Reflection – 2nd Sunday of Advent – Cycle A

We all know the conversion story of St. Paul on the road to Damascus. It’s what might be called a thunderbolt moment, when Paul is powerfully stricken by the brightness of God and from then on his life changes for the good. This happens for other people, too, not just St. Paul, but it is very unusual. In fact, to use this story as the MainStay of conversion in the spiritual life is a mistake.
Conversion is a daily process. We may get a similar thunderbolt moment to St Paul in our own lives, but we must still afterwards put in the spiritual housekeeping to stay on track.
John the Baptist was a man of great asceticism, a monastic mind and spirit. His was a life of penance and redaction, a life ordered towards listening for the voice of God and ordering his whole existence towards that mentality. Monastic life today is the same. We listen out for the voice of God in ourselves and those around us, in our work and our recreation, and of course in our liturgy and scripture readings. All of this helps us to develop a series of daily conversions. We may go off track in our lives. But if we live towards God then hopefully we can get back on track. Faith is not a given certainty, like a possession, but a build up of daily decisions, prayer and thought processes – and of course the great gift from God that we must allow into our hearts through our free will. We must also sometimes learn how to begin again after failing.
John the Baptist made his whole life into such a search. Let us, in our Advent journey, emulate the Baptist as we realign ourselves with the will of God, and make his voice our own through faith.