A friend linked a beautiful John Paul II quotation:
For a stalk to grow or a flower to open there must be time that cannot be forced; nine months must go by for the birth of a human child; to write a book or compose music often years must be dedicated to patient research ...To find the mystery there must be patience, interior purification, silence, waiting....
It reminds me of one of the pearls of wisdom Alice von Hildebrand gave me about courtship. "If you break open a bud in your impatience to see the flower, you ruin it." Love takes time to grow between persons. Don't force it.
It's striking how simple and true this is, and yet, how difficult to realize in our lives! Our culture isn't good at instilling patience and receptivity, is it? It doesn't know how to recognize and foster the spiritual value in learning to wait. It understands excitement. It treats having to wait as an irritation, or, at best an anticipatory thrill.
But there's so much more to it than that, when it comes spiritual things—goods that need to grow and unfold before they can be had and held in a deep and enduring way. It's true on the objective side (the baby needs nine months to develop fully) and it's true on the subjective side. The woman and man need to prepare (inwardly even more than outwardly) to become father and mother.
Advent is mainly about interior renewal and preparation. I wish our culture practiced it. We all suffer from the lack.