Day 13 (Dec 9) Hope & The Dispositions necessary (Advent Meditation)
1. Advent is essentially a time of hope. It is not in itself a time of joy except so far as hope of joy to come brings with it a present gladness. It is an exact representation of our life on earth. We are in a place of exile and a valley of tears, but yet our hope amid all the darkness should be lighted up and rendered joyous by the prospect of future joy. The motto of our life is our Lord’s farewell words to his disciples: “You indeed shall have sorrow, but your sorrow shall be turned into joy.” This must be my consolation in all sorrow. I must try and forget my present troubles in the happy thought of joy to come.
2. Why have we so little hope? Generally because we seek to have our happiness here, and so forfeit the right to it hereafter, or at least forfeit the right to look forward to it with confidence and joy. We cannot eat our cake and keep it. If I seek my satisfaction in money, or comforts, or praise, or applause, or affection of others, I have my reward here and cannot expect to get any reward hereafter. I have no crown of justice to hope for if already I have had the crown of satisfied ambition, or pockets filled with money, or a tickled palate, or the buzzing applause of a crowd.
3. Our hope is also marred by our self-will, which prevents our will from being in complete conformity with the will of God. We are conscious of a sort of barrier between ourselves and Him which sadly interferes with our hope. We have assumed a sort of independence of God which renders it impossible for Him to pour into our hearts that hope which is in exact proportion to our conformity to His will. If I were humble and more resigned in all things, I should be more full of hope.
The Dispositions necessary
If thine eye be single, thy whole body shall be lightsome. (St. Matt. vi. 22.)
In order to make a good use of the various means afforded us of making progress towards true happiness, we must consider what should be our state of mind respecting them.
1. We must be on the watch to see that our inclinations do not run away with us. Most of the foolish things we do are the result of acting on impulse, of being led by our inclinations, of being influenced by wounded self-love. How many a golden opportunity of merit we have missed because we would not accept patiently what wounded us or hurt our self-esteem!
2. We must try to make ourselves ready to accept whatever God sends, whether painful or pleasant. We must take willingly and cheerfully sickness, pain, unkindness, neglect, failure, poverty; and though nature may cry out against it, yet we must keep our will united to Gods so as to be always able to say: “Not my will be done, O my God, but Thine.”
3. We must try to look on the bright side of everything. There is nothing in the world that has not a bright side. This will make us always patient, and, what is more, always happy. We shall acquire a facility for ignoring or passing over the painful side of things, to look at the joyful and hopeful. Do I try to do this, or do I often grumble and repine?
Offer to God your willingness to endure whatever He sees to be good for your soul.
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