Here is today’s New Testament reading, from Philippians: ‘I thank my God in all my remembrance of you, always in every prayer of mine for you all making my prayer with joy, thankful for your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now. And I am sure that he who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ. For God is my witness, how I yearn for you all with the affection of Christ Jesus. And it is my prayer that your love may abound more and more, with knowledge and all discernment, so that you may approve what is excellent, and may be pure and blameless for the day of Christ, filled with the fruits of righteousness which come through Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God’.

St Paul looks forward with intensity to ‘the day’ of Jesus Christ – this ‘day’ is a major theme of Advent. St Benedict put it this way: ‘As we progress in our monastic life and in faith, our hearts shall be enlarged, and we shall run with unspeakable sweetness of love in the way of God’s commandments; so that, never abandoning his rule but persevering in his teaching in the monastery until death, we shall share by patience in the sufferings of Christ, that we may deserve to be partakers also of his kingdom’. It is all the work of grace, but we need to play our part to the full – here St Benedict lists perseverance and patience, always looking forward to ‘the day’ of eternity.

May we remain open to the grace of God, and do all that is in our power to respond. May God bless you in this.