Father observed that the meaning of the expression Ďadventí "includes that of visitatio, which simply and specifically means Ďvisití; in this case it is a question of a visit from God: he enters my life and wishes to speak to me."
We hear of the many ways in which God visits us and enters our life, but do we truly desire that God visit us? God "wishes to speak to me", but do I listen? Do we allow for Advent to enter into our thoughts; do we live Advent? Do we open ourselves to God? Are we truly desirous of Godís love? It is difficult or impossible for some to answer yes to these questions. Why?
The noise of the world labors constantly to drown Godís whisper: there are thousands of distractions; there is constant temptation; and there is a great deal of sin and corruption within the secularized strata of our society. The heinous nature of sin is often forgotten. Piety is rare. Devotion is often difficult to find. Our society has, in various ways, entered into a serious downward spiral. But Advent is a time to turn away from such darkness, it is a time to re-focus, it is a time to prepare for Christís coming. Perhaps we should remind ourselves of what is waiting for those who love God. It is true that if we placed all the pleasurable experiences of our life together in one instant and tasted of that instant,it would be as nothing compared to a single loving glance from the Father."Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it so much as dawned on man what God has prepared for those who love him" (1 Cor. 2:9).
Read from the saints. Learn how they lived and what they experienced. Indeed, God can touch you in a way that will leave you forever changed, lovesick, and awestruck. Our Lord can place you in a new world without your having gone anywhere; strike you with a flaming sword of love that will forever change the way you perceive reality; and draw you into an ecstasy hotter and brighter than the sun itself, a place where you would rather die ten-thousand deaths than leave. This Advent, contemplate what God has in store for those who love him.
Let us not forget we must love God in deed. Those who love God do not reject the authority of the Catholic Church his Son founded; nor do they fail to attend and participate at Mass; nor do they refuse the sacrament of Reconciliation; nor do they neglect to support the Church financially; nor do they forsake loving their neighbor; et cetera. If we love God we prove our love by obedience. Disobedience is not of love; true faith and true love is an obedient faith and love. If we truly desire Christ to come to us, let us embrace and reflect upon Advent, let us fervently focus on prayer, conversion, repentance, and the keeping of our Lordís commands.
Jesus said: "If you love me, you will keep my commandments. . . . Whoever has my commandments and observes them is the one who loves me. And whoever loves me will be loved by my Father, and I will love him and reveal myself to him" ( Jn 14:15-21 ).
The Vicar of Christ, Benedict XVI, ended his homily with these words: "Dear friends, Advent is the season of the presence and expectation of the eternal. For this very reason, it is in a particular way a period of joy, an interiorized joy that no suffering can diminish. It is joy in the fact that God made himself a Child. This joy, invisibly present within us, encourages us to journey on with confidence. A model and support of this deep joy is the Virgin Mary, through whom we were given the Infant Jesus. May she, a faithful disciple of her Son, obtain for us the grace of living this liturgical season alert and hardworking, while we wait. Amen!"
Let us pray to our Blessed Mother that she obtain for us the graces to be alert and hardworking. Let us model our lives after her, the most perfect Christian. Let us truly live the season of Advent, seeking Christ, thirsting for his coming. Let us offer the King the most meaningful gift we have to offer: our life.
"See, I come quickly; I have my reward in hand" ( Revelation 22:12 ).
F. K. Bartels operates catholicpathways.com, and may be reached via email: email@example.com. He is a contributing writer for Catholic Online.
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Pope Benedict XVI's Prayer Intentions for January 2013
General Intention: The Faith of Christians. That in this Year of Faith Christians may deepen their knowledge of the mystery of Christ and witness joyfully to the gift of faith in him.
Missionary Intention: Middle Eastern Christians. That the Christian communities of the Middle East, often discriminated against, may receive from the Holy Spirit the strength of fidelity and perseverance.
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