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Sunday, December 2, 2012

Perspectives on The Season of Advent

On the first day, Sunday, of Advent, it's time for us to pray, "Come, Lord Jesus, come!" Then we sing in unison...
O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear!
Rejoice, Rejoice! Emmanuel! Shall come to thee, O Israel!

O come, Desire of nations, bind
All peoples in one heart and mind;
Bid envy, strife, and discord cease;
Fill the whole world with heaven's peace.
Rejoice, Rejoice! Emmanuel! Shall come to thee, O Israel!

There goes our opening prayer and opening song or hymn on the first Sunday, first week of the four weeks' Season of Advent.

Advent---what is it? In his article The Season of Advent in the Catholic Church, Scott P. Richert of Guide, wrote, "The word Advent comes from the Latin word advenio or ad-venire "to come to," and refers to the coming of Christ. This refers, first of all, to the celebration of Christ's birth at Christmas; but second, to the coming of Christ into our lives through grace and the Sacrament of Holy Communion, and finally, to His Second coming at the end of time."

The Magnificat's Advent Companion (2006) notes that Advent is that sacred season of anticipation and expectation in which we come to terms with the deepest yearning of our soul---a yearning fulfilled only in Jesus Christ. As we wait in longing for the coming of the Christ child at Christmas, we turn over to him all the false satisfactions---the compromises---of our life. To live Advent is to live in the awareness of a Presence that changes us. Our Advent preparation is marked by vigilance---custody of the heart in which we keep our soul fixed on the Lord. for what we see incarnate in the infant Jesus we desire for ourselves: purity, innocence, childlikeness restored. In the birth of this child we know the promise of our own spiritual rebirth.

In the first paragraph of the editorial page written by Alton J. Pelowski, managing editor of Knight of Columbus's Columbia magazine, December 2012 edition, we read: "The Season of Advent is an important time of spiritual preparation each year as the Church anticipates the celebration of Christmas. The call to pause amid the busyness of the holiday season and reflect on the Christian mystery takes on even greater significance during this Year of Faith and in the wake of the Synod of Bishops on the new evangelization."

Pelowski further wrote in his editorial quoting Pope Benedict XVI's homily at the opening Mass of the synod, "We cannot speak about the new evangelization without a sincere desire for conversion. The best path to the new evangelization is to let ourselves be reconciled with God and with each other."

As for me, personally, Advent is the time to prepare ourselves to receive the child Jesus into our hearts. That means that we have to wait, as we long for His arrival. How? By preparing ourselves through constant prayer and doing good deeds to our fellow men and women. We also have to undergo reconciliation, confessing our sins (to a priest or our pastor) and be sorry for them.

In our Cluster Parishes's bulletin, November 18 and 25, 2012, we read: "In this season of (vigilance and) preparation, we are compelled to clear our minds and open our hearts to the grace of the coming of our Lord, Christ Jesus. Through the sacrament of Reconciliation, we respond a resounding "YES!" to God's invitation."

One Christian writer once wrote that Advent is a time to repent. Another said that it's a time for re-commitment to good, healthy habits---prayer, acts of charity and justice, and greater awareness of God's presence in our daily lives.

The United States Catholic Bishops Conference, in their Advent Page, states that Advent is a time of preparation that directs our hearts and minds to Christ's second coming at the end of time and also to the anniversary to the Lord's birth on Christmas. The final days of Advent, from December 17 to December 24, focus particularly on our preparation for the celebrations of the Nativity of our Lord (Christmas)."

Well, my dear folks and friends, whatever perspective/s you have about Advent, let's continue to do good deeds for the sake of others, and for God's sake. Let's clear the way, in our lives, so that when He comes or arrives, we're ready to welcome and receive Him with clean hearts.

This is all for now and until next time around. Thanks for your time. Take care and have a great Sunday, everyone! As we prepare and celebrate for child Jesus's coming, I pray, as always, "May God bless and keep us all!"-chris a. quilpa, 02Dec2012

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