Sunday, December 10
Is 40:1-5, 9-11; Ps 85:9-14; 2 Pt 3:8-14; Mk 1:1-8
Comfort, O comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that she has served her term, that her penalty is paid, that she has received from the Lord’s hand double for all her sins. A voice cries out: “In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Every valley shall be lifted up, and every mountain and hill be made low; the uneven ground shall become level, and the rough places a plain. Then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed, and all people shall see it together, for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.” Is 40:1-5. This passage from Isaiah is quite paradoxical. It begins with comfort but moves quickly into chaos. Creating a highway in the desert, lifting up valleys, mowing down mountains and hills, leveling uneven ground, and smoothing the rough places calls for a lot of destruction. Are we surprised with the chaos in our lives? In our country? Such chaos reminds me that we are in the good company of Teresa of Avila, a Spanish mystic from a converso (Jewish) family, who as a shoeless Carmelite nun often traveled rugged roads as she established convents around Spain. Once, she was thrown from a carriage into an icy stream in the middle of winter. Struggling to rise, she complained of God’s awful treatment of her. She heard God reply, “Teresa, whom God loves, God chastises. This is how I treat all my friends.” She replied tartly, “No wonder you have so few!” Even saints, it seems, want to loll around in comfort.
“Let nothing upset you, let nothing startle you. All things pass; God does not change. Patience wins all it seeks. Whoever has God, lacks nothing: God alone is enough.”
~Teresa of Avila
“To reach something good, it is useful to have gone astray.”
~Teresa of Avila
Sister Nancy Corcoran