Today’s Gospel includes a verse that is very common to most Catholics: “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed” (Matthew 8:8). Catholics repeat this verse at every Mass shortly before receiving Communion. It is an excellent verse to guide all our preparations for Christmas.
In the prophet Isaiah we read, “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and humble spirit” (Isaiah 57:15). Every Jew knew that God dwelt in the Temple in Jerusalem, which was the “high and holy place.”
However, it was quite revolutionary to say that God dwelt in the individual soul (i.e. the humble spirit). The dwelling of God within the human person achieved a unique and profound fulfillment in the Incarnation of the Word of God in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. For nine months, the
Blessed Virgin Mary – properly speaking – had God dwelling within her. Imagine what her life must have been like during those nine months! I can imagine that she was enveloped in a profound silence as she focused her entire prayer and spiritual life upon God dwelling within.
This is also our mystery. Over time, the Church developed an “Incarnational theology” relating to the Eucharist. When we receive the Eucharist, we receive the Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity of Christ. Jesus truly dwells within us. We must learn from the Blessed Virgin Mary how to focus our prayer and spiritual lives to find God dwelling within. If we can achieve that goal, our Advent will be transformed. We will not be overwhelmed by the hustle and bustle and noise of our Christmas preparations. We will be enveloped in a gentle silence as we speak with God dwelling within. I cannot think of a better preparation for Christmas. Let us entrust this desire and our Advent journey to the Blessed Virgin Mary.
Steve Bollman experienced a personal call to found a ministry dedicated to the renewal of marriage and family life during the Great Jubilee. In 2002, Steve set aside his professional interests to answer that call, founding Paradisus Dei. Through Paradisus Dei, Steve launched the That Man is You! men’s program in 2004, and in 2014 began development of The Choice Wine: 7 Steps to a Superabundant Marriage. These programs integrate the teachings of faith, the findings of modern science and the wisdom of the ages while meeting individuals where they are—all hallmarks of Paradisus Dei programming. Steve’s writings have appeared in The National Catholic Register, Inside the Vatican and The Catholic Answers. He lives with his wife and daughters in Houston, Texas.