For I, the Lord your God, hold your right hand; it is I who say to you, “Do not fear, I will help you.” Do not fear, you worm Jacob, you insect Israel! I will help you, says the Lord; your Redeemer is the Holy One of Israel. Now, I will make of you a threshing sledge, sharp, new, and having teeth; you shall thresh the mountains and crush them, and you shall make the hills like chaff. You shall winnow them and the wind shall carry them away, and the tempest shall scatter them.
Then you shall rejoice in the Lord; in the Holy One of Israel you shall glory. When the poor and needy seek water, and there is none, and their tongue is parched with thirst, I the Lord will answer them, I the God of Israel will not forsake them. I will open rivers on the bare heights, and fountains in the midst of the valleys; I will make the wilderness a pool of water, and the dry land springs of water. I will put in the wilderness the cedar, the acacia, the myrtle, and the olive; I will set in the desert the cypress, the plane and the pine together, so that all may see and know, all may consider and understand, that the hand of the Lord has done this, the Holy One of Israel has created it.
What a great refrain: “the hand of the Lord has done this.” Advent invites us to honor this power of God—past (in the birth of Jesus), future (in the return of the Lord), and present (in how God is with us now).
Advent beckons us with special Scriptures, with special people—Isaiah, the Baptist, Mary, Joseph—with special feelings, festivities, anticipations, hymns, and parish efforts. All these seasonal nudges are means to get our attention, so we can perceive all-the-more what “the hand of the Lord has done” in our lives.
Like Ignatius, we contemplate “the special favors” the Lord has done, re-affirming that the Lord is the provident hand in our lives—it’s not simply mere luck, happenstance, or my own doing.
Though St. Ignatius knew so keenly that “the gentle arrangement of divine providence requires (our) cooperation,” the Lord remains THE source of grace and blessings. So, throughout this day and season let’s bring to mind what “the hand of the Lord has done” for us.
—Fr. Richard Baumann, SJ serves as Tertian Director for the East Africa Jesuit province. He is a native of Cincinnati OH and a past provincial of the Chicago Province..
More than ever I find myself in the hands of God. This is what I have wanted all my life from my youth. But now there is a difference; the initiative is entirely with God. It is indeed a profound spiritual experience to know and feel myself so totally in God’s hands.
—Pedro Arrupe, S.J., in Hearts on Fire, ed. by Michael Harter, S.J. © Loyola Press, Chicago, 2004.Please share the Good Word with your friends!