Advent, as I'm sure you are well aware, means 'coming.' There are three 'comings' of Christ that we recognize during this Liturgical season. Cistercian monk and (recently deceased) spiritual writer Thomas Keating writes, "The first is his historical coming in human weakness and the manifestation of his divinity to the world; the second is his spiritual coming in our inmost being through the liturgical celebration of the Christmas-Epiphany Mystery; the third is his final coming at the end of time in his glorified humanity."
In other words, there is a past, present, and future coming. The past is the memorial-aspect of Christ's coming 2,000 years ago. The future is the apocalyptic-aspect when he will come again at the end of time to bring the earth to final glory. The present is the grace-aspect of our Lord into our hearts right now.
A good image for Advent, particularly the "present" coming, is light. By the way, the major liturgical seasons of the year each have an attribution. Advent/Christmas/Epiphany is light; Lent/Easter/Ascension is life; Pentecost/Ordinary Time is love.
Light is pretty obvious for this present season. We have Christmas lights and, of course, the candles on the Advent wreath. The rose-colored candle we light this Sunday, being Gaudete Sunday when we rejoice looking ahead to Christmas.
Let us think of the meaning of light, particularly with Christ's coming more fully into our lives right now in his grace. If we are to be transformed into Christ (the goal of the moral life), we need light in our lives. Light makes something visible. It makes clear something otherwise potentially hidden in darkness.
Outside the ancient temple of Apollo in Delphi was the inscription, "Know thyself." Knowing oneself is key to growth and fulfillment. If we are ignorant, particularly when it comes to our shortcomings and sins, we will never flourish. Essential to 'knowing thyself' is light. We need light to show those aspects of ourselves that might be hidden.
Christ is the light. He will reveal you to yourself in a gentle way so that you can grow. May not just our wreaths, trees, and front lawns be lit this week, but our souls.
Once again, please be sure to pick up your free copy of The Biggest Lie in the History of Christianity by Matthew Kelly. This is our Advent/Christmas gift to you. And while you’re at it, feel free to take a copy or two of Beautiful Hope, also a free gift to you. We hope these books enhance your faith formation.
Tomorrow, Monday, December 17th is the Advent Parish Penance Service. We will hold two services, one at 1:30pm and another at 7pm. We will begin with a very brief prayer service, which includes an examination of conscience, and then have time for individual, private confession with one of the priests. We hope you can join us to celebrate this great sacrament.
Tuesday, December 18th is the School Christmas Concert at 6:30pm in the church. CCD has its Christmas Prayer Service on Wednesday at 7pm. The school will have its own penance service on Wednesday morning and dismissal from Christmas break on Friday at 1pm!
The 8th graders from the school will make their annual Christmas visit to St. Benedict's Nursing Home, just down from the parish on Touhy. I usually go with the students and teachers, and I must say it is a wonderful experience. The students hand gifts to the residents and spend time speaking with them. It's amazing to see the faces of the elderly light up. Thank you to Janie Lidgus and Kanela Arianas for organizing this.
Yours in Christ,