Daily Reflection
December 16th, 2002
Kathy Kanavy
Institute for Priestly Formation
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Monday of the Third Week of Advent
Numbers 24:2-7, 15-17
Psalm 25:4-5, 6-7, 8-9
Matthew 21:23-27

Have you ever wished that God would give you a sign that He was really with you?  Or have you ever wished that God would just tell you directly what He wanted you to do? I think that most of us, at one time, have felt the frustration and desire of wanting God to reveal Himself to us in signs and words. The prophet Isaiah assures us in today’s first reading that God does reveal Himself to us. 

Then Balaam gave voice to his oracle:
The utterance of Balaam, son of Beor,
the utterance of the man whose eye is true,
The utterance of one who hears what God says,
and knows what the Most High knows,
Of one who sees what the Almighty sees,
enraptured, and with eyes unveiled.
How goodly are your tents, O Jacob;
your encampments, O Israel!
They are like gardens beside a stream,
like the cedars planted by the Lord.
His wells shall yield free-flowing waters,
he shall have the sea within reach;
His king shall rise higher,
and his royalty shall be exalted….  (Numbers 24:3-7)

Isaiah has been speaking to us in these Advent weeks of God’s dwelling with us through poignant images of life, of comfort, of hope.  He proclaims, “Comfort, give comfort to my people, says the Lord.”(Is 40:1)  He says that our guilt is expiated (Is 40:2) and if we hope in the Lord we “will run and not grow weary, walk and not grow faint.”(Is 40:31)  He assures us that the Lord is with us and that “like a shepherd he feeds his flock; in his arms he gathers the lambs.” (Is 40:11)  And in all this Isaiah urges us to “Cry out!” (Is 40:6)

Listen to the conversation that is occurring.  The prophet speaks of peace, comfort, healing for our guilt, and the promise of being like gardens beside a stream.  He gives us the answers from what God reveals.  The questions lie in our hearts.  Our hearts hold the pains, struggles, wonderings, yearnings and desires that lie deep within.  Isaiah is urging us to cry out to God in the sadness, griefs, joys, hopes, and yearnings of our hearts.  If you feel that life is asking too much of you today, tell God.  If you want healing and reconciliation for someone in your family, tell God.  If you yearn for more peace and happiness, speak the desires.  If you want answers to decisions you need to make, ask God to lead you.  And then listen.  What do you hear in your heart?  Do you sense distance, sadness, and guilt inside—then say this to God and seek reconciliation with Him for whatever keeps you distant.  Do you sense pain, grief, and loss inside—then bring these to the Lord to receive His comfort and tender love in the middle of your loss.  Do you sense peace, excitement and joy inside—then say this to God and offer prayers of thanksgiving. 

The prophet Isaiah proclaims that “his royalty shall be exalted.”  We are “royalty” because of His Love and we shall be exalted by Him as we have the humility to admit our deepest needs, desires and longings.  There is a new place in each of our hearts where He longs to dwell, a place where He has not yet been.  We permit Him to abide with us as we open our hearts and “cry out.”  In letting our hearts be vulnerable before Him, we can receive Him anew in the places of rawest pain.  Let us pray for the humility to “cry out.”  He is eager to give us the answers as we receive Him into those areas of our hearts where He most desires to bring us life.

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