By: Sister Mary Colombiere
As the earth lay sleeping in the chilly throes of death,
a light breaks forth and in the silence of that night,
the Word leapt down from heaven
Thus opens the season of Advent preparing us for the revelation of God-with-us, which will become visible in the Christmas season through Christ’s birth.
God has a much larger plan for us than we are capable of seeing with our limited vision, but all the pieces fall into place as we continue our journey on this earth. The liturgical seasons flow from the seasons of nature and of our lives thus revealing the purpose of our existence. The liturgical year begins with Advent, the subject of our present focus.
What are the deepest desires of your heart for Advent 2019? What does the Church ask and expect of you as you enter into the mystery of salvation? Here is how the Catechism of the Catholic Church explains it.
524 When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she
makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in
the long preparation for the Savior’s first coming, the faithful renew
their ardent desire for his second coming. By celebrating the precursor’s
birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his desire: “He must
increase, but I must decrease.”
Travel back in time to more than 2000 years ago to another Advent. Mary and Joseph had been preparing for the birth of the God-Child and traveling to Bethlehem had not been on their list of preparations especially when she was so near her time, but God was fulfilling His promises to the Chosen People and this was an essential part of it. Suddenly due to a decree issued by the ruling authority, all the plans of their every-day life changed. God was working out all things to bring about His greater plan.
The Word that leapt down from Heaven was none other than the Second Person of the Trinity, God, the Son, God Himself. He veils Himself as a helpless baby that we might love Him as He loves us. He breaks through our weakness by humbling Himself so that we might draw close to Him without fear.
“As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you; abide in my love.”
This is my commandment, that you love one another as I have loved you.”
(John 15:10, 12)
The Catholic Catechism reminds us in # 823 that Jesus makes charity the new commandment. As disciples, we imitate what we have received from Jesus. The Church in her age-old wisdom has preceded the season of Christmas with the season of Advent – that time of expectancy, waiting, longing – for the One who is to come, a time to awaken Hope. It is a time to allow Christ to be reborn in our hearts and in our homes.
It is a time to allow the Light to break through the darkness of our fears and anxieties and to hear the angels’ message of peace and goodwill, to replace commercialism with the charity of concern, care, and generosity. Let us not snuff out the Charity of this season through commercialism!
1827 The practice of all the virtues is animated and inspired by
charity, which “binds everything together in perfect harmony”; it is the
form of the virtues; it articulates and orders them among themselves; it
is the source and the goal of their Christian practice. Charity upholds
and purifies our human ability to love, and raises it to the
supernatural perfection of divine love. (CCC)
Joy is the fruit of Charity. As we prepare during Advent, let us reflect on this excerpt by our Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI about the true joy of Christmas:
“Joy is the true gift of Christmas, not the expensive gifts that call for
time and money. We can communicate this joy simply: with a smile, a
kind gesture, a little help, forgiveness. And the joy we give will
certainly come back to us. Let us pray that this presence of the
liberating joy of God shines forth in our lives.”
As we enter another Advent-Christmas Season, we give thanks for your love and friendship. We are grateful for all this past year has brought, the blessings of all the good things that have entered our lives and yes, even for those things that may have been difficult and challenging. Each in its own way has continued to form the persons we are becoming. God reveals His much larger plan for us while we wait for all the pieces to fall into place.
Pray with us: “Come, Divine Child and dwell in me, for I desire always to be one with Thee”.