By Kathleen Nichols (Consecrated Woman of Regnum Christi)
December 7th, 2023 - Notre Dame of Jerusalem Center
A cool wind brushed my hair back as I stepped out onto the balcony and watched strong gusts stir up whitecaps on the Sea of Galilee below. Sheets of winter rain marched in companies over the center of the lake quickly turning midday to twilight. The wall of steel-colored clouds to my right was pierced by a sunbeam, refracted by the deluge into a full rainbow towering over the water and rousing my heart to remember God’s promise. I was moved to sing out Rorarte Caeli desuper, et nubes pluant justum! Referencing Isaiah, this familiar Gregorian chant renewed in me the expectation of Jesus’ coming at Christmas that was prophesized so long ago.
Let justice descend you heavens, like dew from above,
Like gentle rain, let the clouds drop it down.
Let the earth open and salvation bud forth,
Let righteousness spring up with them! (Isaiah 45:8)
How is it that salvation springs up from the earth when it comes down from Heaven? The storm in front of me answered the question with a spray of rain drops on my face. Just as rain descends to soften and vivify the earth, so did the Spirit overshadow the Virgin “full of grace”, bringing forth life in her womb. The Word was made flesh – divinity and humanity, heaven and earth, spirit and flesh, God incarnate, the Savior. Mary heeded the Lord’s request, expressed so beautifully in the Song of Songs.
Open to me...
For my head is wet with dew,
My hair with the drops of night. (Song of Songs 5:2)
The Lord humbly descended like the dew on a silent and holy night. Dew is something always associated with blessing and life in the Bible, from the manna in Exodus to everlasting life in the psalms, and victory in Isaiah. God himself speaks through Hosea when he promises, “I will fall like the dew on Israel. He shall bloom like the lily.” (Hosea 14:6)
This Advent, let us open to the Lord who is seeks to dwell among us, fill us with grace, and bring us salvation. As St. Augustine said, the Lord comes to us as a child, humbly knocking on the door of our hearts. “He is in need as the one who is about to receive; and he is abundance as the one who is going to fulfill.” Rorarte Caeli desuper, et nubes pluant justum! Drop down you heavens from above, and let the skies rain down the Just One!