Continual Work

Several months ago we watched a movie entitled Of Gods and Men.  I was reminded of it again yesterday as I read an article about it.  While not seeming like it, there is a scene that can provide a beautiful Advent reflection.  The story is true and it tells about a group of monks living in Algeria during the wars and terrorist activities there in the 1990’s.

Toward the end of the beautiful tale of their life and work in the monastery, the monks have to come to terms with what is happening around them.  While discussing and debating if they will stay amid the war and terror or leave, the monastery’s leader asks his monks to think of their continued presence in the monastery as the continual work of Incarnation.

The monks elect to stay and as they go about their prayer and work their leader tells them:

. . . each of us discovered that to which Jesus beckons us.   It is to be born.  Our identities go from one birth to another.  And from birth to birth, we’ll each end up bringing the world the child of God that we are.  The Incarnation, for us, is to allow the reality of Jesus to embody itself in our humanity.

The work of bringing Christ to birth through our lives could not be more beautifully spoken.  It is the continual work of allowing the reality of Jesus to embody itself in our humanity.  And, that’s what a well-spent Advent helps us to do.  It helps us become more aware of who we are as children of God and how we must allow Christ to enter into our reality, here and now, and allow Jesus to take up residence in our humanity – every moment of every day.

It is a daunting exercise.  It is the continual work of Advent.  It is grace.

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