1st Sunday of Advent

In the Spiritual Exercises of St Ignatius of Loyola (Written by St Ignatius, founder of the Society of Jesus better known as the Jesuit Order) we read a “Contemplation on the Incarnation,” the Birth of Jesus.  Ignatius has the Trinity looking down upon the earth.  The Trinity sees that we are “so diverse in dress and behaviour: some in peace and others at war, some weeping and others laughing, some healthy and others sick, some being born and others dying, and so forth…. [And how] they decide in their eternity that the Second person should become a human being, in order to save the human race.”  As we begin Advent, our time of preparation for Christmas, we often think of the Incarnation in similar ways to Ignatius.  We look at the news and see image after image of war, violence, cruelty and injustice.  We can think of the Incarnation as God’s response to the suffering of the world.  While certainly true, there is a prior experience.  It is not first that the Son comes to save the world, but that he comes to save each of us one at a time.  I feel that the salvation of the world can be just a theory.  The salvation of myself is an experience.

For years, I had prayed this Contemplation on retreat.  It had never stirred my heart until one summer.  In my contemplation I remember adoring the Triune God, until I felt as if I had no more strength.  Weighted down by my worries, anxieties, fears, insecurities, doubts and sadness in my prayer I began to collapse to the floor.  The Son then, acting not from thought but from love, leapt from his throne to hold me up.  The coming of the Son is not a theory; it is a real human experience.  I was weighed down by troubles, about to throw in the towel, but in love Christ came to help me and save me.  As we go through Advent we prepare ourselves to know in our hearts that the Son leaps from his power and embraces us in love. 

In this week’s Gospel, Jesus is speaking of readiness for the end times.  Our preparation for Christ’s coming is not meant to add to our anxieties and fears.  It is, rather, to say good bye to our worries, anxieties, fears, insecurities, doubts and sadness, and allow ourselves to fall to the floor, to be empty and to be poor.  And in our need, our falling, if we allow it, to discover that we do not fall, but are, in fact, held up by the loving arms of our Saviour.  Christ comes to the lived realities of every life.  If we think our lives are too messy for Christ to come then we must admit we’re wrong.  We allow ourselves to fall so that we can be held by him.  It sometimes may not feel like it, but “the night is far gone, the day is near.”  And so, with King David, our hearts are filling with gratitude and love, for the Lord is with us.  Church, “let us God rejoicing to the House of the Lord.”

God Bless and Take Care,
Fr. John
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Parish Bulletin for the 1st Sunday of Advent268.72 KB

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