Veni, Veni Emmanuel!
The Feast of the Annunciation of the Lord
is celebrated on 25 March. On this day Our Lord was formed in the immaculate Womb of the Blessed
Virgin (the Word made flesh) by the power of the Holy Spirit. Nine months later, the period of human
gestation, we celebrate the birth of Our Lord and Redeemer on 25 December.
Sunday, 29 November 2009 is the First Sunday of Advent. Adventus Domini means
the "coming of the Lord". The season of Advent is a period of preparation for the Lord's coming. It is a time of spiritual
renewal for the Church. During Advent we spend time building a holy desire, longing and expectancy for the coming of Our Lord. In Advent,
we seek to deepen our desire for God's grace.
The Lord is never forceful; He will not push us to accept His grace. "The
hungry He fills with good things, and the rich He sends away empty." Advent is a time to deepen our desire for the
Lord Jesus Christ, Savior of our souls. To make us worthy for the grace of redemption, Holy Mother Church wants us to experience
spiritual hunger and the need for redemption during these next four weeks. In Scripture, we relive the moments of salvation history in
order to root them deeply in our hearts.
In Her Liturgy, the Church shows how God prepared mankind for the coming of His Son. The
entire Old Testament served as a teacher unto Christ; then when the fullness of time had come, God sent a special forerunner (John the
Baptist), whose example and preaching prepared the Jews for the Messiah; and finally the eternal Father built for His Son a temple of
precious stones, the body and soul of the Immaculate Virgin. By such teaching, God prepared men for the historical coming of Christ; and
the Church can now teach us how to await His coming to us in grace.
Venite, adoremus Dominum!
How can we prepare for the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ? Although Christmas is the
celebration of a historical event, it is also a day for a deepening of His presence in our lives. Advent must be a time of spiritual
renewal and rebirth. Where in our lives do we need to experience a rebirth? Does Jesus live in my thoughts? In my actions? In my work
and recreation? We must all admit that Jesus does not live in the whole of our lives, for if He did, we would live in a perfect world.
As the Virgin Mary prepared a place for her new born
Child, so you and I must prepare a
place in our hearts for the Savior. We become a living dwelling for our Lord; a temple for our God. Now is the time. Now is the day of
salvation. Everyone is called to enter the season of Advent with joy and excitement. We can not speak for tomorrow, we do not know if we
will have one. You and I can only live today.
Our spiritual journey to Christmas must begin today. Daily personal prayer time is a
necessity. Prayer is like water to the garden of our souls. A beautiful Advent meditation comes to us in the
Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary and the
Stations of Christmas. One of the most important parts of our Advent journey
is the celebration of the Sacrament of Penance. If at all possible, we should attend daily Mass to seek the necessary graces
to remain in His peace throughout this busy season.
The Spirit of Christmas
Each day, the newspaper reminds us of how many more days of shopping to go. We are all
caught in a mad rush to find the perfect gift. The pretty dress, the nice shirt or the popular toy. Everyone running around to prepare
for the big day - Christmas. Often we are so busy preparing, we forget what the day is all about. The fast pace takes first place. The
real preparations get pushed off until later. Unless we take the time today, Christmas Day will be empty and meaningless. Every year we
ask, "Where did Advent go?" Let us not wait, but go in haste to search out the new born King.
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