Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Gifts of the Spirit

Today's liturgy has so many beautiful points in it, it is hard to focus on just one or two: I keep wanting to develop each strand! But limitation is built into life in time, and so I had to let one (major) aspect guide my prayer today. (I do love how the Advent readings clearly mirror each other, don't you? At least that helped unify things!)
The first reading is Isaiah's prophecy of the "peaceable kingdom" where the wolf lies down with the lamb and so on. But before that poetic description of a universe in harmony with itself because it is in harmony with God (as "filled with knowledge of the Lord as the sea is with water"), Isaiah mentioned the little shoot coming from the seemingly dead trunk of Jesse's family tree. "The Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him... [and all the Gifts of the Spirit: wisdom, knowledge, counsel, strength...] and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord." This is what is precisely mirrored in the Gospel: "Jesus rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, 'Father, Lord of Heaven and earth, to you I offer praise...' "
In Jesus, the earth was filled with knowledge of the Lord and erupted in praise that could hardly be expressed in human words; all we get is a simple hint of what it means for Jesus to be "rejoicing in the Holy Spirit," who (according to Paul) prays within us with inexpressible utterances. God is delighted that we should delight in him: "Take your delight in the Lord and he will give you your heart's desire." Delight and desire are Advent gifts, gifts of the Holy Spirit.

No comments: