Ave Maria MeditationsDear Brothers and Sisters,
Today on the First Sunday of Advent, we enter that four-week Season with which a new liturgical year begins and that immediately prepares us for the Feast of Christmas, the memorial of the Incarnation of Christ in history. Yet, the spiritual message of Advent is more profound and already orients us to the glorious return of the Lord at the end of our history. Adventus is the Latin word that could be translated by “arrival”, “coming” or “presence”…
By using this term, “Advent”, Christians wanted to express the special relationship that bound them to the Crucified and Risen Christ. He is a King who, having entered this poor province called earth, made us the gift of His visit and after His Resurrection and Ascension into Heaven desired in any case to stay with us; we perceive His mysterious presence in the liturgical assembly. Indeed, in celebrating the Eucharist, we proclaim that He did not withdraw from the world, that He did not leave us alone and, even though we cannot see and touch Him as with material and tangible realities, He is in any case with us and among us. Indeed, He is in us, because He can attract to himself and communicate His life to every believer who opens his/her heart to Him. Thus, Advent means commemorating the first coming of the Lord in the flesh, with His definitive return already in mind, and, at the same time, it means recognizing that Christ present in our midst makes Himself our travelling companion in the life of the Church who celebrates His mystery.
This knowledge, dear brothers and sisters, nourished by listening to the Word of God, must help us to see the world with different eyes, to interpret the individual events of life and history as words that God addresses to us, as signs of His love that assure us of His closeness in every situation; this awareness, in particular, should prepare us to welcome Him when “He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and His kingdom will have no end”, as in a little while we shall repeat in the Creed. In this perspective, Advent becomes for all Christians a time of expectation and hope, a privileged time for listening and reflection, as long as we let ourselves be guided by the liturgy, which invites us to advance to meet the Lord who comes.
“Come, Lord Jesus”: dear friends, this ardent invocation of the Christian community of the early days must also become our constant aspiration, the aspiration of the Church in every epoch, which longs for and prepares herself for the encounter with her Lord.
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI