The Sixth Day in the Octave of Christmas
Jesus “grew and became strong, filled with wisdom; and the favor of God was upon him.” In the spiritual life, our souls also grow in strength, wisdom, and grace. But unlike our physical body, which reaches a certain maturity and then begins to decline, our soul keeps growing through every age, every experience, every crisis of life. But the growth of the soul can be in either of two directions. It can grow in the way it was intended: toward a deeper union with God, or it will grow in closer cooperation with the world and get caught up in the world’s concerns.
It is not easy to choose love for God over love for the world. After all, God made the world good and beautiful. But to give the world our soul’s deep love is, as St. Augustine says, “as if a bridegroom were to give a ring to his bride, and she came to value the ring more than the one who gave it. By all means, let her love the bridegroom’s gift, but if she were to say, ‘The ring is enough for me, I don’t want to see his face,’ what sort of woman would this be?”
Let us imitate Anna, who sought the love of God over love for the world, “worshiping day and night in fasting and prayer.” Then our souls will indeed grow in strength, wisdom, and grace.
Reflection by Abbot Benedict Neenan, OSB