"Advent is the spiritual season of hope par excellence, and in this season the whole Church is called to be hope.
The Pope affirmed this Saturday during his homily at the celebration of first vespers in St. Peter's Basilica.
He noted that in St. Paul's First Letter to the Thessalonians, there is the exhortation to stay "irreprehensible 'for' the coming of the Lord."
"But in the original text we read 'in' the coming -- 'en te parousia' -- as if the coming of the Lord were, more than a future event, a spiritual place in which we already walk in the present, during the wait, and in which we are perfectly vigilant in every personal dimension," the Holy Father explained.
"In effect, this is exactly what we live in the liturgy: celebrating the liturgical seasons, we actualize the mystery -- in this case the coming of the Lord -- in such a way as to be able, so to speak, to 'walk in it' toward its full realization, at the end of time, but already drawing sanctifying virtue from it from the moment that the last times have already begun with the death and resurrection of Christ."
The word that sums up this state of awaiting something and simultaneously already having a foretaste of it is "hope," the Pontiff continued.
"Advent is the spiritual season of hope par excellence, and in this season the whole Church is called to be hope, for itself and for the world," he said. "The whole spiritual organism of the mystical body assumes, as it were, the 'color' of hope."
The Church's cry
God calls us to meet him in Advent, Benedict XVI added, particularly through prayer.He then offered a commentary on the two psalms from vespers: 141 and 142, according to the Hebrew numbering.
Psalm 141 "is the cry of a person who feels himself to be in grave danger, but it is also the cry of the Church in the midst of the many snares that surround her, that threaten her holiness, that irreprehensible integrity of which the Apostle Paul speaks, that must be maintained for the coming of the Lord," the Pope said. "And in this invocation there also resounds the cry of all the just, of all those who want to resist evil, the seductions of an iniquitous well-being, of pleasures that are offensive to human dignity and the condition of the poor. At the beginning of Advent the Church's liturgy again cries out with these words and addresses them to God."
In Psalm 142, he added, the "identification of Christ with the Psalmist is particularly evident.""In his first coming, in the incarnation, the Son of God wanted fully to share our human condition," the Holy Father noted. "Naturally, he did not share in sin, but for our salvation he suffered its consequences. [...] Advent's cry of hope expresses, then, from the beginning and in the most forceful way, the whole gravity of our condition, our extreme need of salvation. It says: We await the Lord's coming not like a beautiful decoration added to an already saved world but as the only way to freedom from mortal danger. And we know that he himself, the Liberator, had to suffer and die to bring us out of this prison."
Thus, the Pontiff concluded, "these two Psalms protect us against any temptation of evasion and flight from reality; they preserve us from a false hope, one that would like to enter into Advent and set off for Christmas forgetting the dramatic nature of our personal and collective existence. In effect, it is a trustworthy hope, not deceptive, it cannot but be an 'Easter' hope. [...] Let us place our hand in [Mary's] and enter with joy into this new season of grace that God grants his Church for the good of the whole of humanity."
© 2014 - Distributed by THE NEWS CONSORTIUM
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for January 2015
General Intention: That those from diverse religious traditions and all people of good will may work together for peace.
Missionary Intention: That in this year dedicated to consecrated life, religious men and women may rediscover the joy of following Christ and strive to serve the poor with zeal.
Rate This Article
Leave a Comment
More Christmas / Advent News
- Fr Peter M. J. Stravinskas: Epiphany and the Missionary Mandate of the Church
- Love is Born on Christmas Morn and the World is Born Again
- Father Peter M. J. Stravinskas on Christmas: In the Fullness of Time a Savior Has Come
- Redeemer in the Womb: Jesus was an Embryonic Person
- Amazing Realities of Christmas and the Incarnation
- Life is an Advent Search for God: The Importance of Effort
- Advent: Dominus humilitate adveniet: The Lord Will Come by Humility
- Advent: A Time To Seek Answers To Humankind's Most Pressing Questions
- Gaudete Sunday: We Rejoice Because the Lord is Always Near
- Fr. Paul Schenck: Finding Living Faith on Catechetical Sunday
- The Movie Yellow: Incest as 'Normal' and Cassavates's Slides Into the World of Woes
- The Chicago School Teachers Strike Reveals the Need For School Choice
- The Sexual Barbarians and the Dissolution of Culture
- The Happy Priest Challenges Us to Ask: Who is Jesus to Me?
- Michael Coren on Canadian Public Schools: Teachers, leave those kids alone
- We Cannot Ignore Our Consciences: Cardinal Dolan On Religious Liberty
- In the Face of Danger, Successor of Peter Travels to Lebanon as a Messenger of Peace
- Reflections on the Dignity and Vocation of Women: Who or What?