A Carmelite Advent: St. John and Likeness to Christ

St. John and the Advent Wreath in our Chapel

“This law holds:/ That the lover becomes/ like the one he loves;/ For the greater their likeness/ The greater their delight.” St. John of the Cross

Perhaps the popular acronym “WWJD” should sometimes be “WHJD,” for What Has Jesus Done. To speculate what He would do in a particular situation is only possible if we are thoroughly familiar with what He has already done.

We as Christians profess we take Christ as the model of our life. Then His first act must be our first act, the foundation of our life. “God so loved the world that He sent His only Son.” When applied personally to my life, I can understand this to mean, “God was so madly in love with me, that His desire was communion with me and He is willing to do whatever it takes to achieve this union. It is His great delight.”

And so the Second person of the Blessed Trinity became like me. But His likeness is patterned on my true self. Sadly, in my sinfulness, I have fabricated a false self. Communion with God and this false self is impossible. The remedy is complete surrender and dependence as we see in the Incarnation.

Surrender and dependence are like the heartbeat of humility, the foundational characteristic of the spiritual life. They cannot be attained once and for all but must be the goal of countless daily efforts.

The gravity of my sinfulness is constantly pulling me towards control and independence. Yet Christ has set the pattern for my relationship with Him. As I prepare for His coming, for communion with the One I so dearly love and Who loves me more than the entire universe He created, I can spend these days truly trying to grown in my surrender to Him and dependence on Him, so that in love we may be more and more like each other.

Published in: on December 15, 2010 at 8:43 am  Comments (1)  

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  1. Thank you so, so much for this post! You cannot believe what this has meant to me! I was having such trouble with the incarnation recently- I could not relate to it! As I read your third paragraph I realised that the incarnation is truly how God, in his eternal majesty, revealed and reveals himself to us. Also, I realised that it is through Jesus that Man can relate to God, and God to man. It is a concept so simple that I do not know how I missed it! I think I was simply looking at it from the wrong angle, and your words jogged my feet into the correct position, so that, with God’s grace my eyes were opened. Thank you so much. For me that realisation has been the best and most surprising start to this new year.

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