Back in 07 I started a series of posts on Advent based on the Advent volume of The Liturgical Year. I don’t remember what happened to that but there is another passage I want to highlight, also from the chapter on Practice During Advent. (You can click the Advent category to see all my past Advent posts).
Referring to those Christians who have been somewhat lax in treasuring the Lord’s presence in themselves and molding their life to his (which I suspect is most of us):
You, who have had Him within you without knowing Him, and have possessed Him without relishing the sweetness of His presence, open your hearts to welcome Him, this time, with more care and love, He Repeats His visit of this year with an untiring tenderness; He has forgotten your past slights; He would ‘that all things be new.’ Make room for the divine Infant, for He desires to grow within your soul. The time of His coming is close at hand: let your hear, then, be on the watch; and lest you should slumber when He arrives, watch and pray, yea, sing. The words of the liturgy are intended for also for your use: they speak of darkness, which only God can enlighten; of wounds, which only His mercy can heal; of a faintness, which can be braced only by His divine energy.
I found that very touching. It also reminded me of an aspect of the Liturgy that I think is generally under appreciated. The Liturgical observances are more than just a commemoration of historical events. They are an actual participation in those events. When we celebrate Christmas with our hearts and minds united to the intentions of the Church, we participate in that great mystery no less than the Shepherds who were there at the manager with the Incarnate Lord. It is the same idea as being at the foot of the cross at Mass. God opens a window through space and time for us. The Liturgy is that window.
During each phase of the year the Church presents us with various sentiments as She progresses through the Liturgical year. We should try to make these sentiments our own. It is in the Liturgy that we will see what these are, and where we are provided with the words to express them. During Advent we can join our prayers with the prayers of the ancient patriarchs which are frequently presented to us in the Liturgy, and stir up in ourselves a sentiment of longing for our Lord.
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