Our existence, purpose and destiny as man is realized in becoming
During Advent we prepare our hearts to embrace the light of Christ as the light of our own life.
The question of whether "I" am involved in the Lord's coming is in reality at the very core of the Christian life. It is a foundational question, asked repeatedly, day in and day out. It is an intensely personal and revealing question, inextricably bound up in the daily activities of the life of the Christian, one which is inseparable from repentance and conversion -- two ongoing and repeating elements of the Christian earthly life-journey, manifested through a willingness to give of ourselves unreservedly to Christ and thus courageously follow him despite our failures.
Often when we ask ourselves if we are involved in the Lord's coming, we think of the second coming at the end of time, that hour when "all who are in the tombs will hear [Christ's] voice and come forth, those who have done good, to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil, to the resurrection of judgment" (Jn 5:28-29); that moment in which "creation itself will be delivered from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the sons of God" (Rom. 8:21). Nevertheless, Pope Benedict reminds us of the importance of the here and now:
"Yet there is not only the final coming at the end of time: in a certain sense the Lord always wants to come through us. And he knocks at the door of our hearts: are you willing to give me your flesh, your time, your life?"
The Paschal Mystery: Paradigm of The Christian Life
That simple, profound statement by our Holy Father gets at the heart of Christian discipleship. As Christians, we do not simply stand from afar and look upon Christ as merely a wonderful example of kindness and moral excellence which we ought to hold in high regard; nor do we simply seek to imitate Christ in the sense of a student who desires to please a greatly admired instructor. Ultimately, the meaning of Christian discipleship is to enter into Christ's life, to become one with Christ through whom "all things were made" and whose life is "the light of men" (Jn 1:3-4).
Advent calls us to prepare our hearts for Christ's entry within, into the mysterious depths of our being, in order to "receive him" and thus be given by him the "power to become children of God; who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God" (Jn 1:12-13). We are to make of ourselves as a living "door" that, through the grace of the Holy Spirit, gradually widens upon an infinite world of Light.
By virtue of Baptism we are incorporated into Christ, born into the Church and given the gift of the Spirit; yet there is nevertheless the constant requirement to respond to God's grace -- a gift of Love which Itself calls us to enter all the more deeply into Infinite Love as we make the Paschal Mystery of Christ our own life and our own story.
Let us delve a little deeper into the concept of "entering" into the Paschal Mystery of Christ. First, recall that the Paschal Mystery is Christ's passion, death, and resurrection. The Paschal Mystery "stands at the center of the Good News" proclaimed by the Church to the world; through it God's "saving plan was accomplished once for all by the redemptive death of his Son Jesus Christ" (CCC 571). For the Christian, the Paschal Mystery is the keystone of our hope.
"The Paschal mystery has two aspects: by his death, Christ liberates us from sin; by his Resurrection, he opens for us the way to a new life. This new life is above all justification that reinstates us in God's grace, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life" (CCC 654).
Called to Supernatural Life in The Divine Family
We know by the light of faith that God created man as "an intelligent and free being" who is called as sons and daughters "to intimacy with God and to share in his happiness" (Gaudium et spes 21). We are called to a new life, an existence which far transcends what is naturally possible for man, one in which we share in God's divinity and are thus caught up in the life of the Holy Trinity Itself. We are to become children of God and members of the divine family who are destined to share in God's own supernatural life! There are no words in which it is possible to describe such a gift. It is only in the depths of silent adoration, in the mysterious realm of human, heartfelt emotion in union with the Spirit that we are enabled to communicate something of the meaning of this astonishing love of God.
The Father himself ...
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