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Monday, November 28, 2005

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Isaiah 2:1-5
Psalm 122
Matthew 8:5-11

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up, up, and away

"Come, let us climb the Lord's mountain." —Isaiah 2:3

Advent is like climbing a mountain. It takes time, preparation, and perseverance to reach the mountaintop. Likewise, to receive all that Jesus has for us this Christmas, we need the discipline and discipling of Advent.

Often in mountain climbing, you can't see the mountaintop. You're surrounded by tall trees; your view is blocked by a mountain spur; you dip down to a low point in the trail. When the trail opens up and you can finally glimpse the mountaintop, it often looks no closer than it did a few miles ago.

Likewise, during our Advent journey, we might come to feel we are getting nowhere. We might feel no extra inspiration or see no spiritual progress despite our Advent prayers, Masses, and Confession. Nonetheless, keep moving forward. Don't "give in to discouragement" and stop moving (2 Cor 4:1). Even if you see no progress, "walk by faith, not by sight" (2 Cor 5:7).

A renowned mountaineer was once asked why he wanted to climb a high mountain. He answered, "Because it's there." That's why we want to climb the Lord's mountain: because Jesus is there. Jesus is Emmanuel, God-with-us (Mt 1:23), and He will make sure we reach the mountaintop of Christmas. With Jesus, we can move miles in a very short time (see Jn 6:21). He can make our spiritual "feet swift as those of" the deer and enable us "to go upon the heights" (Hab 3:19). Therefore, have faith in Jesus and "climb the Lord's mountain" every day of Advent (Is 2:3). Jesus is looking for faith (Mt 8:10). "Come, let us climb" (Is 2:3).

Prayer:  Father, renew my strength that I may walk, run, and soar with You this Advent (Is 40:31).

Promise:  "One nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again." —Is 2:4

Praise:  John prepared during Advent to meet Jesus at Christmas. However, John met Jesus in his own death before Christmas, fully prepared for everlasting life.

Reference:  (This teaching was submitted by a member of our editorial team.)

Rescript:  †Most Reverend Daniel E. Pilarczyk, Archbishop of the Archdiocese of Cincinnati, April 21, 2005

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