Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Advent: Visitatio

First read this on Papa Benedetto Forum. Pope Benedict's thoughts on Advent:
In the language of the ancient world, it was a technical term used to indicate the arrival of a functionary, the visit of the king or emperor to a province. But it could also mean the arrival of divinity, who emerges from hiding to manifest itself with power, or whose presence is celebrated in worship.

Christians adopted the word Advent to express their relationship with Jesus Christ: Christ is the King, who has entered this poor 'province' called earth to make a visit to everyone. In the feast of His coming, all participate who believe in Him, all who believe in His presence in the liturgical assembly.

The word adventus was substantially intended to say: God is here, he has not retired from the world, he has not left us alone. Even if we cannot see and touch Him as we can with sensible realities, He is here and comes to visit us in multiple ways.

The significance of the word Advent thus also comprehends that of visitatio, which means a visit pure and simple. In this case, it is a visit by God: He enters my life and addresses himself to me. Yet we all experience in daily life that we have little time for the Lord, and little time even for ourselves. We end up being absorbed by 'doing'.

Is it not perhaps true that often it is this activity that possesses us, that it is society with its multiple interests that monopolizes our attention? Is it not perhaps true that we devote too much time to diversions and amusements of various kinds? Sometimes, things 'overwhelm' us.

Advent, this important liturgical time that we are beginning, invites us to pause in silence to understand a presence. It is an invitation to understand that the single events of the day are signs that God addresses to us, signs of the attention that he has for each of us.

How often God makes us perceive something of his love! To keep an interior diary, so to speak, of this love would be a beautiful and healthy task in our life.

Advent invites and stimulates us to contemplate the Lord who is present. Should not the certainty of his presence help us to see the world with different eyes? Should it not help us to consider all of our existence as a 'visit', as a way in which He can come to us and be near to us in every situation?

Another fundamental element of Advent is waiting - which is at the same time, hope. Advent impels us to understand the sense of time and history as kairos, as a favorable occasion for our salvation.

Jesus has illustrated this mysterious reality in many parables: in the story of the servants asked to await the return of the master; in the parable of the virgins awaiting the spouse; or in that about sowing and harvesting.

In life, man is in a constant state of waiting: As a child, he wants to grow; as an adult, he aims for realization and success; as he advances in age, he aspires for a deserved rest. But the time comes when he discovers that he has hoped too little, if beyond professional or social position, he has nothing more to hope for.

Hope marks the path of humanity, but for Christians, it is inspired by a certainty: The Lord is present in the course of our life, he accompanies us and one day he will dry our tears. One day, not far, everything will find its fulfillment in the Kingdom of God, a kingdom of justice and peace.

But there are different ways of waiting.
Read the complete text at Zenit

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