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Living Advent

Living Advent

We read from “Advent”, a chapter in the book “The Reed of God” (Christian Classics, Revised, 2006). It was written in the midst of World War II by the English spiritual writer, Caryll Houselander, and is offered in the hope that reading and reflecting on it will help make this Advent profitable: “profitable” in that Christ will be born more deeply in us, and live in us.

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This is precisely the attitude we must have to Christ, the Life within us, [this] Advent….That our hands make Christ’s hands in our life, that our service may let Christ serve through us, that our patience may bring Christ’s patience back to the world.

By his own will Christ was dependent on Mary during Advent: He was absolutely helpless; He could go nowhere but where she chose to take Him; He could not speak; her breathing was His breath; His heart beat in the beating of her heart.

The Visitation
The Visitation: Elizabeth and Mary – artist unknown

Today Christ is dependent upon men. In the Host He is literally put into a man’s hands. A man must carry Him to the dying, must take Him into prisons, workhouses, and hospitals, must carry Him in a tiny pyx over the heart on the field of battle, must give Him to little children….

The modern world’s feverish struggle for unbridled, often unlicensed, freedom is answered by the bound, enclosed helpless and dependence of Christ – Christ in the womb, Christ in the Host, Christ in the tomb.

This dependence of Christ lays a great trust upon us. During this tender time of Advent we must carry Him in our hearts to wherever He wants to go, and there are many places to which He may never go unless we take Him.

None of us knows when the loveliest hour of our life is striking. It may be when we take Christ for the first time to that grey office in the city where we work, to the retched lodging for that poor man who is an outcast, to the nursery of that pampered child, to that battlefield, airfield, or camp.

…Sometimes it may seem to us that there is no purpose in our lives, that going day after day for years to this office or that school or factory is nothing else but a waste and weariness. But it may be that God has sent us there because but for us Christ would not be there. If our being there means that Christ is there, that alone makes it worthwhile….

It seems that this is Christ’s favourite way of being recognized, that He prefers to be known, not by His own human features, but by the quickening of His own life in the heart, which is the response to His coming.

When John recognized Him, He was hidden in His mother’s womb. After the Resurrection He was known, not by His familiar features, but by the love in Magdalene’s heart, the fire in the hearts of the travelers to Emmaus, and the wound in His own heart handled by Thomas.

….In the seasons of our Advent – waking, working, eating, sleeping, being – each breath is a breathing of Christ into the world.

 

 

Heart, Soul and Mind

Monsignor Royal's weekly column as featured in our bulletin.


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