Friday, December 15, 2006

WITH THE MISSAL - meditations on the Missal and the Breviary. Ed by Fr M. Goosens OFM

Second week of Advent - Friday

During Advent, Bethlehem is our goal. The light that shines from the little town as if to meet us fills us with peace and hope. There is a great contrast between it and the surrounding darkness in which so many souls wander, far from the God who loves them. It is for us, children of the Spirit, to let our light shine before those who, having neither peace nor hope, are truly poor. In the dark days of Advent we look out for the light which is Christ. So sure are we of his coming that it seems as if we have already seen his star in the east, and in the light which illumines Bethlehem we discern the figure of the maiden Mother awaiting her Saviour and ours. Once the full light is there our minds will be illuminated, our hearts purified as by fire, and divine certainty will take the place of human doubt. Our days, no more solitary, will overflow with joy and our nights with the hope of blessings to come. God has made us children of hope, and that for which we hope is nothing less than he himself. The promise of his coming means even more to us that it did to our forefathers the prophets, for he has already truly come. We are on the road to Bethlehem, where we know that we shall find him, but all around us the darkness deepens and the heathen rage. Every day fresh rumours reach us of war. Yet it is God's will that we take heathens and persecutors to our hearts and pray that one day their conversion may glorify his mercy.
St Paul quotes the words of the Psalmist: "I will give thanks to thee for this and sing thy praise in the midst of the Gentiles." And also those of Isaias: "A root shall spring from Jesse, one who shall rise up to rule the Gentiles. The gentiles, in him, shall find hope." (Rom. 15.9, 12)
If you give us your light, Lord, it is not that we should hide it under a bushel measure, but that we should let it shine over your children who have never known you, or who have abandoned you. We trust in the power of the Holy Ghost who, at our Confirmation, anointed us to be your apostles, each in his appointed place. We have the right to hope for great things, since you pray in us for all heathens and sinners, and accept our sacrifice for the salvation of the world and the unity of your Church.
You have made the hearts of your elect as wide as heaven and earth, therefore we cannot be satisfied until we have called all those who dwell in the slums of our great cities or wander, homeless, along our highways and byways, to your wedding feast; till your banqueting hall is full and your praises are sung by all for whom you left your throne in heaven to dwell here below, the poorest of the poor, despised, persecuted, and tortured for love of those whom you have created.
O God of hope, grant that, by the power of the Holy Ghost, our hopes for the salvation of all whom you have created may be fulfilled.