“To you, I lift my soul, O my God”

image “It is profoundly significant that the first words the Church sings during Advent—in fact the very first words of the new liturgical year—are “To you, I lift my soul, O my God.” In just nine simple words, a relationship is established: a relationship of humility between us and God, between creature and Creator. But why do we lift our souls to God? Because without God’s help and protection, our enemies (sin and death) laugh at us—the devil exults over us in our sinfulness, and in this sorry state, we lift our souls to God as an acknowledgment that we are in need of a redeemer. We lift our souls to God because God is the only one who can help us. And God helps us by showing us his paths, revealing the way to himself by sending the One who is “the way, the truth, and the life” (Jn 14:6). Jesus Christ is the answer to our prayer when we beseech God, “O Lord, make me know your ways. Teach me your paths.” Even without knowing that this piece of music was inspired by an ancient chant source, a person can still sense the yearning conveyed in its melodies and harmonies. Even without knowing the translation of the Latin above, one can still perceive in this music a lack, an incompletion, a need that, in the end, can only be fulfilled by God. “To you, I lift up my soul, O God.” Because my soul is broken. I have broken it by my sinfulness. And you, God, are the only one who can heal it. You are the only one who can triumph over the enemy who would exult over me, and you are the only one who can guide me back to your heart. “To you, I lift up my soul, O God,” and I can lift it no higher, for I am too small. Reach down and receive my soul—stoop down from heaven and save me. This is how we begin the Advent season, and we will conclude it by celebrating God’s response to our desperate plea, when God does indeed reach down to us and heals our souls by becoming small himself—by taking on a body that can be broken as our souls have been broken by sin, by offering that body, lifting it up to the Father in love so that we might all be lifted up. We pray: “To you, I lift up my soul, O God,” and God replies: “Behold, I am coming soon” (Rev 22:12).”

You are invited to lift up your sacred body and soul “To you, I lift my soul, O my God.” The invitation is ultimately to embrace change, to feel the power and presence of our Lord, Jesus Christ through the intercession of Our beautiful Blessed Mother, Mary. There is a reason why Advent is deemed a season for preparation. It is just the beginning of the season to clothe your sacred body in Christ. Scripture reminds us that “There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens…” (Ecclestiastes 3:1).  With so many conflicting messages and distractions of this world it is difficult to quiet your mind, let alone your sacred body. It is not enough to go to daily mass or Adoration. Keep going. And, download the digital SoulCore prayer exercise at http://www.SoulCoreProject.com today. There you will find authentic effort and surrender. The challenge is outside, reaching into the street and bringing someone you know on the journey to Jesus with you this Advent season. The full text article can be found at University of Notre Dame blog Oblation Liturgy and Life by Carolyn Pirtle SINGING THE SEASON: ADVENT INTROITS (PART 1) Dec. 2, 2014.

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