Almighty and merciful God,
may no earthly undertaking hinder those
who set out in haste to meet your Son,
but may our learning of heavenly wisdom
gain us admittance to his company.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
In this Collect (the “opening prayer”) from Mass today, we ask God to take away everything which may keep us from seeking Christ in our lives. It seems quite appropriate for our busy lives these days. This takes two forms, God helping us in our earthly endeavors, and God guiding us toward Heavenly things.
We ask God today for help in all we do, so that these things may not get in our way. Sometimes this means to help us complete them, sometimes it means to relieve us from the burden they may place on us. Whether it is the task at hand keeps us busy, or a busy mind that doesn’t have time to seek higher things, God is always here to help us. Sometimes we need to remind ourselves that God really cares about these things, because He cares about us, and everything that occupies our lives.
We also ask God to help us by guiding us away from those things that consume our lives, toward those things that enrich our lives. This is where we are often mistaken about the importance of the happenings in our lives. Maybe it is hobbies or civic events or sports or any of a million things which we use to distract ourselves. Or maybe it is something more important, like family or career or volunteering, which are more central to our lives, but can be draining at times. In either case, we must seek out Christ in our lives, so that He may enrich all of these aspects of our lives. All of these things are good for our lives, and with God’s help they will be much more fruitful.
In all of this, let us not think that God doesn’t understand our lives. We often think that we are busier or have more to distract us in the modern world. But this prayer was written almost 1,400 years ago, when people were often too busy or distracted to focus on God in their lives, just like us. This is not just part of living in our age, it is part of being human. Let us use this Advent season to set ourselves on the right path, and recommit ourselves to giving God the time to help us by enriching our lives, the time that we need.