We are now in the season of Advent, and last week we reflected on the surprises that life brings to us – some of them great and exciting, others unpleasant and devastating. All of these surprises can be received in faith, knowing how the Lord can transform evil and pain into goodness and joy… if we trust, if we believe!


Today, we imagine going on a road trip to some faraway, rural area where the biggest problem is the road. It is a bumpy, dusty, dirt road, maybe just a cleared path. Have you ever passed through a road like that?


Not only is travel in an unpaved road slow. It also is tiring and painful to the body. It does not rock to sleep like a baby in a crib. It shocks the hell out of you as it throws your body left and right, up and down… and forward too! That is why after such a travel, our body usually aches… and although we were just sitting in the vehicle, we feel we have hiked all the way up to our destination.


Both Isaiah in the first reading (Is 40) and St John in the Gospel (Mk 1) call for a construction work on the road of our lives. The Lord is coming and we cannot let him travel the road of our lives that will give him fatigue… that will give him trouble along the way.


Fill up the valleys… make the mountains low… make straight the crooked ways… Our life is full of these valleys, mountains and twisted roads… The only construction work that can make the road better and pave the way for the coming of the Lord is none other than penitence.


Yes, in Advent time, we cannot just think anticipatedly of Christmas – its celebrations, its joys, its feasting – without confronting the fact that we have to prepare for the coming of Jesus in our hearts, most specially through penance. In Italy, there is a custom that everybody should go to Confession before Christmas day in order to present to the Lord a clean heart.


According to St Francis de Sales, penance alone can fill up the valleys, lay low the mountains and make straight the zigzag roads of our lives. 


Through penance, we can lower the mountain of our pride… or whatever it is that makes your feel superior to others (is it manipulation, anger, avoidance, lack of communication with loved ones or with enemies?)


Through penance we can fill up the valleys of our mediocrity… or whatever it is that makes you feel down and useless (is it laziness, halfhearted behavior at work, indifference to people around you, lack of initiative, lack of faith and trust?)


Through penance we can make straight the tortuous paths of our sins… of whatever it is that makes you feel conflicted in your heart (is it selfishness, hatred for others, unforgiveness, vices and bad attitudes?)


You know better what constitutes your mountains, valleys and twisted roads. The Lord who wants to come nearer to us at this time offers us the chance to confess, repent and to repair the roads of our lives.


He loves us so much that he will still come whatever is the condition of our hearts. Do we love him enough to start preparing the way for our meeting, for our union, for our embrace?


Take time this week to see what you can do to prepare your heart worthily for the coming of Jesus, for the joyful season of his birth.



Pls share with a friend… image above borrowed from the internet; thanks!