Have you ever taken a trip out west and had to pass from the valleys over the mountains? I remember a harrowing ride over the Big Horn Mountains pulling our camper. Fortunately we were advised by a friendly lady working at a service station to take the "easier" path. It make me wonder what the "harder" way was like.
In Advent we hear over and over the passage from Isaiah 40 about the valleys being raised up and the mountains and hills being brought low. Think of it. What an easy path we would have if the road stretched out before us like a broad, flat ribbon all the way to the horizon.
That is what John the Baptist, Advent's herald, offers us. Repent and prepare the way of the Lord. Does that mean we'll never have a difficulty? Of course not. But once we unite our will to God's, even the challenges take on a different prospect. We see the rose more than the thorns and taste the honey more than we feel the bee's sting. That's why the Roman martyrs could go into the arena singing and Miguel Pro could stretch out his arms in the sign of the cross and cry out "Viva Cristo Rey" as the soldiers fired. It explains how a person dying of a painful disease can comfort his grieving family. Faith makes "the crooked straight and the rock places plain." Advent is almost half over. Are you using it to increase your faith? If you stick with St. John the Baptist, he's show you how...you must decrease, Jesus must increase.