An Advent Message for the First Week of Advent

 

The Gift
Give me whatever enabled you to give it to me.

 

            Once upon a time, a monk, in his travels, found a precious stone worth a great deal of money.  The monk kept it wrapped in a cloth in his traveling bag.

            Along the way, the monk met another traveler.  As was the custom among the brothers, he offered to share his provisions with the stranger.  As the monk opened his bag, the traveler saw the jewel.  The traveler departed, overjoyed with the unexpected gift of the precious stone that would provide him and his family wealth and security for the rest of their lives.

            But a few days later, the man sought out the monk at his abbey and returned the stone, begging the good brother: “I have come to ask for something much more precious than this stone.  Give me whatever enabled you to give it to me.”

            To be able to give not from our treasure but from our need, to see others as if they were Christ, to take without hesitation the first step in being reconciled with someone from whom we are estranged, to love and trust and console and raise up another regardless of the cost to us—this is the “ruler” against which Christ calls us to live our lives, the “yardstick” of compassion by which we will one day be measured.   —Jay Cormier