This week, the second Sunday of Advent, we again find ourselves in haste, hurrying to meet Jesus. Also in the prayer, we find two things that are the same and we find a set of opposites. Thanks for joining me as we Lectio the Liturgy with the Collect for the Second Sunday of Advent.
Almighty and merciful God, may no earthly undertaking hinder those who set out in haste to meet your Son, but may our learning of heavenly wisdom gain us admittance to his company. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, for ever and ever.
What are the two things that are the same in the prayer? Meeting Jesus and our admittance to his company.
To meet (occursum) doesn’t just mean to meet up with. Meet means to fall in with or be involved with. I love that thought. To “fall in with” Jesus is definitely being in the right crowd.
To be admitted to his company means something more than just being in his presence. In the original Latin form of the prayer, the prayer reads that we become sharers with him. “Admitted to his company” means that we have a common lot with Jesus, we become co-heirs.
If we truly desire to be in the company with Jesus, the prayer tells us what to do and what not to do.
What not to do: let earthly undertakings hinder us. Earthly undertakings are things that are not directed by God. These things do not earn us merit because they are not performed in Christ. They are our own distractions or they can be put in our way by the enemy. We lose momentum on our journey because we can’t travel in haste anymore. Earthly undertakings can stick, weigh us down, or become roadblocks.
But… the prayer gives us the opposite direction we can take: learn heavenly wisdom. If you’re like me, you’ve already wondered, what would heavenly wisdom look like if I saw it? The Latin word for wisdom that is used is “sapientiae.” It means good sense, discernment, discretion, prudence, intelligence, forethought, perfection of intellect and character. Using the gifts of the Holy Spirit and striving to live a virtuous life is living in heavenly wisdom.
The phrase, “keep your eyes on Christ” seems fitting here. If we stay focused on him, if we practice good sense, discernment, prudence we are able to stay clear of things that may make us fall. Don’t forget that Scripture is always a great tool if we need help.
I also find that there are two things that are implied in the prayer.
First: We will stumble. We are human but God is merciful. We will get caught in muck and we may get tired of asking God for help. Remember, though that God never gets tired of hearing us call on him. His love and mercy for each one of us is infinite.
Second: The Christian life requires work and focus. We have to put something into it. I was caught off guard when I heard someone tell me that in their whole life (they were in their 40's) no one had ever told them that there was more to being Catholic than just going to mass each week. My heart was sad for them. There is so much joy in a relationship with God, but relationships take two people. God is the other person and He is waiting. The Christian life should include the study of the bible and quiet time set aside each day to pray because it is in prayer that God’s heart can connect with ours.
We must also choose to renew our minds. Consequently, we must have the willpower and strength to recognize where obstacles come from, to turn away from them, and turn toward God and his truths.
Lectio the Liturgy: this week, let’s focus on how we see things in our faith life. Think of praise as a delight, a Holy Day of Obligation as an opportunity, Reconciliation instead of confession. Go to the Psalms, (any Psalm, just pick one!) when things aren’t going right. When we change how we think and where and Who we go to for answers, the clingy muck of earthly undertakings don’t have a chance to stick.
Thanks for praying with me!