2nd Sunday of Advent
Are you the one who is to come?
Human history is marked by periodic waiting for the one who is to come to set us free. The common experience of us all is that we need help, we need a Saviour, we need God. Advent revives in us the attitude of waiting for God, for He alone can really save us.
Even though every generation knows this expectation, some more than others. And even though we know that the Saviour is the only one who can really help us, it is also a fact of history that the Lord raises up great men, He sends someone who steps in and brings a remedy to a disastrous situation. God acts through people; He sends great leaders to meet the demands of great trials.
None of us is oblivious to the fact that at the moment we are in dire need of leaders, strong souls who can steer the Church through the perilous waters she finds herself in. The words of the Rorate, ring so true to us: See our affliction, O Lord, and send the one who is to come…. We have all become like leaves tossed around by wind, fallen, lost…
Such times can seem long, they can seem unending, as if there were no one listening at all beyond the clouds. And yet, a bit of reading in Church history reminds that God never fails to guide His church, but it is often when the darkness seems to be at its deepest that He intervenes. So it happened on the dark night of Christmas, so it happens again and again throughout history.
At the same time, history also tells us that those great men did not just fall out of the sky. They were prepared for a very long time by Divine Providence. So it was that the Gregorian reform of the 11th and 12th centuries which brought about what was doubtless the climax of Christian civilisation in the high Middle Ages was prepared by the foundation of Cluny in the darkest hours of the 10th century. So it was too that while so many souls were being lost to the Church at the time of the Protestant Reformation, at that very time other souls were fleeing to the cloisters and would be the artisans of the tremendous blossoming of the post-Tridentine reforms.
The light shines in the darkness. If things are dark today, we have every reason to hope that some mighty leaders of the Church of tomorrow are being formed. If the family is going through its most devastating crisis ever, as all the powers of hell seem to be leagued up against it, we can also observe that more and more Christian families are standing firm and leading the way so that what is being broken today by a pagan world can be restored tomorrow by the true faith. As St Paul reminds us in today’s epistle, the Gentiles, that is to say, the pagans, are being called by God into His Church. The whole world is pagan today, and so that can only mean that a greater harvest is in store, for our God is the God of hope who fills us with joy and peace in the eternal, unfailing power of the Holy Spirit.
Indeed, we have every reason to hope in a revival of the faith. After being intoxicated and abused by the pagan goddess of freedom, many souls, having reached rock bottom, and disgusted by the insanity to which it leads, are beginning to turn back. Many parents are rising up against the destruction of our culture and the corruption of children, many women are not only resisting but reacting against the pagan fashions, many young men are wanting to be candidates for a truly Catholic priesthood, many young people, men and women alike, are seriously considering and desiring an authentic religious life and wanting it to be restored in the Church.
Let us ask the Lord to send the one He is preparing for us, to raise up many strong souls, who want to keep the flame burning in the dark, cold night of our present winter, so that when the springtime comes, its brightness and splendour may be in proportion to the darkness and coldness of the winter that preceded it. The purest flowers and the choicest fruits are no doubt being prepared at this very moment.
Last week we heard Our Lord say: Lift up your heads, for your redemption is near. That has never been more true. Let us lift up our heads now, and look with renewed fervour towards our Blessed Saviour. Amidst the hideousness of our world, let us lift up our heads and contemplate Christ Our Saviour, the most beautiful of the sons of men. Let us look up to the Star of the Sea, Mary Immaculate, hold tight to her example of purity and humility, and entrust ourselves to her prayers. This week we will celebrate the feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, whose apparition was the spark that let to the conversions of millions in Central and South America. What happened then can happen now. Souls are ripe for God when they have reached rock bottom. So many are ripe today. Let us bring Christ to them and prepare the springtime that may be closer than we think.