Favor Is the Key
Today, out of gratitude for the many blessings I have received, I will give something good to someone in need
by Father Barry O’Toole, LC | Source: Catholic.net
Introductory Prayer: I love
you, Lord, for you have loved me first. You have allowed me to see your provident hand in so many
events of my life; how can I not believe in you? These days of Advent have slipped away so quickly.
You are almost at my doorstep, ready to knock. I want to be ready for your arrival on Christmas Day.
Therefore, I pour out my humble plea before you.
Petition: Lord Jesus, mark my life with gratitude.
1. The Key Word: The Magnificat, and indeed the entire history of salvation, can be
summarized in the word “favor”. This is the true motive of Christmas. God looks with favor (or good
will) upon mankind. Many times, we see our spiritual life as the effort we make to become pleasing
in God’s eyes, drawing his blessings down upon us. This would mean that in some way we bring about
our own growth in holiness. This is not the case: God is never “obliged” to grant us his grace. We
do not “deserve” anything from God. Our spiritual life should consist in presenting ourselves before
God as we truly are: sinners. By placing our weakness before his omnipotence, we draw down his favor
to lift us up from our misery and to adopt us as his children. This is what happened as he “looked
with favor on the lowliness of his servant (Mary).”
2. The Gift of Himself: To demonstrate his immense love for us and to
give himself to us, God becomes one of us. Love makes us seek to become more like our beloved. How
could God become more like his beloved creature? He not only became man, but he shared the lot of
the poorest of the poor. Very few humans, even among the paupers, have been born in a stable. How
many babies are laid in the feeding trough of a cow or horse? Well, that is exactly what a manger
is. Though he was rich (he was God almighty), he became poor, to enrich us with his poverty. We need
to ask ourselves: what we are doing to become more like our beloved. ? What are we doing to imitate
Christ in his gift of self? Have we learned to put aside our whims and fancies in order to do the
things that are pleasing to our spouse, children or parents? These are the ways to prepare ourselves
for a grace-filled Christmas.
Blessings: The rest of the Magnificat is a glorification of God, recognizing the favors he
bestows upon those who love him. All generations will call us “blessed.” God will show the might of
his arm, he will lift up the lowly, and the hungry he will fill with good things…. We truly have so
much for which to be thankful. The challenge of our Christian lives is to be mindful of our
blessings and mark our actions with the seal of gratitude. We glorify God and we bless God when we
try to respond according to all the good he has done in our lives. Then in turn, others will call us
blessed, because our filial attitude opens the door for God to enter in and do still more good
through us. Do I count my many blessings often? Do I truly seek to “repay” God by cooperating, and
am I aware that in return he will bring about still more good and bless me more?
The best thing that could
happen to us is to “catch God’s eye,” to draw his attention to our misery and weakness and allow him
to lavish on us the riches of his Kingdom. Then, forever we will sing the praises of his
Conversation with Christ: Lord, as I prepare
my soul for your coming this Christmas, I invite you to enter my humble dwelling. Please do not pass
by without bestowing your blessings upon my poor soul. I need your grace. I will not leave your
presence today without at least a crumb from your banquet. Allow me to thank and praise you for your
infinite mercy as you look upon your lowly servant.
Resolution: Today, out of
gratitude for the many blessings I have received, I will give something good to someone in need.
Make an effort to attend Mass and, if possible, also receive Holy Communion