December 24, 2020

Dwelling Richly

(Reflection prepared for our vocation department's social media)

In the first reading for the Mass of Christmas Eve morning we hear how God takes the opportunity of David’s plans to build the house of God, the Temple, to turn the discernment around: it is God, rather, who will establish a house for David. (2 Samuel 7:11)

At Christmas we see this prophecy begin to come to its final fulfillment. Mary, in bearing the Lord in her womb, becomes the first tabernacle and the exemplar of the Church to come. She is, as St. Francis of Assisi puts it, the Virgin made Church. (A Salutation of the Blessed Virgin Mary)

Jesus Christ, who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, invites us into Holy Communion with him, that we, as the Church, might become a dwelling place for God in the Spirit. (Ephesians 2:22) In this way, the great feast of Pentecost, at which we recall and celebrate the Spirit as the abiding presence of Christ in his Church, peeks out even now at Christmas. Indeed, Pentecost is the fulfillment of the prophecy given to David; God builds for us a house in which he himself will dwell among us, our home and mother the Church.

As Blessed Isaac of Stella writes: “Christ dwelt for nine months in the tabernacle of Mary’s womb. He dwells until the end of the ages in the tabernacle of the Church’s faith. He will dwell for ever in the knowledge and love of each faithful soul.” (Office of Readings for Saturday of the 2nd week of Advent)

When you, faithful soul, discover the unique and unrepeatable way that Christ desires to dwell in you richly (Colossians 3:16), you have discerned your vocation.

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