Advent is almost here, yes, I realize this maybe a little early, but, it’s that wonderful time of year in the Church’s calendar of preparation and waiting. During the four weeks of Advent, the world is reminded of its need for confession, for repentance, for renewal, and for vigilance. The Church calls us to focus on the real meaning of Christmas.
Christ Is Coming for each and every one of us…whether we believe it or not.
Therefore we must prepare ourselves to meet our Lord. So how do we do this? One way is to strive to cultivate in our hearts the “virtues of Advent.” The virtues of Advent are most appropriately displayed in Christ’s first coming.
Beloved, let us love one another; for love is of God, and he who loves is born of God and knows God. He who does not love does not know God; for God is love. In this the love of God was made manifest among us, that God sent his only Son into the world, so that we might live through him. In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the expiation for our sins. Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No man has ever seen God; if we love one another, God abides in us and his love is perfected in us. – 1 John 4:7-12
Love is the fundamental virtue of the Advent season and the Incarnation itself. We are called to love as Christ loves, without conditions. Yet love must be rooted in truth, for as Christ said:
“For this I was born, and for this I have come into the world, to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears my voice.” – 1 John 18:37
It is important that our love for one another be founded on the truth. True love seeks the “good” of the other. In marriage, true love is both unitive and procreative, it does not seek to stifle God creative purpose. A “contraceptive” marriage is one of selfish gratification and/or ambition. It does not seek the “good” of the other, but rather the desired pleasure of self. In our relationships with our neighbours and family members true love is willing to speak the truth to a brother or sister living contrary to God’s will. If we experience rejection we continue to love the person because we know that they are made in the “image and likeness of God.” Love is what lasts because true love finds its beginning and end in Christ Himself.
Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others. Have this mind among yourselves, which was in Christ Jesus, who, though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. And being found in human form he humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross. – Philippians 2:4-8
Humility, springing forth from love, resists pride and empties the soul of self. This virtue enables us to look for the good in others and submit to God’s authority. This obedience to God’s authority manifested in the Teachings of the Catholic Church leads to Holiness. Humility allows us to take up our cross daily with joy, realizing that in doing so we imitate Christ. In understanding our own sinfulness, our own nothingness, we are able to maintain a humble spirit. Being humble does not mean that we become a “doormat” for the world to trample on but rather that we willingly offer ourselves to God for all those we come in contact with, that we seek their “good,” and that we love them as Christ loves them.
In practicing these two virtues we will grow closer to Jesus. In growing closer to Him we will advance our understanding of Advent. As well as our appreciation for the Miracle of Christmas !
* The First Sunday in Advent, November 27, 2011.*
Pax et Bonum!
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* original post from David’s Place November 2008