Be a dwelling for God

Daily Reading for December 11

Lots of people these days are seeking recollection, writing books about it, urging us to do it. It seems like a nice idea all right—until you try it. What a lot of the books don’t tell you about is the terror. To know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge may mean not knowing much of anything else.

With the peace and quiet of recollection may come the stark edge of fear that this doing nothing, this being, this offering of oneself for God to be the actor, cannot possibly be enough. It all seems so passive. Do something, produce, perform, earn your keep. Don’t just sit there. It may be good and well for Mary to offer space in herself for God to dwell and be born into the world, but few of us possess the radical belief such recollection requires.

What matters in the deeper experience of contemplation is not the doing and accomplishing. What matters is relationship, the being with. We create holy ground and give birth to Christ in our time not by doing but by believing and by loving the mysterious Infinite One who stirs within. This requires trust that something of great and saving importance is growing and kicking its heels in you. . . .

The intensity and strain that many of us bring to Christmas must suggest to some onlookers that, on the whole, Christians do not seem to have gotten the point of it. Probably few of us have the faith or the nerve to tamper with hallowed Christmas traditions on a large scale, or with our other holiday celebrations. But a small experiment might prove interesting. What if, instead of doing something, we were to be something special? Be a womb. Be a dwelling for God. Be surprised.

From Letters from the Holy Ground by Loretta Ross-Gotta (Franklin, Wis.: Sheed & Ward, 2000).

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