07 Dec Second Sunday of Advent 2014
We continue our Advent reflections from the writings of our late Sr Patricia Mary
The other two great models and preachers for Advent are Isaiah and Our Lady. We know of course that Our Lady is a model for the Church. During Advent the Church proclaims the certainty of Christ’s coming, as did our Lady during the nine months prior to Christ’s birth. It is not a matter of maybe or might. It is an assured certainty; like that of one about to give birth. In the Church’s preaching there is an urgency born of confidence as it prepares God’s people for his final appearing at the end of time when he will deal his decisive blow on evil. Then he will create a new heaven and a new earth as he promised, the perfect setting for his reign of justice and peace which will last forever. We look forward to this victory daily as we pray, “Thy Kingdom come!”, but in Advent we focus our faith more finely, anticipating this arrival with all the emotions of an expectant mother. “We wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Saviour, Jesus Christ”, is how the liturgy puts it. On that day our welcome will be as strong and true as Mary’s was when she laid him in the manger at Bethlehem. At his second appearance with his angel hosts of power, we shall gaze on his face with an ecstasy long desired, as his Mother did before us in the presence of his angels at the crib. Yet between that first coming in the flesh at Christmas and his Second Coming in glory at the end of history, Christ is constantly living and growing in the Church. Through grace he is increasing like the unborn child in the womb of every soul that longs for him. We can feel his presence in prayer as Mary felt him in the last month of her confinement. In an analogous way spiritually, he moves gently in the silence of the attentive heart of the Christian. Without any need for words, he lets us know he is there. As we guard that Life within us until its ultimate appearance at our life’s end, we pray that even now through the on-going Advent of contemplation, right choices and graced action, we may bring him to maturity within us mystically, that we may give him safe delivery. This was St. Paul’s wish for his churches in Galatia. “My little children” he wrote them, “I am in travail until Christ be formed in you!” It is still the Church’s wish today, that the Word might become flesh in our flesh by holiness of life. That together the community of believers might make visible the Body of Christ by deeper participation in the sacramental life, by their acts of public worship, by praying the Liturgy of the Hours, and above all by celebrating the Eucharist with wonder and awe. Mary in Advent is especially vigilant over those who carry her Son through the modern world. As our Mother the Church she intercedes for her children with the Holy Spirit lest Christ be still-born through the stubbornness of unrepented sin.