December 2011

Dears Sisters and Brothers in Christ,

Glory to Jesus Christ!

We must understand that spiritual transformation does not happen by accident. A consistent spiritual practice is necessary to bring about the change we so desperately need and desire. St. Paul rightly calls us "co-workers" with Christ and that, of course, means we have to make some real effort to do our part. Again St. Paul calls us to become "living sacrifices" and to "work out your salvation with fear and trembling" and yet, most of us are waiting for something to happen to us without our effort!

Our hearts have accumulated layers of crust. Our minds, layers of conditioning. The energy of god, his Light and Grace, reside in us; but they are buried under all the debris of the life we have constructed or ourselves, mostly out of self-defense and fear. The spiritual life is the way we work together with God to remove the crust, conditioning, and debris we have collected. It is often a painful exercise in getting in touch with the unpleasant feelings we have tried so hard to avoid. We need to stop running away from life, to courageously open up to the ocean of tears inside. In Christ we know that we do not go through the "valley of the shadow of death" alone for He has promised never to leave us or forsake us. But go we must. There is no other way. Let us go with courage and faith built upon the knowledge that God is All-Goodness and All-Compassion. For this reason, we need have no fear.

At this season of Advent, let's not just think of the Birth of Jesus, but also of a rebirth for ourselves. What lies beneath the layers is something as beautiful as God himself, for it is He who has made us in His own image. And what could possibly be more beautiful than that?

Wishing you a brilliant Advent,

Fr. Antony