Wow, it is already Christmas Eve. Advent has been very full, as has the past year. Full of good things, full of hard work, full of light and laughter and love and loss, because all of those things come together in this package we call life.
This Advent I’ve been spending some time with words written almost 150 years ago by Margaret Anna Cusack, who later as Mother Francis Clare founded the Sisters of St. Joseph of Peace in 1884. Thanks to the wonders of the internet, her little 1866 book Meditations for Advent and Easter is freely available under public domain. Her words are steeped in theological worldview of her day. That is a given. But there are also kernels of wisdom, insight and challenge sprinkled throughout that are every bit as relevant today as they would have been to a 19th Century audience.
In her reflection for Christmas Eve, she writes this:
Tomorrow sweet Jesus will come. Oh, how blessedly near is His advent! Today we are decking our houses for His divine visit; let us not forget to deck our hearts. Let us sweep out every imperfection, every imperfect disposition, every wandering thought, with the besom of penance and adorn ourselves with the fair bright flowers of contrition and love. Tomorrow our Infant King will come. Are we prepared to receive Him? Have we all the love ready for Him we should like to offer Him?
This is my prayer this day, that I may deck my heart to be ready to welcome the one who is love incarnate.