Magnifcat had a tough meditation on Saturday — one that at the same time is remarkably consoling. It’s from Saint Catherine of Siena and deals with sin and suffering. And mercy.
From her Dialogues, it reads:
I give and permit everything out of love, and they are constantly scandalized in me. Yet I patiently endure and put up with them because I loved them without their having loved me. They are always harassing me with impatience, hatred, complaints, and with all sorts of infidelity. They want to set themselves up to investigate with their own blind sight and opinion my hidden judgments, which are all made justly and lovingly. They don’t yet know themselves, and so they see falsely. For those who do not know themselves cannot know me or my judgments in truth…
I want you to know that to save him from eternal damnation…. I allowed this to happen to him, so that with his blood in my blood he might have life. For I had not forgotten his reverence and love for my dearest Mother Mary. So I did for him in mercy what the ignorant still consider cruelty.
All of this happens to people because of their self-centeredness, which robs them of light so that they do not know the truth. But if they chose to remove the cloud, they would know the truth and love it. Then they would hold everything in reverence, and at harvest time they would gather in the fruit.
Will we choose to remove the cloud? How’s that for an Advent prayer? Please, God, remove the cloud. Facing our sin and unbelief and asking for mercy, asking God to help our unbelief, to life us from the fog of anxiety.
But in everything, in this as well as in every other thing, my children, I will fulfill your desire, along with much suffering. My providence will be more or less near people in proportion to the measure of their confidence in me. And whatever I provide over and above their measure holds, I do so to fulfill the desire of my servants who are praying to me for them. For I am not one to spurn those who humbly ask me, whether for themselves or for others. That is why I am inviting you to ask me for mercy for these and for the entire world. Conceive, my children, and give birth to this child, the human race, with hatred and sorry for sin and with blazing and yearning love.
A reminder, there, of the power of prayer. That no prayer is wasted time. That perhaps instead of occupying our time with making everything “perfect” for Christmas, we pray that true love may envelop everyone we meet today and everyday of Advent. That they each may have the perfect gift, accepting the love and mercy of God, to live life eternally with Him.