Christmas Eve Meditation from In Conversation With God, Vol. 1
29. Waiting for Jesus
29.1 Mary. Spirit of Recollection. Spirit of Prayer.
Through the tender mercy of our God, when the day shall dawn upon us from on high to give light to those who sit in darkness and the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace (Luke 1:78–79). Jesus is the Dawn who gives light to our existence. If we want everything we do to have meaning, it must be done with reference to him.
In a very special and extraordinary way Our Lady’s life centres around Jesus. And especially so on this, the eve of her son’s birth. We can hardly begin to have any idea of what the spirit of recollection within her soul was like.
She was always recollected. And that is how we must learn to be; we, whose thoughts are so dissipated and so distracted by things of little importance! Only one thing is really important in our lives: Jesus, and everything that refers to him.
After original sin, the soul lost its dominion over the senses and its natural orientation towards the things of God. It was not so in Our Lady: but it is in us. In her, who had been preserved from original sin, all was harmony, as at the beginning of creation. Moreover, she was adorned by the presence, altogether singular and extraordinary, of the Blessed Trinity in her soul.
Mary is always at prayer because she does everything with reference to her Son: when she talks to Jesus she prays, for prayer is ‘to talk to God’. She prays each time she looks at Him that is prayer too — to look with faith at Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament, truly present in the tabernacle. She prays when she asks him for something or whenever she smiles at him. Her life was determined by Jesus, and her thoughts were set permanently on him.
Her interior spirit of recollection was constant. Her prayer blended with her very life, with her work and with her attention toward others. Her interior silence was richness, fullness, and contemplation.
Today we ask her to give us this interior spirit of recollection, which is necessary if we are to see and to talk to God, who is also very close to our lives.
Prayer: O Antiphons
O WISDOM, who came from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end ot end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: Come, and teach us the way of prudence.
O LORD AND RULER of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the flame of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: Come, and redeem us with outstretched arm.
O ROOT OF JESSE, who stands for an ensign of the people, before whom kings shall keep silence and unto whom the Gentiles shall make supplication: Come to deliver us, and tarry not.
O KEY OF DAVD, and Scepter of the House of Israel, who opens and no man shuts, who shuts and no man opens: Come, and bring forth the captive from his prison, he who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death.
O DAWN OF THE EAST, brightness of the light eternal, and Sun of Justice: Come, and enlighten them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.
O KING OF ALL NATIONS and their desired One, the Cornerstone that makes both one: Come, and deliver man, whom You formed out of the dust of the earth.
O EMMANUEL, God with us, our King and Lawgiver, the expected of the nations and their Savior: Come to save us, O Lord our God.