There is an old Latin adage: Nulla dies sine linea (no day without a line). As we journey through life, we need words of insight to guide us through the darkness. Sometimes the line comes from the word of God, sacred Scripture.
So what are some Advent lines that help us prepare for the great feast of our Lord’s Nativity? Isaiah the prophet, St. Paul and the Gospel of Mark provide us with both nourishment and enlightenment. Advent is a season to reflect seriously upon God’s vision and plan for us.
Isaiah! “…we are the clay, and you are our potter: we are all the work of your hands” (Is 64:7b). Isaiah knew full well that God both creates and shapes our lives. But the prophet also knew that, because of the gift and burden of freedom, we need not submit to God’s daily creative touch. Isaiah is not afraid to point out that we have sinned and turned away from God’s loving embrace. Caught up in selfishness, we are challenged to submit our minds and hearts to God’s kingdom.
Paul! Nulla dies sine linea. “God is faithful, and it was he who called you to fellowship with his son, Jesus Christ, our Lord” (1 Cor 1:9). The fidelity of God is made manifest in this Advent season. Our Creator God sent his son into the world to reconcile us to himself and thereby bring us salvation. Our vocation is to be in communion with Jesus and with one another. We are to practice the fidelity that God witnesses for us.
Mark! Does Mark have a line for us to make it through the day? “Be constantly on the watch! Stay awake!” (Mk 13:33). Vigilance is our Advent call. If our eyes are open and our ears attentive, we will apprehend the working of God’s grace all over the place: in the ministry at the homeless shelter, the visits to the prisons, in working for legislative reform, in the beauties of creation. But we need grace to stay awake; we need grace to respond to God’s ubiquitous presence.
Nulla dies sine linea. God will give us a line a day to keep the demons away. But the line given is to be shared so that others too might hear God’s call and experience God’s love.
Questions for reflection
1. What are some of your favorite lines?
2. With whom have your shared them?
3. Do admiration, trust and love protect and guard your faith?
Bishop Morneau is the auxiliary bishop of the Green Bay Diocese and pastor of Resurrection Parish in Allouez.