“Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely, the memory of the God who became a child. This is a healing memory; it brings hope. The purpose of the Church’s year is continually to rehearse her great history of memories, to awaken the heart’s memory so that it can discern the star of hope.” ~ Pope Benedict XVI
We’ve all seen movies or television shows – or perhaps a family member or friend in real life – who may have been panicking. They were rambling on and on in a very frenetic way until somebody slapped them. That slap seemed to bring them back to their senses and helped them to focus upon what was concerning them so much.
Pope Benedict XVI reminds us that Advent is like a spiritual slap in the face that snaps us back to reality. In our lives, we often become overwhelmed with worldly concerns. Our worries and joys most often center around the challenges or rewards that are a part of the world. Yet the world is not our goal. Heaven is. We need a good reminder of that from time to time. Advent provides that reminder.
When we remember the Christmas story, we call to mind a wonderful gift wrapped in a great mystery. The mystery of the Incarnation is beyond our comprehension. How can an all-powerful God take on our flesh and blood in order to become one of us? This is more than God posing as a human. This is God actually becoming a human. That mystery is overwhelming.
At that same time, that mystery is extremely comforting. If God loved us so much that He would be willing to become one of us, we have an opportunity to love Him in return. At the end of our days, we will see ourselves as He sees us and we will become like Him since we are made in His image and likeness.
Advent helps us to prepare for that ultimate reality as we await the return of the Son of God, Jesus Christ our Lord. We are almost at the end of our second week of Advent. Don’t let the opportunity to prepare slip away.
FAITH ACTION: Remember the reason for the season of Advent and, by your words and deeds, try to awaken memories of the Lord in the hearts of those you meet so as to give them hope.