“Come, let us climb the Lord’s mountain, to the house of the God of Jacob, that he may instruct us in his ways, and we may walk in his paths.” (Isaiah 2).
A very long time ago, while I was in college, a group of my classmates decided to go up to the White Mountains, and climb one of them. Which one, I cannot remember, I want to believe it was one of the smaller ones. I was invited to join in this “adventure.” Now keep in mind, I was much heavier than I am now, and I was definitely out of shape. But I went anyway.
Now it was fall, the leaves on trees in New Hampshire were just coming into their peak color. We had rented a large cabin for the weekend, we slept on the floor in sleeping bags, and the next morning, we began our hike.
It did not take long for me to realize that this may not have been one of my brighter ideas. I was starting to have having problems; I told them to leave me, I was going to sit on some rocks by the trail, and I would join them on their way down. They were not having it. They literally dragged me up to the summit. And when we made it to the top; and I could catch my breath; I looked out over the mountain range. It was one of those rare days when everything was crisp and clear, and beautiful. The foliage was in full color; you could see the beauty of the mountain range for miles. And I thank God for getting me up there.
We are all at the beginning of another Advent season, the first of two penitential periods on the Church’s calendar. A time of preparation, a time of reflection, a time for penance, a time of renewal. We are all called to make that journey up to “the mountain of the Lord’s House.” To reach where God dwells. It is a journey, a climb that began the moment we were born; the moment we were baptized and confirmed. But how many of us take this journey seriously? Or have we come to believe that this journey is too much for us, that we will just stop here and “rest.” But Jesus is not willing to give up us, He continually calls us again and again, to go forward! He gives us His body and blood to refresh us, to strengthen us; and the Holy Spirit will continue to inspire us, show us the path we are called to travel, and give us that kick in the pants to get up, and get going. And the Father waits for us patiently, lovingly.
Now there are many paths up that mountain, and we each have our own unique journey to make. And Advent is a perfect time to reflect on how our journey, how our life of faith is going. And we can see if a course correction is needed; to and determine what might be holding us back, and what needs to be jettisoned. Advent is an opportunity to refresh our soul, and begin the journey again, reaching for the top, and experiencing the glory and love of God!
“So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come.”