Veni O Clavis David: An Advent Reflection 

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By Sister Algen Mari B. Castañeto 

O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel; qui aperis, et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperit: veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in tenebris, et umbra morti. 

Dear Lord,  

How do You want me to share You today? 

This has been my prayer for the past few weeks, for I could not come up with a thought, an idea or the manner of writing my reflection. I have searched throughout sources and on the Internet, and wracked my brain in the hopes that I could stumble upon something that would touch my being and make me know that this is what You want me to share. My time for the submission of my reflection is running out! But You are indeed great and Your timing is always perfect, for You have allowed me to experience both the agony and the hope in waiting for You. Just as the Psalm goes… My soul waits with eager longing for God alone… (Psalm 62; Romans 8)

And in the span of waiting, You have revealed to me three points for reflection. The first point is that truly, only You, Jesus, can fit into the locks of our hearts, and have all the power and authority to unlock it and bring us all to freedom. The evil in this world sets up a bait and lures each soul to its utter ruin. We naively follow the trend, thinking “what can go wrong?” Everybody is doing it, and they looked fine or even better. We are like the mice following the piper. We lose our sense of direction and it’s too late before we realize that we are already trapped in our own prisons and we have lost our ways. But we have hope in You, Lord for you have told us: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27) You never tire to look for us; knock on the doors of our hearts and set us free from the bondage of our sinfulness. Only You, Jesus, can fill the void and satisfy the emptiness within us and can make us aware of our imprisoned state, when we are blinded by the darkness of our sins, when we are made deaf by the noise of violence and chaos within and around us, and when we are made numb to all the pain. It is only You, Jesus, who can make us see that we have become indifferent, and we unknowingly get ourselves trapped in darkness without escape. And it is only through You, Jesus, that we can be freed. 

The second and third points of reflection that You have invited me to ponder were revealed to me through our speaker, a priest, when I attended an inter-congregational Sister’s Congress just this past week. The speaker talked about the synodality of the church, and used Pope Francis’ reflection on Jesus knocking on the door (Rev. 3:20). It is true Jesus, that you want to enter deep within our hearts and are knocking for us to let You in. However, the reverse imagery Pope Francis used struck me. We have locked you inside the church! You are knocking on the door of our church (in this case, of our hearts) not to come in but to go out. Because once You are inside a person, You also desire to go out. Unfortunately, we tend to keep You for ourselves and treat You as our own property, and we’ve become self-referential and indifferent to the world. You have reminded us that we are not to treat You as our own property, but rather as the One who is meant to be shared with the world.  

And the last and final point that You have invited me to reflect on are the expressions of synodality found within myself. How have I become after receiving you into my heart? Have I become welcoming, especially to the marginalized, the poor and the needy? Have I become a seeker of the lost? Have I gone out of my comfort zone and to search for and reach out to others? Have I become more listening than talking? Have I become humbler, or have I felt more entitled? And lastly, have I become joyful? After receiving You as the source of my life, have I become life-giving to others? 

O key of David and scepter of the house of Israel, You open and no one closes; You close and no one opens: Come, and deliver those from the chains of prison who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death! 

And just as the antiphon goes, once I have received You, Jesus, into my heart, there is no turning back, and there is no other option but conversion and transformation. My heart seeks your voice and stays unsettled until it finds its rest in You. And when I find You, let me love You so I can truly witness to the world that it is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me! (Gal. 2:20). May You, O Lord, be praised forever! Amen.