Advent, the Ensign

O Root of Jesse, Which standest for an ensign of the people, before Whom kings shall keep silence, Whom the Gentiles shall beseech: come and deliver us, and tarry not.

Isaiah 11:10

An ensign is like a signal, standard, or a banner. It can point out a place where everyone of the same tribe is supposed to meet. And it states with clarity who you are, who you belong to, who is in charge.

We are less than a week out from that moment when we will all come together to meet for the culminating event…the birth of Christ. When I arrive at that spot, will it be obvious that I belong there, under the banner of the King? There have been several historical figures who have unfortunately had to point out to us that many Christians do not look like Christ. And they do not look like they have been redeemed. How do I know if all this preparation during Advent has truly made progress in my soul? What does the result of redemption, the result of a Christian life in progress, look like?

Am I able to remain happy, kind, and peaceful even in the face of irritable situations?

Am I stronger and calmer than I used to be as the waves of impatience try to come over the sides of my boat?

Am I wise when pride tries to blind me, taking each chance at humility by confessing faults and leaving off all excuses?

Am I beyond superficiality, choosing the deep silence of prayer to knee-jerk reactions?

I have had my moments, especially during Advent as I’m intently focusing, that prove I still have work to do. And moments that prove it’s worth the effort. I want to carry these habits I’ve been forming all the way to and beyond Christmas, all the way to the ensign of Heaven.

And so, I again look to Our Lady to continue walking with me. The one who was so full of God’s grace that she literally carried Him inside of her and then was so close to Him all the way. She had to choose to do that. Every day, every moment, every situation.

God had a plan. The Word became Flesh when she agreed for His plan to be carried out in her.

“Do not fear.” She was able to move forward when she truly chose not to, and instead to say, “Be it done.”

But this is only the beginning. Or rather, the middle. She spent her life leading up to that moment knowing, loving, and serving God, so that when the moment arrived, she didn’t need to figure it all out first. She took a very vague answer to her one little question and was ready to say yes. And she continued saying it as she lived out His plan. Bethlehem, yes. Egypt, yes. Back to Nazareth, yes. Calvary, yes. At each ensign she reached it was obvious she belonged there.

“In our personal lives there is a wonder unfolding. It is wonderful to keep going forward. Even Our Lady did not know the last page. The morning of the Resurrection was not the last page. She still had much work to do with the infant Church, which held together around her, her life still being placed at the service of His plan. Why didn’t Our Lord take her with Him right away? Nor was her life at the service of His plan completed at her own Assumption, because she is still the Mother of the Church. The Church is still living and it will go on until the end of time. And even then her work will not be done, because then it becomes the Church Triumphant of which she is still the Queen. And so, let us determine in all the events of each day to place our lives at the service of His plan. This is the happiest way that a person can live.”

Mother Mary Francis

O Wisdom, Order, and Prudence. I need You.

O Adonai, Leadership, Laws, and Redemption. I need You.

O Root of Jesse, Ensign, and Silence. If I am to keep going, I need You.

Sweet Mary, be that mother urging the Father to fulfill every desire on her child’s Christmas list. Be my guide to Him.

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