Commentary of the Day
“I overflow with hope in your word” (Ps 118:81 Vg)… The soul does not have just a bare hope in God; it overflows with hope, hope mounting upon hope as trial comes upon trial, delay upon delay. I am absolutely sure that in the end “he will appear and will prove not to have deceived me”; so “in spite of the delay he imposes I shall go on waiting for him confidently, because he certainly will come and will not be later” (Hab 2:3 Vg) than the most timely day.
When will this timely day be? When the full number of all these brethren of ours has been reached (Rv 6:11) and the time of mercy set for penance is completed. Listen to Isaiah… tell us with what design the Lord puts off the judgment for a time: "The Lord delays so that he can be merciful towards you, and thus he will be honored for having spared you. The Lord is a God of judgment; blessed is everyone who waits for him" (30:18). So, if you are wise, give an eye to yourself and see how you are using this delay. If you are a sinner, do not be heedless but take the opportunity to repent. If you are holy the time is given you to progress in holiness, not to slip away from the faith. For if “the evil servant said in his heart: ‘My Lord's coming is delayed,’ and began to behave brutally towards his subordinates, even indulging in feasting and carousals with drunken companions, it will be a day he did not know upon which the Lord of that servant will return and mark him out and give him a place among the hypocrites”…
This is the proper way of waiting for the Lord, keeping his troth. Even though we may miss the consolation of his presence we must not look about us adulterously but wait in suspense for his return. The Lord says this in the same prophet: “The people will wait in suspense for my return” (Hos 11:7 Vg). Fitting indeed it is that the people should be in suspense, as it were, between heaven and earth, unable as yet to grasp heavenly affairs but preferring even so not to have contact with those of earth.
by Blessed Guerric of Igny (c.1080-1157), Cistercian abbot
From: 1st Sermon Advent, 2-3 ; SC 166 (trans. ©Cistercian publications Inc. 1970)