Saturday, November 26, 2005

An Advent Prayer

from Walking on the Wings of the Wind [Paulist Press, 1980]

"Come, Lord Jesus, come!"

How often during the Advent season I have said these words, dear Jesus. Teach me to understand what they really mean.

Come to me, Jesus, in my weakness, in my sinfulness.

That coming, I know, will be more like iodine on an open sore. My faults are so exposed, like open wounds, but after the burning sensation comes the healing lotions that soothe and mend.

Come to me, Jesus, in my moments of doubt and insecurity.

How difficult it is to be a bishop! So many demands and expectancies from these clay feet. Lord, I have my moments of self-doubt, too. Why must people think it is I who must have a solution to everything? Or are they only looking for an ear that will listen to their hurts?

Come to me, Jesus, in my moments of depression and discouragement.

I try, really, Lord, to teach your gospel and put it into practice, but my words are so often twisted against me --- sometimes even by friends, almost as if they were eager to see me tripped up. Teach me to see, Jesus, that you are able to bring good out of wrong and order out of confusion, teach me to see and understand the hurts in others that lie beneath the twists.

Come to me, Jesus, in my moments of tiredness and irritability.

Give me always, Jesus, the strength to go out to one more hurting person, one more soul in need, one more group to be touched.

Come to me, Jesus, in my moments of arrogance and pride. (It is not easy, Jesus, to say that and mean it.)

Yes, I do need to be brought down so very often. Too much adulation, too much praise is not good for a bishop. One moment of silence, though, and I see the facade crumble. Come to me in those moments, pick me up, sustain me.

Come to me, Jesus, in my moments of joy.

When I am at the altar or with good friends, or at the piano, or just walking along the streets greeting people, come to me through all these moments of pleasure and teach me to rejoice in you.

Come, Jesus, come!

What an empty life it would be, Jesus, if you did not come at Christmas and bring together into one solemn encounter all those moments of weakness and strength, depression and solace, sorrow and joy!

Come, Lord Jesus, come!


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