Advent - Thy Will Be Done!
The Catholic Church has been around for 2 thousand years! (give or take a few)
It has seen the rise and fall of nations and empires.
It is also the only Church that can make the claim that it was begun and is protected through the ages by God Almighty!
As Catholics we have access to the full 2 thousand years of wisdom of the Church taught through Divine Tradition.
One of these sources is in the Liturgy.
Advent is a time of new beginnings.
It's the Church's "New Year"...and first penitential season.
What better time, then, for a Catholic to form some New Year's resolutions!
Advent is also a time of hope; we look forward to the coming of Our Lord.
The Church says that there are 3 comings of Our Lord;
His incarnation and birth in Bethlehem
His coming to each soul through grace
His final coming at the end of time.
We look forward to celebrating Our Lord's birth at Christmas, and while we are busy preparing ourselves spiritually for Christmas, we are also preparing our souls to receive His other coming; His coming to us in grace.
The Abbot Marmion says in "Christ and His Mysteries" that the graces Our Lord gives to us during the Liturgical Year are special to the feast day being celebrated;
in other words, the graces we receive at Christmas are different from the ones received on Good Friday and Easter.
This sparks my imagination!
What kind of graces are special to Christmas??
Jesus came on earth, becoming Man in order to be able to suffer and die as Man to make up for our sins.
But in His goodness, Jesus also wants to show us the way to heaven....or in today's language you could put it;
"Life hacks according to the Word made flesh....the way to eternal happiness"
Psalm 39 Expectans expectavi is a prophetical psalm of Christ's coming. Verse 7-9 says:
Burnt offering and sin offering Thou didst not require: then said I, Behold I come. In the head of the book it is written of Me that I should do Thy Will: O my God, I have desired it, and Thy law in the midst of My heart.St. Paul knew this psalm. As a Jewish scholar he knew his scriptures well. This is probably an understatement. The story goes that a Jewish doctor of the Law could put a pin through the scriptures and be able to tell which words it went through!
This may be exaggeration, but the fact remains that Jews revered the Word of God. They all had it read to them in synagogue, and so all had some knowledge of scripture, and the scholars....the "theologians" of the time would have much of it committed to memory.
And St. Paul uses the scripture to prove that Jesus was the true promised Messiah.
In Hebrews chapter 10 verse 5-7 he quotes psalm 39 in speaking of Our Lord,
Wherefore when He cometh into the world, He saith: sacrifice and oblation Thou wouldest not: but a body Thou hast fitted to Me:
Holocausts for sin did not please Thee.
Then said I:Behold I come: in the head of the book it is written of Me: that I should do Thy will, O God
Here I was, an hour ago, thinking that the obvious lesson for Christmas is poverty and detachment.
It seems, though, as if the first lesson Our Lord shows is a hunger for the Will of God.
Okay, this makes sense.
First Communion catechism;
Why did God make You?
God made me to know, love and serve Him in this world and to be happy with Him in the next.
I once answered the phone to be greeted by a young girl who was a Jehovah's Witness. She was very polite and said she was doing a survey. She asked me if I would be willing to answer one question, namely, what did I think was the purpose of life?
Normally, this would have put me in a tailspin as my mind swirled amid the many ways one could approach this, but thankfully, the Holy Ghost must have stepped in as in a "Aha!" moment, I laughed
"Oh, that's an easy one!
I'm Catholic, and when we are little we are taught;
Why did God make you?
God made me to know Him, love Him and serve Him in this world and to be happy with Him in the next."
Well, her response surprised me.
I heard a gasp and she said, "Really? I've never heard that before!"
There was a pause and then she asked if she could call me again sometime.
That is what our Catholic Faith can do.
This, I think, is authentic Catholicism. Just putting the truth of the Faith out there in simplicity. I am grateful for that experience.
Unfortunately, I never did hear from her again. Please say a prayer for her.
So, back to the Will of God.
A hunger for the Will of God. This is the mind of Our Lord,
My meat is to do the will of him that sent meLuke 22:42
not my will but thine be doneGod made me to know love and serve Him in this world and to be happy with Him in the next.
Thy Will be done.
This is what it all boils down to.
This is our end. Detachment from the things of this world is only a means to an end;
Mother Mary Loyola in her book, "With the Church" volume I says that the lessons of the Liturgical Year should be practical. We should carry these lessons into our daily lives.
we aren't supposed to go to Mass on Sunday and think, "Oh, nice. Food for thought and then forget all about it."
Nope. We have to live it.
Could the love of the Will of God and its faithful accomplishment be a special grace of Advent?
Our Lady of Fatima said that the sacrifice that is pleasing to God is the faithful accomplishment of our duty of state.
We can always do better.
Oh boy, as a parent I know there is always ample room for improvement.
Being a parent is the hardest thing to do, (but more on this later).
What is your duty of state?
Is there something about it that could be a good subject for an Advent (and New Year's) resolution?