The Angel Appearing to the Shepherds, 1833–34
“Glory to God in the highest
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” ~Luke 2: 14
Only those who obey God’s law can enjoy peace. Peace is tranquility, a tranquility that can be experienced as that one finds on a still sea – gentle, calm water.
The opposite of this peaceful scene would be wind and waves tossing one about here and there. Therefore, peace is the serenity of order. Order is established by God’s law and obedience to His will.
Peace for the soul would be experienced in the refreshment and repose it has in following God’s law and adhering to His will in spite of the struggles, challenges and sorrows that life offers.
This peace comes to men in “whom his favor rests”. God’s favor rests on those whose will is good and conforms to His. This “good will” is upright, directed sincerely and entirely to God. It is also good when it is docile. A docile will is ready to follow every inspiration of God’s will. Finally, a “good will” is resolute, promptly adhering to the will of God even when sacrifices are required or when obstacles and difficulties come.
A soul filled with peace and following the laws of God is a soul that gives glory to God.
(Divine Intimacy #33, Fr. Gabriel of St. Mary Magdalen, O.C.D.)
Enjoy this video meditation. For more information about the “O Antiphons” check out this page.
The poem, Romances, by St. John of the Cross is one most appropriate as a meditation for these last days of Advent, since it is one of his few works that takes up the themes of Advent and Christmas.
In Our Heavenly Father’s eyes, we are members of the Body of Christ. We are the Bride He has prepared for His Son from all eternity. In this poem St. John of the Cross paints a picture of this Bride.
This poem opens up a mystery that only those who say ‘yes’ to the Lord can fully see. And for us to do this we need to see with the eyes of Mary. Mary is the one person who was vigilant for the coming of the Lord. He came to her in her womb. More importantly, he came into her heart. He also yearns to come into our hearts.
The poem (which can be found here) ends with Mary holding her newborn babe, pondering how men acquainted with sorrow, now rejoice and how God so familiar with perfect joy, has found a way to take on man’s sorrows.
May our meditation on this poem help us appreciate this inexhaustible gift.
“In the Carmel of Granada he gave his spiritual daughter, Maria Machuca, the holy habit and the name Maria de la Cruz. She was brought to him in the speak room and it was remarked that he would probably “love her greatly because she was called ‘of the Cross.’ ” He replied: “Indeed I will love her greatly if she is a friend of the cross.” He used to urge the persons with whom he dealt to take the cross into their hearts. They should have “great predilection for suffering, purely for the sake of Christ alone, without seeking any earthly consolation.” Often he would say, “My daughter, ask for nothing other than the cross, and that, in fact, without consolation; for that is perfection.” (Science of the Cross, Edith Stein p. 276)