There is a great deal of noise in my life. A small part of it is a welcome addition, such as the joyful shrieks of young family members, the playful growl of my dog as we wrestle, etc., but most of it clamors to steal my attention away from things of greater importance. What's worse, I not only put up with this noise, I actually invite it in—I use such noise as an escape from the pressures of job, school, relationships, responsibilities.
In yesterday’s Gospel lesson (Matthew 8:5-11), the centurion, upon telling Jesus of his servant who is ill, and Jesus expressing his willingness to come and cure him, says, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you enter under my roof; only say the word and my servant will be healed.”
Only say the word.
Advent is a season of entreating the Word to say the word, of asking the Spoken to speak comfort and joy, health and life, love and mercy. But I fear that, with all the noise in my life, I may not be able to hear this word when it comes in a still, small voice, in the cry of a babe.
This Advent, my prayer is that I might bring personal determination to the centurion’s prayer, which the Catholic faithful claim for our own at each Mass just before receiving Christ, and that I may sacrifice the empty ease of noise for the unsettling silence—eagerly listening for the word, that my soul may be healed.