Daily Office Readings for Tuesday of the 4th Week of Advent 2020: Year 1
“The angel replied, ‘I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to bring you this good news. But now, because you did not believe my words, which will be fulfilled in their time, you will become mute, unable to speak, until the day these things occur.” (Luke 1: 19 and 20)
The angel Gabriel lost his patience with Zechariah because he doubted. So he made Zechariah mute until an appointed time. I’m guessing that was okay with God since angels have the blessing and authority from God. It seems angels and saints from the court of heaven have some latitude as far as we mortals are concerned. We’d best be careful.
Being mute may not be such a bad thing. When I am silent, my mind opens. I am then able to realize more about what is going on in the world and with me personally, than when I am running my mouth. This is why meditative prayer is so important. Many of the saints that I have studied, like St. John of the Cross and Evelyn Underhill for example, were muted with imprisonment or sickness (respectively), when they created their greatest works of writing. So how about you and me volunteering to be muted in order that we too might receive divine inspiration?
About angels; they never come or go. They are revealed and then they are hidden. But they are always with us, even if not seen, and even while with us, they stand in the presence of God. And having divine authority from on high, they watch us closely. Perhaps it is from them, angels like Gabriel, that we too receive our revelations from God. But let us not be forced into quietness. Rather, let us make a few moments of quiet resolve a part of our natural daily rhythm. Zechariah was probably angry when muted. But let’s look at what Zechariah gleaned from his quiet time from the Gospel of Luke:
“Blessed be the Lord God of Israel, for he has looked favorably on his people and redeemed them. He has raised up a mighty savior for us in the house of his servant David, as he spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old, that we would be saved from our enemies and from the hand of all who hate us. Thus he has shown the mercy promised to our ancestors, and has remembered his holy covenant, the oath that he swore to our ancestor Abraham, to grant us that we, being rescued from the hands of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days. And you, child, will be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his ways, to give knowledge of salvation to his people by the forgiveness of their sins. By the tender mercy of our God, the dawn from on high will break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace.” (Luke 1: 68 to 79)
Let us hear what the Spirit is saying to, and through, the saints of God, and then ponder anew what the Almighty can do. John