Friday, 8 December 2017

Advent - A Time for Peaceful Contemplation

In the Old Testament, the Jews waited hundreds of years for the coming of the Messiah. They watched, prayed, and hoped one day Our Blessed Lord would come to the earth. I am sure at times, with all the trials they faced, the years could not go fast enough and Jesus' coming seemed it would never be a reality. They went through an immense amount of suffering and tribulation, and finally, when the time was right, Our Blessed Lord came down from heaven and was born in a manger.

Advent will soon be upon us, the time in which we will prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ, just as the people of the Old Testament did. Yet unlike the Jews who did not know Our Lord, we know Him! We know Him in all His miracles, in His resurrection from the dead, and all the proofs we need to know He is the true Lord. The Jews had none of this, all they had was hope and anticipation for Our Lord. They clung to the prophecies of His coming, but could hardly imagine the immensity of good He would bring through His life. And yet, we not only have proofs, but Jesus Himself sits within our tabernacles waiting for us! If the Jews could see into the future, I’m certain they would be shocked. When God would come down for them, only a single High Priest would be able to go into the Holy of Holies to see Him. God wanted to prove after His coming how merciful He is after His coming. His Sacred Heart burns with the desire to make His presence and grace available to all who seeks it. Let us then remember a few simple points to help us keep the spirit of Advent.

The Old Testament was a time of justice and order. After the fall of Adam, God wanted to show the human race that through His will, all good things would flow from. Men were hard in their ways, and God had to use His justice in order to help men return to Him. Yet in the New Testament, when our great God came down to earth as an innocent baby, He wanted nothing more but to embrace tenderly the human race, in order to show His infinite love and mercy. In our modern times, He rests in the tabernacle, sits in the confessional, looks down from heaven waiting for our gaze to fall upon Him. Yet because our world can be so distracting and noisy, and God is so forgiving, we can often forget all these amazing realities. Life becomes tedious and boring, and we forget we are under the gaze of a God that is far more beautiful and wondrous than we could ever imagine! Do not let the world convince you God is not present, but remind yourself every day that He is watching. He watches, not in wrath and anger, but in a love we will only be able to comprehend in heaven. Let us then do our best to make our morning offering, say our prayers through the day, and try our best to stay in the presence of God. It may

seem like a chore at first, but when you realize all you’re doing is staying in the presence of your dear Father and best Friend, your perspective will change. Advent is a time for preparation for the Messiah, for the coming of Our Lord who can heal any ailment, and forgive any sin. Bring all your troubles to the crib of the Infant Jesus, for He is fully capable of granting you all that you need.

The other error we can commit in comparison to forgetting Our Lord during the day, is becoming too fixated on the mortification side of the Faith. We must consume ourselves with penance and root out the evil, until there is nothing left and we surrender completely to God. In truth, surrendering to God is the goal, but what the meaning of surrender is can often be confused in our minds. We have this picture of denying ourselves to the point of not caring for ourselves mentally and physically. We have a duty to our bodies and minds, just as we do to our soul. Penance is good, but is never the focus. The focus is always God, and the greater good He can pull from what we give him. It is as if we have a beautiful patch of grass. We hope to grow flowers from this patch, so we begin digging it up until there is nothing but a deep hole. We could keep digging and digging, in order to root out everything, but the digging is not the point. We won’t get anywhere if we don’t plant the flower and make it beautiful again. Let us pray during Advent for the grace of joy, so that the Devil cannot overwhelm us with discouragement or pride because of the magnitude of suffering we put ourselves through. Our true end is joy, and the message of Advent is the coming of this joy! Let us do all things with a spirit of peace and happiness, just as God intended.

As Advent quickly approaches, we still have a few more days to examine our souls, dust away any traces of worry and discouragement, and look towards the hope of Christmas. The hope of Christmas brings grace and consolation, and will later on bring the sheer joy of the Resurrection and triumph of Our Lord and the Catholic Church.

Find this article also on the new Catholic Family News Website:

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