A reader’s comment that she was “following the path of Mary” this Advent brought to mind a line from St. Thomas Aquinas’ prayer: See, Lord, at thy service, low lies here a heart, lost, all lost in wonder at the God thou art.
During her pregnancy, Mary pondered Jesus as He rested near her heart. Are our hearts a resting place for God during Advent? Are we following the path of Mary toward His birth?
When Mary and Joseph arrived in Bethlehem, they found no room at the inn. Jesus longed to rest among His people, but was turned away. When He approaches us, do we turn Him away in our busy-ness?
After He was born, Mary wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger. Then she and Joseph adored Him in His second resting place: a manger; lowly, rude, and a little bit worm-eaten, like my heart. Jesus longs to take his rest in our imperfect hearts. The Lord takes delight in his people (Ps 149:4).
Can we make our hearts like the empty manger awaiting Jesus’ birth? A manger is a place for food. Jesus is the heavenly food laid in a manger for our hungry hearts. Our souls need to be filled with the bread from heaven, Jesus, who wants to find rest in us. Are we willing to find a calm place to offer Him rest, or are our minds filled with a to-do list that puts out a “No Vacancy” sign?
This Advent, let’s ponder with Mary the “without-ness,” the anticipation of being emptied out, because in two weeks, God will come to fill our emptiness with his very Self—Jesus, the only food that satisfies, come to the manger of our waiting hearts.