First Sunday of Advent
God Himself will come and will save you (Is. 35.4).
This coming as foretold was expected for long ages – not only by the Hebrews but even by the Gentiles through the preparation which Judaism had already served – and desired by all the just who were not granted to see its dawn. This desire of Old was sustained only by hope, but it is now a confident desire, founded on the consoling reality of the Redemption already accomplished. Although historically completed twenty centuries ago, this longing is still actualized daily on our traditional high altars – the Sacramental Real Presence of the Lord in our tabernacles – and in our souls accomplished by grace to the degree in which grace must develop and mature in us unto the perfect man, unto the measure of the age of the fullness of Christ (Eph. 4.13), that is, until it transforms the soul into an alter Christus (another Christ).
In today’s Epistle (Rom. 13.11-14), St. Paul exhorts us, Brethren, it is now the hour… to rise from sleep. Thus Advent is the “springtime” of the Church that leads her to that grand “summertime” when the Orient from on high (Lk. 1.78) [glorifies] the house of [His] majesty (Is. 60.7). It is a “springtime” bringing forth a more plentiful measure of ripening fruits of sanctity; that Christian sanctity of “always going forward and increasing in holiness” (St. John Mary Vianney in our post “A Grain of Mustard Seed“), not anymore of “[passing] from virtue to vice and from vice to vritue” (ibid.), nay, of halting between the false god of the modern fashion and the true God of our sacred Christian Tradition . Even now, the Apostle shows us the great fruits of Advent: Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light… as in the day: not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and impurities, not in contention and envy: But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ… and Him Crucified (1 Cor. 2.2)… [as to] make not provision for the flesh in its concupiscences (Rom. 13.12,13,14). And in order to help us attain this end, the Lord and Savior comes to meet us still with His grace through the traditional Sacraments of the Holy Church; He gives us also His Immaculate Mother – whose Solemn Feast we are celebrating on Saturday – speculum sine macula (“the unspotted mirror,” Wis. 7.26) through whom we can better see, on the one hand, the corruption that is in us according to the degree of our semblance with the devil; and, reflect, on the other, the perfection of the image and likeness of Christ ; it is Infinite Mercy that inclines to us.
On the other hand, the Church, in today’s Gospel (Lk. 21.25-33), puts before us the last coming of the Lord and Savior Jesus Christ as the Supreme Just Judge Who shall confound, crush, and destroy His enemies. And then they shall see the Son of Man coming in a cloud, with great power and majesty. He came with the healing and redeeming merciful love of God; He comes with grace into our souls; He will visit us with His purifying fire in this our end-times (Lk. 17.29-30, cf., our post “Our Lady, Vatican II Disorientation, and the Annihilation of Many Nations“); He will come with ultimate justice at the end of the world. Christ’s coming, the synthesis of Christianity, an invitation to a vigilant, trusting expectation, Lift up your heads, for your redemption is at hand!