Second Sunday of Advent – Our Hearts Are a Dwelling for Jesus
What grand preparations, my dear children, do we not make to receive a guest at our home. We fix up a little chamber with a bed, a table, a stool and a candlestick.
Two weeks hence our divine Saviour will visit us and enrich us with His graces. The chamber that we must give Him is our heart, for He Himself says: “My son, give me thy heart.” The first thing we have to provide for our guest is a chair in our hearts for Jesus to rest on. And that upon which Jesus can rest in our hearts is peace. Those who live in constant dissipation cannot turn their thoughts to God: such persons need not hope that Jesus will visit them. Jesus visits only those hearts that are calm and peaceful.
Be often recollected, especially in the morning by calling to mind that God has given you another day, and in the evening think of what you have done for God. During your work and play often raise your heart to your Father in heaven, ask His protection and blessing, and promise Him a return of love.
A holy hermit who had practiced prayer and penance for many years was one day troubled with a temptation of pride; he began to imagine that he was the holiest person in the world.
In His mercy God showed the poor monk that he was mistaken and inspired him to visit a poor waiting-maid in an hotel in the city.
This astonished the good hermit. “How can it be possible,” he said to himself, “that a simple maid in an hotel can be superior to me in virtue, since I have done nothing else for many years but fast and pray continually? I must go and visit her, and ask her what she does that makes her more agreeable in the eyes of God than I am.”
So he went to the city, and easily found the person of whom he was in search. When he had told her what God had revealed to him in the vision, he asked her to let him know what great practices of piety she performed that made God love her so much, and made her more perfect in His eyes than he was.
“My Father,” she replied, “I do not know what God can see in me that can please Him so much ; I am only a poor simple waiting maid. All that I can say to you is that I endeavor to perform all my actions with the greatest care, in order that I may please God and do His blessed will. When I am carrying wood for the kitchen fire, I think of the love of Jesus in carrying His Cross for me, and tell Him that I love Him because He is good; in the same way in all my other works, I always try to think of Him in one way or other. I am at peace with God and in a peaceful heart Jesus always abides.”
The hermit returned home, thanking God for giving the simplest and lowliest of His children the power to love Him.
We must give our exalted Guest a table at which He may sit and dine. Do you know what is acceptable to Jesus in our heart? It is the fulfillment of the will of God; that is the table which will furnish Him refreshment. When therefore you know a thing to be the will of God, do it, no matter how hard or difficult. If it is hard for you to be obedient, or humble or meek, say to yourself: “It is the will of God that I practice these virtues.” With this spirit all the saints were animated.
You dislike to go into a dark room, do you not? Jesus dwells not in darkness: He is the light of the world. So you must have a lighted candle to attract the divine Visitor into your heart.
The word of God is the lighted candle. See the pagan children, what darkness prevails among them! They know not the word of God. They have no knowledge of God. Even Christians who neglect to hear the word of God act contrary to their duties as Christians and transgress the commandments of God and His Church. Listen, then, attentively, my children, to the word of God in church and in school.
With this light we should search every nook and corner of our heart in order to find out what is wrong and faulty. We should ask ourselves every night before retiring: What have I done?
How have I done it? And then—we must prepare a bed in our hearts for Jesus that He may come and dwell there.
Every evening before we go to rest, let us say our night prayers. We know that every day we live is a pure gift of God, and that every night we need His protection. How wrongly do those children act who go to bed without any night prayers. Do not imitate such conduct; say at least a short night prayer, give thanks to God and ask pardon for your sins.
A priest was one day travelling among the mountains of Auvergne, when he perceived a boy at a little distance, feeding his sheep on the hillside. Struck with his devout and recollected appearance he turned aside to speak to him. “My child,” said he, “you must feel very lonely all day there by yourself.” “Oh, no, Father,” replied the boy, “I am not at all lonely, for I have always something to do.” “And what do you do?” asked the priest. “I have a beautiful prayer that I say,” rejoined the child. “Is it a very long one,” said the priest, “that you are so busy all day saying it?” “No, Father,” answered the boy, “on the contrary, it is very short, and yet I can never get to the end of it. It is the ‘Our Father.’ But when I say the first words, ‘Our, Father, Who art in heaven,’ I come to a stop and go no further.” “Why so?” asked the priest. “Because I cannot help crying,” replied the child, “when I think of those words. Is it possible, I say to myself, that I can have God for my Father—God, who has made that beautiful sky, that bright sun, those lofty mountains, and all the universe? And He allows me, a poor shepherd boy, to all Him by the name of Father. Then when I think of all this, I begin to weep, and cannot get on with my prayers. See, Father,” continued the boy, pointing with his finger over the valley, “see, there is the little village where I live. My family is the poorest of all, and yet I can call God my Father as truly, and be as much loved by Him as if I were the greatest gentleman in the city. This is what makes me weep and hinders me from finishing my prayer.” “No matter,” replied the priest, much moved; “do as you have been doing, and God will love you and bless you.” So saying, the good father went on his way, praising Almighty God.
Now you know, my children, how to prepare your heart for the abode of Jesus. If your heart be thus prepared, our divine Saviour will come and make His abode with you and will one day receive you into the mansions of bliss.