hearts are frightened:
Be strong, fear not!
Here is your God,
he comes with vindication;
With divine recompense
he comes to save you.
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened,
the ears of the deaf be cleared;
Then will the lame leap like a stag,
then the tongue of the mute will sing.
Streams will burst forth in the desert,
and rivers in the steppe.
The burning sands will become pools,
and the thirsty ground, springs of water;
The abode where jackals lurk
will be a marsh for the reed and papyrus.
A highway will be there,
called the holy way;
No one unclean may pass over it,
nor fools go astray on it.
No lion will be there,
nor beast of prey go up to be met upon it.
It is for those with a journey to make,
and on it the redeemed will walk.
Those whom the LORD has ransomed will return
and enter Zion singing,
crowned with everlasting joy;
They will meet with joy and gladness,
sorrow and mourning will flee.
I have little more profound to say than this reading makes me happy. This is joyful; this is what it’s all about. Hard things will get better. Darkness will lift. Pain will cease. The desert becomes a thing that can speak, a steppe a place that can feel; both can sing; their colors bursting out everywhere.
In this vision, we don’t have to search for God’s presence in the world, discern how God might be speaking to us. Here, the spirit of God is in plain sight and overwhelms us with joy: the coming of Christ. The reward of eternal life. And even the promise that in our daily lives moments of sheer joy will come, God’s beauty filling all our senses. Good things really are at work. Our job is to believe they will come.
Good things really are at work. Our job is to believe they will come.
And simply believing the earth will bear in a new way the glorious presence of God makes us realize all the more how sacred is the desert, the land, the water, the sky. It invites us to care for the earth as if God was about to show up there. Because he is.
- What can you do to be open to believing that good things will come?
- How can you be a better steward of the beautiful creations of God?