Longing For Him Who Loves You – Repent Into the Embrace of God

Advent is the season of longing. It is when we give ourselves to the exploration of authentic yearning, desire, and longing. Not self-serving but self-giving and life-creating. We come to realize that desire, longing, and yearning are at the heart of who God is in Himself, how He is in relationship with us, and how we are to be in relationship with one another. That is saying a lot. Indeed, we have definitions of yearning, desire, and longing that could never allow for them to be statements about God’s inner life of communion. So, we need to realize these words are about fulfillment and not about progress. They are about something alive that is growing not about the assembling of a machine. They are personal/relational terms not mechanistic/propositional terms.

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Rejoice in the Spirit of Longing
[21] In that same hour he rejoiced in the Holy Spirit and said, “I thank thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hidden these things from the wise and understanding and revealed them to babes; yea, Father, for such was thy gracious will.
[22] All things have been delivered to me by my Father; and no one knows who the Son is except the Father, or who the Father is except the Son and any one to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.”
[23] Then turning to the disciples he said privately, “Blessed are the eyes which see what you see!
[24] For I tell you that many prophets and kings desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.” (Luke 10.21-24)

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The Pining of the Soul
“ Lord, my soul pines for your salvation” (Ps 118[119],81), that is to say in its expectation. Happy the weakness that expresses desire for a good that has not been gained but yet is passionately sought after. So who do these words refer to if not, from the origins of humankind to the world’s end, to the “chosen race, the royal priesthood, the people set apart” (1Pt 2,9), to every person who lived, lives or will live in desire for Christ, each in their own time?

The witness to this expectation is the holy old man Simeon, who exclaimed as he took the child into his arms : “Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation” (Lk 2,29-30). For he had received God’s promise that he would not taste death until he had seen Christ, the Lord. This old man’s desire – as we believe – was that of all the saints during the time that went before. This is why our Lord said to his disciples: “Many prophets and kings desired to see what you see and did not see it, to hear what you hear and never heard it.”

Therefore all these people must also be counted amongst those who sing : “My soul wastes away on account of your salvation”. Never, in those days, was this desire of the saints set to rest, and from now on it will never be set at rest in Christ’s body, his Church, until the end of the world, until there comes “the Desire of all nations” promised by the prophet (Hag 2,8 Vg)… The desire we are talking about comes from loving “Christ’s appearing” like the apostle Paul. It is of this that he said: “When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory” (Col 3,4). The Church in times of old, before the Virgin’s childbearing, included saints who desired Christ’s coming in the flesh. Today it includes other saints who desire Christ’s manifestation in his glory. From the beginning of the world to the end of time this desire of the Church will have no respite.
– Saint Augustine (354-430), Discourses on the Psalms, Ps 118, no.20

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Repent Into the Embrace of God
The Lord greatly loves the repenting sinner and mercifully presses him to His bosom: “Where were you, My child? I was waiting a long time for you.” The Lord calles all to Himself with the voice of the Gospel, and his voice is heard in all the world: “Come to me, my sheep. I created you, and I love you. My love for you brought Me to earth, and I suffered all things for the sake of your salvation, and I want you all to know my love, and to say, like the apostles on Tabor: Lord, it is good for us to be with You.”
–  St. Silouan the Athonite

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