Advent preparation; O Sapientia and considering spiritual pride.

The first O Antiphon on the eight day count down to Christmas is O Sapientia that is O Wisdom.  Part of the getting ready and sorting out is to be sure we are obeying Christ’s insistence that we seek first the Kingdom. If we are not doing that, we are not going to find it. If we are seeking it, that is wise, if we aren’t that is foolish. And if we think we’ve found it and so don’t need to do any more we will find our lamps have no oil when the Bridegroom approaches and that is very very foolish.

Every day we need to pray for God to assist us to find Him “Oh God come to my aid, Oh Lord make haste to help me!” is said every day in Divine Office. This is accepting that we can’t pray or meditate on Scripture without His help. He gives wisdom and we need to keep asking for it.

Any journey will have it’s dangers. There are all sorts of wrong turns we can take and nasty surprises that might hurt us or delay us. But we must not lose sight of the fact that Jesus calls us to seek first the Kingdom. Advent is a great way to remind us which in direction we should be moving and which star we should be following.

One thing we should certainly not be following is our feelings. How it feels is hardly ever how it is. Wasn’t it Jeremiah who warned against following our hearts?

Humility is the most difficult virtue to cultivate. It is too easy to tell Christ where we would like Him to walk with us, as we go, rather than agree to walk with Him wherever He goes. I know it is much easier to spot lack of humility and down right pride in other people, than in ourselves, but perhaps we can use this tendency as a way to examine our own consciences.

I listen to Catholic Answers and as I’ve had so much wrapping, sorting, cooking and just plain catching my breath, to do recently, I’ve listened to more than usual. I’ve also listened to more of the lectures from the Institute of Catholic Culture which I highly recommend. Anyway, something has hit me as I listened and it is this; the great lectures that the ICC offer have a sort of quiet, gentle and joyful holiness to most of them. (I have come across a couple of truly grating lecturers who give the wrong impression but the rest are wonderful). On Catholic Answers the guests and Mr Coffin the anchor always seem gentle, polite and very honest. But sometimes those who phone in can come across as astonishingly proud and ignorant at the same time. Almost invariably with these callers the question comes back to them – how it feels for “me”. The more polite caller will become a bit smarmy and slippery insisting that the way they “feel” is the only judge of what is right.

Seeking wisdom is tough, and falling into the pit of spiritual pride is too easy, but if we spend every day admitting we need wisdom and begging God to show us His wisdom we might just side step the pit.

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