Benedict XVI on Advent

The season is a period of joy invisibly present within us

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Faith

Ten years ago the excellent teacher Pope Benedict XVI preached on Advent. At the homily’s outset he explains that the meaning of the Latin adventus, from which the term Advent derives, can be rendered with presence, arrival, or coming. He continues, “In the language of the ancient world it was a technical term used to indicate the arrival of an official or the visit of the king or emperor to a province. However, it could also mean the coming of the divinity that emerges from concealment to manifest himself forcefully or that was celebrated as being present in worship.”

In short, God is soon to visit us and we need to prepare for his love. Benedict XVI writes,

Advent, this powerful liturgical season that we are beginning, invites us to pause in silence to understand a presence. It is an invitation to understand that the individual events of the day are hints that God is giving us, signs of the attention he has for each one of us. How often does God give us a glimpse of his love! To keep, as it were, an “interior journal” of this love would be a beautiful and salutary task for our life! Advent invites and stimulates us to contemplate the Lord present. Should not the certainty of his presence help us see the world with different eyes? Should it not help us to consider the whole of our life as a “visit,” as a way in which he can come to us and become close to us in every situation?

The season invites the joy of expectation:

Advent becomes an opportunity to reawaken within ourselves the true meaning of waiting, returning to the heart of our faith which is the mystery of Christ, the Messiah who was expected for long centuries and was born in poverty, in Bethlehem. In coming among us, he brought us and continues to offer us the gift of his love and his salvation.

Thus, the Advent season “is in a particular way a period of joy, an interiorized joy that no suffering can diminish. It is joy in the fact that God made himself a Child. This joy, invisibly present within us, encourages us to journey on with confidence.”

 

 

(Excerpts from CELEBRATION OF FIRST VESPERS OF ADVENT, HOMILY OF HIS HOLINESS BENEDICT XVI, 28 November 2009; available at vatican.va)

 

Barbara E. Rose is Web Editor of the NOR.

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