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Christmas Plans

Fourth Sunday of Advent

December 19, 2021 •

God can at times make His painfully clear to you, miraculously clear, and you can still doubt. Or say no. Or think you can. ...

Anytime we know the will of God, we should always say the words of the Blessed Virgin: Let it be done to me according to Your Word.

What about when you don't have a miraculous vision of an angel telling you what God wants? It can be challenging and difficult at times to know exactly what He's asking of you.

But there are times in our life when we can know the will of God with absolute certainty. Not because we want to do it, but because it's the only option we have. Those situations in which God simply does not give you a choice: This is what you have to do whether you like it or not. The Saints tell us that in those instances, God is making His will absolutely clear.

Think for a moment about the Blessed Mother and Saint Joseph getting ready for the miraculous birth of Jesus. All the preparations they made in anticipation of His birth. And then suddenly, there's a summons by Emporer Caesar, some pagan in a distant land who rules over you saying: Guess what? I want you to go to the town of your tribe and be registered in a census.

She was nine months pregnant. I seriously doubt our Lady had prepared for this. And yet, they didn't have a choice. They traveled to Bethlehem, thinking, "Well, He can't be born at home, at least we'll find a good inn or house with a spare room, that would be appropriate."

We all know the story. They go from inn to inn, house to house and are constantly turned away. Again, this wasn't a plan that the Blessed Mother had. This wasn't what Joseph wanted for Mary and Jesus.

Door after door is closed to them until they are offered a space in a barn. Even if you're not the Mother of God, do you really want to give birth in a barn?

I can tell you, Mary had no plans to do this. And Joseph, who was given this great responsibility may have been tempted to think, "I failed you Lord."

But of course, Mary and Joseph had perfect faith. They knew they had done their best, done everything in their power to prepare for the birth of the Messiah. But because of things outside their control, things they could not effect, they had to accept the situation as it was. I have no doubt that both of them believed - yet not understanding why - that this was exactly what God wanted. He wanted His only Son to be born in a stable and laid in a manger.

In the moment, that probably didn't make sense to Mary and Joseph. But it was clearly the will of God.

In our own lives there are many things we can't control, circumstances outside our power. If we like how it goes, no big deal. But most of the time we struggle with the will of God in these situations because we don't like it, we don't want it to be His will - it wasn't our plan, our design.

A book I would recommend to you is The Abandonment to Divine Providence by De Caussade. In it he tries to teach us this lesson: as long as you are striving to follow Christ and live within His sacraments, then anything that happens to you, especially if it's outside your control, is the will of God. Your job is to learn to submit to that will. To echo the Blessed Mother and say; Let it be done to me according to Your Word.

During this week before Christmas, meditate on the Blessed Mother, and on Saint Joseph and how all of their plans for Christmas did not go as they had hoped. But they did go exactly how God wanted.

Mi 5:1-4a; Ps 80:2-3, 15-16, 18-19; Heb 10:5-10; Lk 1:39-45

Homily begins at 20:00

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