“Keep awake, therefore, for you do not know on what day your Lord is coming.”
My Dear Family in Christ,
The longer I live, the more grateful I am for the practical wisdom of the Church- particularly when it comes to Her liturgical calendar. This time of year, the Church reminds our commercialized society that the Christmas season doesn’t begin the day after Halloween (nor the day after Remembrance Day, nor American Thanksgiving). In fact, it doesn’t begin until Christmas Day. This is because there is something else we are supposed to be doing to prepare for Christmas- and it’s important that we don’t miss it.
This Sunday is the First Sunday of the Season of Advent- a time where Mother Church calls us to prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ. As such, you will see and hear some changes in our church- the Gloria will not be sung, vestments will change from the Green of Ordinary Time to the Violet of Advent, the Advent wreath is on display, and there are even some *winter* decorations out already.
The word “Advent” comes from the Latin word adventus, meaning “coming” or “arrival.” This is commonly understood to refer to the coming of Christ at Christmas, but there is something deeper the Church is reminding us of. While we celebrate the amazing gift of Jesus Christ born 2,000 years ago at the first Christmas, we also prepare ourselves for the time He will come again. The Catechism of the Catholic Church confirms this deeper meaning of Advent:
‘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 Saviour’s first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for His second coming.’ CCC524
During Advent, we rekindle our desire to see Jesus again. We prepare our hearts for this encounter, whether for us individually at our death, or at His universal return. For the present, we prepare for the future by honouring the past- because there will come a day when it is no longer a drill, but a reality.
Over the next four weeks, as a Church family and as individuals, let us prepare our hearts for the coming of Jesus. There are a number of ways to do this, but I’d like to focus on one per week. This week, I want to invite you to spend time with Jesus in our Adoration Chapel. Pick a time, put it in the calendar, and stop in- whether it’s for ten minutes or an hour. I promise you that you will never regret a moment spent adoring and being adored by Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament. It’s hard to think of a better way to prepare for His coming than by being in His presence.
So as the hustle and bustle gets louder, remember that Our Lord waits for us in silence. As the calendar gets crazier, remember that the Prince of Peace is on his way. And as the days continue to get shorter, remember that the Light of the World is about to Dawn. Let us prepare well, so that the day of His coming finds us ready.
God love you,