4th Sunday of Advent -The Presence of Jesus and My soul as the manger.

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My dear friends: Suppose that you are at your work, or daily chores, and suddenly, you feel a certain tremor go up your spine. A sense of something supernatural takes place, and your souls naturally fears the unknown, and as you look back, you see a presence from heaven, an Angel, that tells you that Christ himself has come, and is present in a certain place, a couple of miles away.

And then, suddenly the angel leaves, and you are left in your normal day, with your normal chores.

You would think that you would immediately run, to wherever Christ is… wouldn’t you?

But believe it or not: wouldn’t you might get a thought such as: “I’m super busy right now? Why now? I have to finish this… I can’t let this undone… maybe I’ll go later”.

We are only too familiar, with this kind of reasoning. Everyone is, because our souls are affected by original sin.

But in as much as we come away from sin, and we increase in our devotion, we would see this line of thought disappear. The more we approach Christ, the more we pray, the more we try to be attentive at Mass, and receive the Sacraments, the more we would witness in our soul a thirst, a desire for  Our Lord Jesus Christ. A desire that would be so compelling, as to make us abandon everything else whenever he would be present.

Our silly thoughts would always remain, but our priorities would make Christ prevail in our lives and decisions, as I am sure is the case with most if not all of you.

My dear friends: Nothing is sweet to our soul, if it does not carry with it Our Good Lord Jesus Christ. Allow me today, to enkindle in your souls this desire for Him, that we may fittingly prepare for Christmas, by telling you what happens, when Christ comes to us.

When Christ is present, everything in our daily lives, in the universe in our problems, becomes small and insignificant. Christ becomes all, and we realize that if He is pleased with us, if we have His friendship, nothing else really matters. He gives you power over the world, not to dominate it, but to not be dominated by it. When Christ comes to you, your problems become instead of a nuisance, a tool, an opportunity to gain wealth, and to get a better place in Jesus’s Heart, a better place in heaven. When Christ comes to your soul, the world and life’s problems, cannot rob you of your peace and goodness.

When Christ is present in your soul, you are happy and at peace with yourself. You know, yes, that you are a sinner, but at the same time, you know that you wish to sin no more. Goodness takes a hold of you, and in every day in your life, at every moment, you value this goodness, this “small” sanctity so much, that you don’t want to give it away for anything. It is a beautiful feeling, beyond any happiness imaginable, to look at yourself and to know, that you are at peace with God right now, and don’t deny anything to him. To wake up in the morning with a clean, singing conscience, and to go to bed, knowing that Jesus and you are in agreement right now, that you are serving him, that he takes care of you. Yes, there will always be faults, sins, mistakes, but an act of repentance quickly brings you back to your dearest friend: Our Lord.

When Christ is present in your soul, you are able to change, and to become better. When he comes, he forgives your sins, and destroys the remaining of it. Then, he operates in you, and gives you what you don’t have. He gives innocence, and takes away malice, he gives silence and takes away murmuring. He gives purity, and takes away the filth. He gives kindness and a good demeanor, and takes away bitterness and sarcasm. But at the same time he gives gravity and courage, and takes away ridiculousness and corny mindsets. He becomes our root and our blood, and becomes in us, or rather, we become in Him, and as we keep his presence in us, we change, in such a way that I am still me, but an enhanced me, with Christ in, and through me.

When Christ is present in your soul, you love and are loved. In such a way that this love fills you, but at the same time, as it fills you it makes you capable of more. And in that way, you are always at once satisfied to love, and also eager to love more. You are able to love patiently those around you: I mean to say, you suffer them, and you love them while suffering them. You become willing to sacrifice for them. To sacrifice your life, your time, your desires to, and for them. Your love becomes powerful like fire, because it doesn’t need to be loved by others, the love of Christ suffices, but you love them regardless. You love when they make you suffer, you love when they ignore you. You love when they are ungrateful, you love from within, and without needing anything from without, like fire burns from within, and takes nothing from without, but rather strives to burn it all. Jesus makes your love like this, when he is present in your soul.

Have you ever experienced, at least for a few days, or months, or years these things? If you haven’t then you need to bring Christ into your life, and to expel the world and its distractions. We should all experience this beginning of Christ’s life in our soul, if we wish to know what our Catholic Faith really brings to us.

But my dear friends: perhaps as I prepare for Christmas, I see that my soul is not very much in this state. Actually, perhaps quite far from it.

I am distracted, I see malice in me, I see that I struggle to love others, and struggle to sacrifice, I see myself not improving quite much, I see perhaps that I barely remember our Lord Jesus Christ during my day.

My soul is not fit, for receiving our Lord.

But here, to make me feel more confident about the future, I see the place where our Lord will be placed when he is born. It is a estable, and in the middle of the stable, a manger.

A manger is certainly not a fitting place for the Son of God!

Perhaps my soul is like this manger. Is dirty, the bottom of it soiled with mud, and sinking into it. The wood rotten. Nails are gone. Perhaps I am lacking straw, which is to say, I don’t have good actions to give to our Lord, so that he may rest in my soul.

My soul is uncomfortable to Jesus, it’s unsafe for Him, is sullied and dirty.

Well, first let us ask St. Joseph. He is a carpenter, he can help us fix our souls.

He will perhaps sand the manger first, by those daily frictions we get with our neighbor, which I can try not to avoid, but rather to remain calm while it happens, and think: I do this for Jesus.

He might replace a couple of wooden parts, by removing from our lives some idle or bad entertainment. Perhaps bad music, perhaps bad movies, perhaps gossiping, or social media used inordinately, and when I remove these things I will think: I choose rather Our Lord Jesus.

He might take the manger off the mud, and place it on a rock, by deciding once and for all to give away occasions of sin, and rather make the choice to be in the grace of God, no matter the cost, and when I do so, I will do it saying: anything to keep Christ in me.

He might put some new nails, and hammer them in, by allowing us to suffer some things, to go through difficulties, which we will take realizing that these, are good things for me. They make me closer to Christ, more like him, more fitting to have his presence within me. And I will say again: I suffer this for Jesus Christ.

But the straw?

We lack good actions. We lack virtue, but here is where Mary, our Blessed Mother comes in, she looks at me with pity, and she says to herself perhaps: “This is a soul where my Son is supposed to lay and rest. It is not good enough for Him!… I need to get to work.”

And then our Blessed Mother adds straws in our soul, by our prayers to her, our devotion to her, our going to the Sacraments, our praying to her during Mass and Rosary, she takes those straws from the treasure of her own soul, from the treasure of her children, and she starts making in our soul a place that is comfortable for her son. She arranges it with her own hands, she covers our actions with the mantle of her intercession, and she makes sure our soul is warm and tender, with the love of God, and the desire of being good and pious.

The manger of our soul becomes her property, and her gift towards Jesus, and she will not rest until it gets ready. As this Christmas approaches, my dear friends, make a specific resolution today, before the day is over. Remember how Good it is to have Jesus present in your soul, make this resolution, so that you may prepare you and your family, for the great gifts that come, with the presence of Jesus.

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