Worth Revisiting Wednesday – This post originally appeared on December 7, 2014.
My kids are into Legos right now. They are perhaps not my favorite toy, to which the bottom of my foot will testify.
But Legos—excuse me, interlocking brick construction systems—are at least an interesting case-study in human desire. To wit: Kid A desperately wants Lego Set X. He thinks, speaks, and dreams of Lego Set X. He obtains Lego Set X—rejoicing! He constructs Lego Set X. It’s fun.
On the day after comes the Great Letdown. Onto desiring Lego Set Y!
We adults may not try to fill the God-hole in our hearts with Lego sets. Then again, maybe we do.
Or perhaps we go for more sophisticated alternatives. Like the iPhone 6. Or the right job. Or the great relationship. But we are still just overgrown kids, vainly throwing Lego bricks into an infinite hole and wondering why we still feel lousy.
All of this points to the providence of having the Feast of the Immaculate Conception right smack in Advent, on December 8. The season of Advent these days has become the time to advert to our infinite desire for God amidst and despite the relentless consumerism of December. The purity of Mary, which is the product of her Immaculate Conception, releases her to drink deeply from the only well that satisfies human thirst: the truth and love of the triune God.
Mary fully allows the Father to achieve what Fr. Robert Imbelli in his beautiful book Rekindling the Christic Imagination calls “Christification”:
Christians are called not merely to the imitation of Christ but to participation in his own life, gradually becoming transformed from their old self to the new self, recreated according to the image and likeness of their Savior, who loves them and, in the Eucharist, continues to give himself for them.
The icon is the Mother of God of the Inexhaustible Chalice, a classic Russian icon. Mary calls us to come and drink from that chalice that never runs dry, the eternal, self-giving love of her Son Jesus. Like Christ arising from the chalice, so are we, as little Christs, resurrected into the newness of Christian life by his Eucharist grace. The Christification that God has achieved in Mary, he wants to do for each of us. What Mary has allowed God to do for her, she wishes us to experience through her maternal care. And we will, if we say fiat as she did.
This, then, is the hope of Advent: the hope of transformation into Christ, the satisfaction of those infinite longings for the triune God. This is the hope we bring to others. “The New Evangelization is not about a program,” Fr. Imbelli writes, “but about a Person and about participation in the new life he enables.”
As cool as Legos are, that’s much, much better.
Angela Franks teaches theology for Saint Joseph’s College Online.