The Lion Lays Down

In this past week’s readings, I was struck by the verse “salvation is closer than when we first believed.” I was taken back to the moment when I first believed in Christ. I was able to see how far I’ve come in my walk with Him and how far I have yet to go.

The priest, commenting on this verse, said Advent is a time to begin an new chapter spiritually. This Advent, I’m hoping to rededicate myself to live a life of constant conversion.

One of my favorite images in Scripture is read this Sunday, Isaiah 11:6-9. It’s an image of predators at peace with their prey. It’s an image of how Christ levels the earth, humbling the mighty and lifting the lowly.

“Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat; The calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them.”

Isaiah 11:6

At first, I was tempted to do the hokey preacher interpretation: “Are you a Lion or are you a Lamb?” But really, I see both of these images in myself. I am at times a lion and at other times a lamb. Everyone has moments of strength and confidence and moments of weakness.

Christ is, of course, both of these. He is the Lion of Judah and the Paschal Lamb that was slain. In himself, Christ takes what is weak and strong and makes them one.

Christ came to take away our sins, we know this. But what we don’t always remember is that Christ came to take away our strengths as well. Every strength we possess needs to be abandoned completely to Him or we risk becoming prideful and our strengths become destructive.

This is how we beat our swords into plowshares and our spears into pruning hooks (Isaiah 2:4). Our strengths in our own hands are tools of destruction. In His hands, they are tools of growth.

I’m too tempted to leave my daily work in my own hands. This Advent, I want to place my whole self into the hands of Christ, not as a prized and valuable tool, but as a humble broom, used for a moment and left contentedly in the corner, like St. Therese saw herself.

I’ve been reading Soul of the Apostolate recently, and this is something he repeats over and over: our own efforts are only fruitful when they are Christ’s efforts. I’ll be writing about this more later this week.

P.S. Last year, I put together some of my favorite Advent songs in a Spotify playlist. This year, I decided to make it public.

Advent Playlist

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