The domestic church is like an enclosed garden; a planned space
for the cultivation, nurture and care of the family.
The present is the only chance to build our family as a domestic church.
What is there more to do after Gaudete Sunday? After the rose candle of the Advent wreath is lit, many of us almost abandon the last purple candle. The preparations for Christmas start to reach fever pitch as lists, presents, wrappers, home decorations, recipes, guests, and family traditions all vie for our imagination and attention. But it is still Advent. There is one more candle waiting to be lit.
There is One
What if we have properly observed Advent this year, prepared our hearts, and now are busy making ready for the Christmas celebrations and hear, "There is one thing you lack." If amidst the bustle we take the time to be still, and hear in the silence of our hearts that familiar hollow sound of something missing. For some, it feels like loneliness, for others deep sadness - even pain from a broken heart. For others it may be guilt, meaninglessness, or despair. The relative sufficiency that we may enjoy materially or even from good relationships does not fill the emptiness, because we lack the one thing.
"There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” (Luke 10:42) This Advent, are we preparing our hearts for the "one thing necessary?" John the Baptist refers to Him as "one among you who you do not know." Are we ready to leave everything in order to sit at His feet? Are we ready to sell all we have, give to the poor and follow Him; or will we leave sad because we have many possessions? Are our hearts prepared to become undivided for Jesus, to be single-hearted? This is where our advent waiting and preparation should lead us - to a desire for Jesus, who is our Savior - to desire Him above all else. He is the ONE.
Choose the Better Part
To take away the wages of sin - which is death, that Adam and Eve brought to the human race, Jesus did the one thing necessary out of His immense love and unfathomable mercy for us. He became flesh and dwelt among us, died on a cross and rose again to reconcile us to the Father.
Jesus means in Hebrew: "God saves." At the annunciation, the angel Gabriel gave him the name Jesus as his proper name, which expresses both his identity and his mission. (Catechism of the Catholic Church 430) Jesus is the Messiah, who brings glad tidings to us who are poor, company in our loneliness, healing for our broken hearts, and comfort in our sadness. He brings forgiveness that takes away guilt, hope for meaning and purpose in our lives. There is need for only one thing - a relationship with Jesus.
Waiting No More
In Advent, there is another one who waits. He has been waiting a long time to come to us. He waits for the one thing: our invitation for Him to come into our hearts.
One more candle in the Advent wreath - it is the final preparation for Christmas. This preparation happens at the core of our hearts. If at the center of our hearts, there are possessions that possess us, or other things that rule us, or even our selves that control its universe - this is the time to dislodge them. They do not fill the emptiness, they do not heal, or free us. They do not satisfy our hunger nor slake our thirst. There is only one Savior. Come, Lord Jesus, come! We invite Jesus to take His rightful place in our hearts to reign over us, and we take our rightful place at His feet. We will then be ready to celebrate Christmas with true joy because we will have that which is the most essential!
One thing I ask of the LORD;
this I seek:
To dwell in the LORD’s house
all the days of my life,
To gaze on the LORD’s beauty