Archive for December, 2022

no longer dismayed

December 13, 2022 Leave a comment

The Christmas contemplative knows that hope is a gift, an undeserved gift of peace, but that is also a call to decision—the decision to trust…

Hope thrives on the difficulty and challenges the conclusion that our only contribution to the world will be, in the words of T.S. Eliot, “an asphalt driveway in front of our home and a thousand lost golf balls.” Hope convinces us that in clinging to our miserable sense of security and status quo, the possibility of growth and greatness is utterly defeated. Hope says that I no longer need to be dismayed over my personal dishonesty and self-centeredness and feeble life of faith. That I no longer need to feel defeated, insensitive, and superficial.

Because the question no longer is: Can I do it? Am I able? Can I overcome my moodiness, my laziness, my sensuality, my grudges and resentments? The only question is: Is Jesus the Christ able? Can my Savior, the Lord of my life, revive my drooping spirit and transform me at Christmas as he transformed the world through his birth at Bethlehem?

—From Reflections for Ragamuffins by Brennan Manning

“The only question is: Is Jesus the Christ able?”


In another Advent reading this morning, I was reminded that we Americans suffer with a lot of self-hate. The author went on to explain that we’ve set ourselves up for all kinds of self-disappointment because we’ve got the wrong agenda… the wrong influencers… and we’re so damn competitive. Another suggestion was that we’re too cozy with the whims of image makers who found a little success in their niche, and somehow… magically… by our swallowing all they promote and spin… the same is guaranteed for us. We are that gullible, and it appears we are starving for validation, recognition, and significance. Here’s the quote that kinda tipped me over:


“Competition is simply our name for domination. Whenever you create a society that has to define itself by power and success, there will have to be those who are powerless and the non-successful. And that’s the vast majority of the people in our society. People in our society are set up to lose.”—Rohr


I’ve never really thought a lot about the HOPE inside Advent, but man oh man… do we ever need HOPE!  Manning’s words set us on the right rails.  It all leads to the question: IS JESUS ABLE? That’s where the living waters reside.  That is what quenches and extinguishes the raging fires of self-hate and dissatisfaction with ourselves. We no longer have to be dismayed OR found groping for another affirmation of our value. So, Yes! Our God is able. Yes! That’s our real HOPE. Yes, say it again: Jesus is able. Amen.

Have a blessed Christmas! Much joy, love, peace, and hope! —MDP



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