Wednesday, December 1, 2010

First Wednesday in Advent

The Meaning of Advent

n our day there is need to place more emphasis upon the teaching of the Church and the meaning of Advent.  There is need for more prayer and penance.  There is need for a greater faith.  Advent is the season of preparation when by prayer and mortification we insure our hearts being better disposed for the coming of Christ on the holy and blessed day of Christmas.  The only way to gauge the future is to plan well the present.  A good preparation today is the best guarantee of a work to be accomplished well tomorrow.  Holy Mother Church knows that the only way to have security and peace of a spiritual nature tomorrow is to build well during the season of Advent, which is today.

Jesus Christ is the same today, yesterday, and forever.  His Church, like any healthy organism, meets the needs of the present -- it has thrown off and survived the heresies of the past and it gives assurance of living in the future.

The Church knows something of the world of yesterday, for she has cherished its goodness and preserved its culture.  She has the right to speak of the world of tomorrow, for in her Advent blessings and in her divine assurance she knows that, "the gates of Hell shall not prevail against her."  She has plans for the present.  It is the blueprint and charter of the word of God and the eternal plan of Christ which can never grow old or out of date, for it is impossible for the eternal truths of God to change with the passing of time.

There is a story told of a strong virile soldier most grievously wounded in World War I.  He was dying.  When taken to a hospital it was discovered that a bullet lay lodged close to his heart.  To touch it would have meant almost certain death!  Three times the surgeon began his work, then desisted and laid down the scalpel.  After a few days the bullet moved, in a mysterious manner, to another position.  The operation was performed and the patient lived.  The soldier asked the doctor why he had three times prepared to operate, and yet three times hesitated.  The surgeon answered and said, "Because I saw a young girl before me who caught hold of my hand." 

"A young girl?"  asked the soldier.  "Would you recognize her from a photograph?"  A picture of St. Therese, the Little Flower of Jesus, was shown the doctor.  "Was it she?"  "Yes," replied the doctor, "it was certainly she!"  Ever since that day fresh roses are placed daily in that soldier's drawing room in the city of Paris in memory of this heavenly intervention in his behalf.

The Church during the holy season of Advent emphasizes for all Catholics the great need for prayer and faith if we are to succeed in establishing our close identity with Christ, the Head of the Mystical Body.  Our Alma Mater, our great nourishing Mother the Church, asks us to hearken to the words of the sweetest story ever told, the story of Christ's coming, the story of Bethlehem.  It can best be learned by prayer and meditation and hearkening to your Mother's voice.  She will lead you along the way she knows so well and which terminates at the feet of God, wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger.


Dear Mother of Christ, we love you and pledge to you our devotion.  As children upon our mother's knee we recall the blessings of childhood, the lullabies our loveliest of mothers used to sing.  When the years turned her lovely locks to gray, we cherished her the more, till god called her.  You, O Mary, are our mother in heaven and on earth.  We need this Christmastide and Advent season to hear a heavenly lullaby.  Sing to to us, O Mary, the songs of heaven that earth may not hold us in its grip.  We were made for God, and restless children are we, till we return through you to Him.

Et hoc vobis signum invenietis infantem pannis involutum et positum in praesepio.

" And she brought forth her first born son and wrapped him up in swaddling clothes and laid him in a manger."
(Lk. 2:7)

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