•2 Samuel 7:1-5, 8b-12,14a, 16. Romans 16:25-27. Luke 1:26-38•
Weekly Scripture Readings: 4th Sunday in Advent
Our annual Advent journey into the Mystery of Christ concludes this week. However the journey continues beyond Advent. That is why I turned to Robert Frost’s poem, “The Road Not Taken” as our Advent companion this year:
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.”
In fiscal year 2015, military spending –the budget for the Defense Department and the National Security Agency is projected to account for 55 percent of all federal discretionary spending. That amounts to a total of $555 billion – 55% percent of our tax dollars. Is this an authentic symbol of who we the citizens of this nation really are?
The conscious life, time and energy of most people is consumed by their effort to be secure and to enjoy life. “Security” for self and family means: housing, food, and health care. “Enjoyment of life” means: entertainment, recreation and leisure. By necessity we all must engage in those pursuits. This is the road most traveled by most people.
However there are many folks who have other priorities. The priority of vowed monks or religious is the development of their inner life, their spirituality. I know many people here in Missoula and many other places, married and unmarried, whose priority is the development of their inner life, their spirituality. This is “the road less traveled.”
Ponder these words of the fourteenth century mystic, Julian of Norwich. “We are not just made by God, we are made of God.” What does that mean – “we are made of God”?
It means we are made of love, of desire, of holy longing. Deep in your own spirit you know
natural, holy longings for oneness, a sacred drive for union. That is why you are married. That is why so many young people engage in pre-marital sex.
The creativity of God is deep within you. Artists, architects, writers, dancers and musicians are not the only ones with the capacity to bring forth what has never been before. All of us have that capacity. The gospel injunction to “be born again” does not mean turning from or denying the gifts and goodness of our human nature. It means allowing the Divine Spirit within you to emerge. It means allowing your own deepest truth to emerge. It means surrendering / letting go of all that hinders or prevents you from loving without condition.
Advent 2014 concludes. The journey continues. The liturgy today sets Mary of Nazareth before us. She was a woman open to the Gracious Mystery calling her to be more fully alive and more fully human.
“Two roads diverged in a wood, and I — I took the one less traveled by, and that has made all the difference.” Because we are human beings, we must engage in the pursuit of “security” and the “enjoyment of life.” That is the road most traveled.
You may ask, “what does all of this have to do with Christmas birth?” — EVERYTHING! Christmas birth has already happened. It is a past event! Today is the first day of our future. Today we resume our journey FORWARD on “the road less traveled” – our journey of becoming Christ.
Mary took “the road less traveled by, and that made all the difference.” If you, like Mary, listen deep within yourself, you will hear a voice calling you to be one with all that is: your husband/wife, children, neighbor, Earth and the entire Cosmos. This is “the Christ Mystery” and there is no doubt it is “the road less traveled.” Those who take it find “that has made all the difference!”