Let Yourself be Loved
Wednesday December 21, 2005 Homily by Fr. Robert Altier Fourth Week of Advent
Reading (Song of Songs 2:8-14) Gospel (St. Luke 1:39-45)
In the first reading today from the Song of Songs, we hear about the lover coming to his beloved. Of course, we understand this in light of the Gospel reading today with regard to Our Lord and how He comes the way that a deer would come across the mountains, rather silent, quickly, but also rather stealthily. And so when we see Our Lady now coming through the mountains, as she goes up through Jerusalem to visit her cousin Elizabeth, we also recognize that Our Lord is completely hidden. First of all, He had come to our Blessed Lady in such a silent and hidden way, and now He comes to His own people in a similar manner over the hills. Yet this is the Beloved. This is the One Who loves humanity so much that He would come to His beloved, Our Lady, in a very personal and particular way, but to each and every person also in a very specific way.
He continues to come to each one of us, hidden and silent in the Blessed Sacrament. Just as He was present among us two thousand years ago (although, then, physically), so now He remains present with us (sacramentally). Still, He is there calling to each one of us. He is telling us, as He says, that the winter is past, the rains have gone, and now the flowers appear upon the earth. As we prepare for Our Lord’s birth, it is the true flowering of the earth. This is what the prophet Isaiah foretold, that the earth would bring forth its fruits, the greatest of which is Our Lord Himself, born with our human nature–the word human, remember, coming from the word humus, meaning “the earth, the ground.” And so definitely the earth has brought forth its fruit, and the garden makes its growth spring up.
From the Song of Songs, Our Lady is the garden enclosed, and Our Lord entered into that enclosed garden. But now this garden has brought forth her fruit and it is the fruit of her womb: Jesus, Who is God, Who has come to save us. He has come in such a silent way and in such a hidden way. Yet, at the same time, for anyone who happens upon the garden, the fragrance is unmistakable and it is truly irresistible, to be able to look upon the ultimate fruit, which is on the Cross, and to be drawn. Just as one would be drawn by the scent of a garden, by the beauty of the flowers, so too, right there at the Cross we have Our Lord bringing forth the fragrance of salvation for us; and right beneath the Cross, His blessed mother, the most beautiful of all the flowers of the earth. So when Elizabeth proclaims her to be most blessed among women, we recognize exactly what she is talking about, that she is the Mother of God; that she is the mother of all humanity that would believe in her Son; that this fruit that has come forth from her, the beloved of the Lord, is that which draws each one of us to also be His beloved.
That is something each one of us really needs to be able to accept, that Jesus Christ loves us so much that He speaks to our souls; He calls to us and says, Let Me see you, let Me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet and your face is lovely. He is talking to us spiritually. He desires our souls and He wants us to be His beloved. He wants us to accept His love, to be able to unite ourselves with Him, and to allow Him to unite Himself to us. Again, think of what we heard in the Gospel yesterday as it carries through to today: Our Lord came to His mother and He asked her if she would be willing to allow Him to unite Himself to her, and she said, Let it be done unto me according to Thy word. And what do we do? We get into the false humility thing: “Oh, I’m so rotten. No, this couldn’t happen; I’m too bad for this; I’m too much of a sinner. No, Lord, this couldn’t be. Not me.” Why not? Jesus Christ is in love with you and He wants you to accept His love, to quit fighting Him, to quit rejecting it, to quit pushing it away, and to follow the pattern of our Blessed Lady, to accept His love, to receive His love, to open your heart and let Him in so that then, just as Our Lady, you can bring Him into the world and He can come to a people who do not know Him. Just as He was in the womb of Our Lady and in her Immaculate Heart, so too, each one of us can bring Him out into the world so that once again He can come springing over the mountains and leaping across the hills in the joy of our hearts and in the love that we have for Him and that He has for us.
That is what He wants for us. What He wants is for this world to be transformed through those who receive His love and through those who cooperate with Him. We are the ones that He has chosen for this task, if we are willing to do it, just as every single baptized person is called to that same task. It is the most glorious thing in the world. Our Lady, more blessed than any of us and all of us combined, is certainly the one who shows us the way. But now it is for us to imitate her example, to be able to open our hearts and receive the Beloved of our souls, the One Who loves us and calls us to Himself, and to allow ourselves to be loved.
* This text was transcribed from the audio recording of a homily by Father Robert Altier with minimal editing.