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Thought of the day
Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Tuesday of the Third week of Advent
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Repenting at John the Baptist's cry as he prepares the way of the Lord

Blessed Guerric of Igny (c.1080-1157), Cistercian abbot 
5th sermon pour Advent (©Cistercian Fathers series)
Repenting at John the Baptist's cry as he prepares the way of the Lord

And now, with your indulgence, I cannot resist recalling the praises with which Isaiah foretold this way of the Lord's precepts... “And there will be there...”, he says, “in the terrible, trackless wastes, a path and a way... And it shall be called the holy way” (Is 35,7-8); holy, because it is the sanctification of sinners and the salvation of those who were lost...

“The unclean shall not pass over it.” But surely, Isaiah, those who are unclean will not therefore have to travel by another way? Certainly not: all must come to this one way and travel by it. For Christ, who “came to seek and save what had fallen” (Lc 19,10)... has laid down this way especially for the unclean. Does this mean then that the unclean will travel along the holy way? Not at all. However unclean a man is when he reaches it, he will no longer be unclean when he travels along it because once he starts along it he is already cleansed. The holy way does admit a man defiled, but immediately cleanses all admitted to it, because it cleanses the faults that have been committed... And that is why this way admits the defiled but does not let him travel along it in that state. The way is constricted and is like the “eye of the needle” (Mt 7,14; 19,24)...

       If you are on the way then fear only one thing: lest you leave it, lest you offend the Lord who leads you along it so that he would abandon you to wander in “the way of your own heart” (Is 57,17)... If you feel that the way is too narrow look forward to the end to which it leads you... If you cannot see so far, believe Isaiah who could; he is your eye. He must have seen, for he described the consequences: "Behold," he says, "the redeemed shall walk by this way and the ransomed of the Lord shall return and come to Sion with singing; everlasting joy shall be upon their heads. They shall obtain also joy and gladness, and sorrow and sighing shall flee away" (35,9-10).

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