Recently the small town in New Jersey that I have been living in for two years while doing service made its way into the national news. Unfortunately it was due to a toxic chemical spill after a train derailed about ¼ of a mile from my house. Within hours of the accident, the three other women that I live with and I were being evacuated from our home. Fortunately two alums of our program kindly opened their doors to us and welcomed us under their roof.
As the days of evacuation turned into weeks, the fun of being somewhere new changed to the reality of being displaced. Not knowing when we would be able to return home, I began, like any good theology student, making theological reflections on our condition within the current liturgical season.
Being evacuated, displacement, relying on the kindness of others to welcome us in — a perfect analogy as we celebrate this season of Advent. Feeling a little like Mary and Joseph, I found myself discovering consolation in their story. Under the roof of a stranger, Mary was welcomed in. Under the roof a stranger, our savior was born. Under the roof of a stranger, God was born as man. From under the roof of a stranger, great things can come!
There is more than consolation found in the connection of mystery to the season of Advent. The eschaton we reflect on during Advent reminds us of the story that has happened in the past, along with the reality of Christ being present today with our hope for Christ to come again in the future. What is it that the kindness of these “strangers” welcoming me under their roof calls me to? St John of the Cross, a mystic and doctor of our Church, writes in an Advent reflection; “If you want, the virgin will come walking down the road pregnant with the holy, and say, “I need shelter for the night, please take me inside your heart, my time is so close.” Then under the roof of your soul you will witness the sublime intimacy, the divine, the Christ, taking birth forever…”
We are called to welcome another under our roof: Christ. Like the alums who welcomed in my housemates and me or like the inn keeper who found room for Mary, Joseph and Jesus, we too are called to open the doors of our hearts and welcome Christ to find a home under the roof of our souls. Today, in the midst of this season of joyful anticipation, we are called to welcome Christ fully into our beings so that when he comes again He might welcome us, in return, under the roof of His Kingdom.
If you want, the virgin will come walking down the road pregnant with the holy,
and say, “I need shelter for the night, please take me inside your heart, my time
is so close.” Then under the roof of your soul you will witness the sublime
intimacy, the divine, the Christ, taking birth forever, as she grasps your hand for
help, for each of us is the midwife of God, each of us. Yes there, under the dome
of your being does creation come into existence eternally, through your womb,
dear pilgrim- the sacred womb of your soul, as God grasps our arms for help:
for each of us is his beloved servant, never far. If you want, the Virgin will come
walking down the street pregnant with Light and sing.
~St. John of the Cross, Advent Reflection
Pam Tremblay is the Blog Editor for the Catholic Apostolate Center.
 Eschaton/eschatology: is the theology that deals with the end of times and the doctrine of the last things. We speak of the eschaton/eschatology in advent when we are reminded of our waiting for Christ in his second come at the end of time.