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Thursday, December 7, 2000

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St. Ambrose

Isaiah 26:1-6
Psalm 118
Matthew 7:21, 24-27

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the advent of humility

"It collapsed under all this and was completely ruined." —Matthew 7:27

Christmas is a time when "those in high places" are humbled and when the lofty city is tumbled to the ground, leveled with the dust, and "trampled underfoot by the needy" and the poor (Is 26:5-6). Before the birth of Jesus on the first Christmas, the pregnant Mary prophesied about the Lord: "He has deposed the mighty from their thrones and raised the lowly to high places. The hungry He has given every good thing, while the rich He has sent empty away" (Lk 1:52-53). Herod intuitively knew that the birth of Jesus was a harbinger of his fall from power. Therefore, he tried to kill Jesus (Mt 2:16). Christmas is bad news for those in the world seeking to be mighty, but good news for those who have chosen the "little way" of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph. Christmas makes shepherds sing, but Herods cringe. Jesus continues to be a Sign of contradiction for the rise and the fall of many (Lk 2:34).

We need Advent to get ready for Christmas. In Advent, we can descend from our pedestal before we're knocked off it. We can humble ourselves before we leave the Lord no alternative but to humble us Himself (Mt 23:12). We can spiritually disarm ourselves of pride, greed, lust, and unforgiveness before these lethal weapons backfire and kill us. Cherish every moment of Advent. Accept every grace of humility and repentance. Only the humbled in Advent will be the joyful at Christmas.

Prayer:  Jesus, gentle and humble of heart, make my heart like Yours (Mt 11:29).

Promise:  "None of those who cry out, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of God but only the one who does the will of My Father in heaven." —Mt 7:21

Praise:  St. Ambrose advised that if you would wish to hold fast to Christ, "seek Him and be fearless of suffering" with the assurance that "Christ comes again and again to such a person."

Nihil Obstat:  Reverend Edward J. Gratsch, July 15, 2000

Imprimatur:  †Most Reverend Carl K. Moeddel, Vicar General and Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, July 17, 2000