Many years ago I read that many people fail their climbs of the highest mountains in the last 50 feet. I can’t seem to find that factoid today, but it has stayed with me because it seems like it is true for a multitude of journeys. What about this journey? Have you had a calm Advent? One filled with peaceful waiting and anticipation? One where we make room for Jesus?
So far, so good for me, but I can feel the anxiety leaking in, ready to break the seal of my heart. What I have not “accomplished” looms large, that along with the fear and rhetoric which screeches with an ever higher pitch each day. That’s a pity because I really have sunk into the spirit of the Advent season this yea, but with Christmas so close, I am getting a bit twitchy. *sigh*
Thank God for the O Antiphons that begin today! A reminder that we are nearly there, to not lose patience or hope, a call to not abandon the space-making of our hearts.
The first O Antiphon is O Sapientia, or O Wisdom.
O Wisdom of our God Most High,
guiding creation with power and love:
come to teach us the path of knowledge!
With no intention to write about the antiphons this year, having done so in the past, I used the “Google machine” this morning (aka my computer) for other search purposes. But then I did decide to have a peek at “O Wisdom,” – just to see what I might find – and wouldn’t you know, I found some wisdom!
Deacon William Ditewig is, as I describe him to others, “the deacon’s deacon.” Led to his blog by a search for the term “o sapientia,” I did indeed find an old O Antiphon post. I also found his most recent blog post, “Islam: Unfinished Work of “Nostra Aetate.” Wisdom, indeed! You see, Deacon Ditewig reminds us that “Nostra Aetate” includes these words: “The Catholic Church rejects nothing that is true and holy in these religions. ”
If your Advent is marred by your own fear or rejection of anyone, Muslims in particular, maybe the O Antiphons will offer an invitation to a different way. Darkness grows darker at this time of year, and with Christmas comes the Light of Christ.
We cannot let the darkness of fear, anger, or revenge to fill our hearts if we are to make room for the birth of Christ. Fear, anger, revenge – all kinds of darkness – loves to think it can push aside the Light that is Christ, but it can only do so if we let it. Go read Deacon Ditewig’s post, maybe praying with the words of today’s antiphon reminding us that wisdom can “teach us the path of knowledge!”
Whether you are filled with rage against Muslims or against those who rage against Muslims (I totally get that feeling), or anything or anyone else for that matter (which probably covers most of us,) consider praying for wisdom today. Yes, the days grow shorter, moving with a fierce rapidity to darkness. However achingly slow or impossible it seems, the dawn will break. The O Antiphons help us to pause and refocus, to pray for the One who will come, bringing us that light.
I’m glad that my desire to not write about the O Antiphons and a “search for wisdom” led me to this place today. Can we believe that we reject nothing that is true or holy, according to God? Can we find peace? Can we at least pray? Will you join me in this effort, even if only for today? The last leg of this journey to Christmas, like the mountain climb, may be the most difficult and I can’t do it alone; I hope you will join me along the way.