The Christian Church uses the yearly cycle of Masses and prayers, broken up into liturgical seasons, to celebrate the whole mystery of Christ, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity who magnanimously decided to share in our humanity to give us human beings the possibility of sharing in His divinity.
The celebration of his life and mission of redeeming mankind begins, of course, with the Incarnation–Christ’s becoming flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary. Holy Mother Church wisely gives Christians the season of Advent to prepare for Christmas, when we commemorate Christ’s first coming to us.
During the four weeks of Advent, sages and saints tell us, the Church helps us to direct our minds and hearts to make our remembrance of Our Lord’s first coming some 2,000 years ago prayerful moments of joyful waiting and expectation for His Second Coming at the end of time.
Here are words about Advent from Saint Josemaria Escriva, founder of Opus Dei.
He is about to arrive
“Advent is here. What a marvelous time in which to renew your desire, your nostalgia, your real longing for Christ to come — for him to come every day to your soul in the Eucharist. The Church encourages us: Ecce veniet! He is about to arrive!” (The Forge)
“Look up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption is at hand (Lk 21:28),” we have just read in the Gospel. This time of Advent is a time for hope. These great horizons of our Christian vocation, this unity of life built on the presence of God our Father, can and ought to be a daily reality.
I don’t wish to go on any longer on this first Sunday of Advent, when we begin to count the days separating us from the birth of the Savior. We have considered the reality of our Christian vocation: how our Lord has entrusted us with the mission of attracting other souls to sanctity, encouraging them to get close to him, to feel united to the Church, to extend the kingdom of God to all hearts. Jesus wants to see us dedicated, faithful, responsive. He wants us to love him. It is his desire that we be holy, very much his own. (Christ is Passing By)
The “enemies of the soul”
Today marks the beginning of Advent. And it is good for us to consider the wiles of these enemies of the soul: the disorder of sensuality and easy-going superficiality, the folly of reason that rejects God, the cavalier presumption that snuffs out love for both God and creatures. All these obstacles are real enough, and they can indeed cause us a great deal of trouble. For these very reasons the liturgy invites us to implore divine mercy: “To you, O Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust, let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me,” as we prayed in the Introit. And in the Offertory we shall go back to the same idea: “Let none that wait for you be put to shame.”
Now that the time of our salvation is approaching, it is consoling to hear from the lips of St Paul that “when the goodness and kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not by the works of justice which we have done, but according to his mercy” (Titus 3:5). (Christ is Passing By)
Everyone can hope to be saved
Iesus Christus, Deus homo: Jesus Christ, God-man. This is one of “the mighty works of God,” which we should reflect upon and thank him for. He has come to bring “peace on earth to men of good Will,” to all men who want to unite their wills to the holy will of God — not just the rich, not just the poor, but everyone: all the brethren. We are all brothers in Jesus, children of God, brothers of Christ. His Mother is our mother. (Christ is Passing By)