1st Sunday of Advent
To Thee I lift up my soul, my God, in Thee I trust, let me not be put to shame, nor let my enemies laugh at me, for all who wait for Thee will not be confounded.
These are words of a soul that longs for God, and yet feels the pull down of the flesh and the world, down to all that is fleeting desire and sensual satisfaction, all that leaves the soul empty, ashamed and prone to despair. So the soul lifts itself up to God, in an effort to not allow the flesh to pull it downwards, for it knows that if it gives in to the pull of the senses, shame follows and the Enemy laughs.
These words are ones that we should remember whenever we are in the throes of temptation. The enemy is trying to trip me up, striving to get me carried away with the vanishing smoke of earthly satisfactions. If he succeeds, all hell laughs me to scorn. But if I resist, I have given joy to the angels, and Jesus Himself smiles at me.
The key is to know how to wait, for all who wait are not confounded. That is why patience is one of the most important of all virtues. There are no quick-fixes in life, much less in the spiritual life. Things take time. Our soul needs to become perfect by being tried in the fire. It is only by resisting the urge to run away and get some instant gratification that the soul grows, matures, and becomes saintly.
The prophet Isaiah, whom we are encouraged to read during Advent, has this to say: For thus saith the Lord God the Holy One of Israel: If you return and be quiet, you shall be saved: in silence and in hope shall your strength be (Is 30:15). Be quiet, keep silent, hope and wait, and you will find strength and perseverance, you will remain in peace.
Learn how to endure, to take blows, to give the Lord His time in coming to console when He knows it’s best. In the meantime, bear up under the trials and temptations. Lift up your soul to God, trust in Him, and you will not be ashamed, nor will the enemy rejoice over you.
Such is the fundamental attitude of Advent. If we have it, then we will be ready for the new birth of the Son of God at Christmas.