Thursday, December 6, 2012
"But it [is] wrong to make Advent a sort of sentimental preview of Christmas....Advent is really a continuation of the Church's autumn season, her preparation for the Saviour's return. In this light Christmas and Epiphany are one great feast oriented to the parousia." (Pius Parsch, The Church's Year of Grace)
Yes, the parousia. The Second Coming. The end times. The final judgment. When you pray your Advent prayers, that's what you're praying for. But judgment as the prophets yearned for it: the universe set aright.
Isaiah 26:9 -- My soul yearns for you in the night, yes, my spirit within me keeps vigil for you; when your judgment dawns upon the earth, the world's inhabitants learn justice.
"Ever since Christianity came into the world, it has been, in one sense, going out of it. It is so uncongenial to the human mind, it is so spiritual, and man is so earthly, it is apparently so defenceless, and has so many strong enemies, so many false friends, that every age, as it comes, may be called 'the last time'. It has made great conquests, and done great works; but still it has done all, as the Apostle says of himself, 'in weakness, and in fear, and in much trembling'. How it is that it is always failing, yet always continuing, God only knows who wills it--but so it is; and it is no paradox to say...it may last many years more, and yet...is likely to end any day." (From a sermon preached by Bl. John Henry Cardinal Newman, December 6, 1840)