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Advent Reflection Week 1
“I am the maidservant of the Lord. Let it be done to me as you say.” Lk. 1:26-38
Here Mary is faced with one of God’s favorite scenarios; it might be called the doublebind. The double-bind does not consist in the choice between what is obviously good and obviously evil—that is a temptation—but of not knowing which is good and which is evil. The dilemma may arise in another form: one cannot decide which of two apparent goods is God’s will. For a delicate conscience, this causes deep trouble. The turmoil comes from wanting to do God’s will and not knowing what it is. As a consequence, one feels torn in two directions at once. Two apparent but opposing goods demand one’s total adherence, and both seem to be God’s will. People on the spiritual journey regularly find themselves in such double-binds, which may even become more searching as the journey proceeds…
As human beings, we cannot presume that God will do something that has never been done before (although the angel said, “Nothing is impossible with God.”) But we can be sure that if we allow the creative energies of the double-bind to do their work, at some moment we will find ourselves in a higher state of consciousness. Suddenly we will perceive a new way of seeing all reality. Our old world view will end. A new relationship with God, ourselves and other people will emerge based on the new level of understanding, perception and union with God we have been given. The double-bind frees us to grow into an expanded relationship with all reality beginning with God. During Advent, as we celebrate the renewed coming of divine light, we receive encouragement to open to God’s coming in any way that he may choose. This is the disposition that opens us completely to the light.
Excerpt from The Mystery of Christ, chapter 1, by Fr. Thomas Keating