An Advent question: What dispositions of mind and heart do we need in order to be available for the graces God offers in this holy season?
Two seemingly disparate images have invited me into some answers. How can a simple water jug carried to the village spring and a TSA airport security checkpoint resonate with today's readings?
The first image is from "La Humildad de María," a poem by Benjamín González Buelta SJ: "She is completely open to the impossible, just as the mouth of the water jug she carries on her shoulder receives the water from the spring." In Spanish, the verb "acoger" means also to welcome, to take in. As I pray with this image, I ask Mary to carry me on her shoulder and then lower me into the spring and to help me be open and available - to welcome, to receive, to take in God's grace just as she did the Word.
Today's Scripture invites us: "Come, let us climb;" "let us go." And when? "You know the time; it is now the hour;" "You must be prepared;" "at an hour you do not expect..." Perhaps the airport security line speaks more to our 21st century experience than a water jug and spring, or the imagery of today's Gospel, of grinding meal or working in a field. On November 1, a Jesuit from LMU, Los Angeles was heading through LAX, having reached security when the shooting began. Shoeless, beltless, empty-pocketed, his wallet, cell phone, belongings on the conveyer belt, he heard the unexpected call: "Let's go...leave everything, run, follow me." Life was at stake and his life was all he carried with him into a secured zone where he would wait with his fellow travelers for an all clear.
Like Mary, whose water jug symbolizes her humility, openness, and fidelity to grace in the everyday, and our brother at the airport, disposed and detached enough to leave everything and run, we are called to be available to the impossible made possible by God's grace.
 La Pascua de los sentidos, ©2013, Sal Terrae
--Ceil Cavanaugh SSJ