Homily preached on December 29, 2006
Dear sisters, as religious, we sing every day at night prayer the canticle of Simeon: "Lord, now you let your servant go in peace, etc…" It is a beautiful text, but certainly, most of the time we sing it without paying attention to the words and to their meanings, and simply out of a habit. We know that the greatest risk for our spiritual life is the routine. Today, during this Christmas octave, it is good for us to hear again the words of a righteous and devout man, who spent his life awaiting the consolation of Israel, in order to pray better and with much more attention.
When we say or sing the words of this canticle we are invited by the Church and by the Holy Spirit to have another look at our world. Indeed, the world in which we live is a world enlightened by a new light. Our world is not the same since the coming of the Saviour, it is a new world transformed by a new covenant, and Simeon was able to grasp this newness. But it is often not easy for us to see how the world has been changed by the incarnation and how it is still changing through the work of the Holy Spirit. When we consider the presence of evil, our condition as sinners, we are often discouraged and we forget that the salvation has come and is still acting at the heart of creation. Contrary to Simeon, our heart is not at peace because we have the impression that nothing has changed for 2000 years. That is the reason why we ought to pay more attention to this canticle. Here are two simple spiritual suggestions. First, we could sing this canticle as a prayer, asking God to give us the new light of faith. Only the light of faith is able to make us see that salvation has come and continues to come to every people. And secondly, we could use this canticle as a prayer, asking God to deliver us from sins which prevent us to recognize his deeds present in the world. Sin drives us away from God.
"For the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining!"