“May the Holy One come down like gentle rain;
may the earth burst into blossom and bear the tender Savior.“
This is one of the loveliest lines I prayed this Advent from my Breviary (Bro Utoy has a good post on this). My new Breviary, by the way, is a gift from my MSC friend. The past decade, I switched from the official Breviary post-seminary to the People’s Companion to the Breviary with a very inclusive language and beautiful readings ranging from Leonardo Boff to Mary Ruether, to the New Zealand Prayer Book. The NZPB has fished me out because of its beautiful and simple prayers in contemporary English. But lately in my “desert years,” there was this inner voice crooning on me to rejoin the choir of Catholic communion, millions of them, fingering the mazelike pages of the Breviary. More than ever, I develop an almost monastic discipline with my wife and son, surpassing even my seminary statistics. The minor swerves here and there – what can I say – have pulled me back to the Bible this time with a devouring hunger for the life-giving Word of God. At times, I would dwell on one Scripture passage for one week, wear it like my 24/7 shirt.
Back to the quote above, it is actually in contrast to the idea of Advent waiting of Paul and the early Christians. Waiting for this ragtag band of Jesus followers was waiting for the Savior who would light the final cosmic firecracker of the end time. Two-thousand years have passed and we remain humbled by the uncertain date of His second coming. But what is so endearing to me about the quote is how the Holy One can come down like gentle rain. How lovely, how gentle a presence! Nothing armageddon-like. It’s as gentle a voice that whispered King David: “Here you are living in a house of cedar while the ark of God dwells in a tent.” From this voice gentle as a rain, David built God’s house. It’s as gentle an angelic announcement: “Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son and you shall name him Jesus.” I would love an angel speak to me under the starlights while listening to Jim Brickman’s same-titled piece. House of cedar. Tent. Womb. God’s presence gentle as a rain could pitter-patter in my pavement and dwelling and change the trajectory of my life and of those around me. It did upon a makeshift manger and still been showering. I want to catch it one Bible passage at a time, one prayer at a time, one small act of kindness at a time. Happy 4th Sunday of Advent!
Photo credit: Burning Image