Advent and All Things New

advent decorationsAh Advent, the long awaited season of the year when we wait and prepare for the coming of Jesus Christ, liturgically speaking. We don’t speak or sing the Gloria, the Sanctuary is draped in purple, a color of mourning. Well, it’s also a color of royalty, and the violet Advent hues also echo the colors of the dawn this time of year, which is all of course appropriate and fitting as we await the commemoration of the birth of the Lord, Jesus Christ.

Secularly speaking we do zero out in the world, far away from the mandates of Faith and of Holy Church. Black Friday spawns riots and wild spending sprees for stuff that we absolutely cannot live without, such as TV’s, electronic games, decorations, et cetera. Cyber Monday continues the spree, online. And it’s usually all good fun, despite a few hardcore enthusiasts who run riot. I was out buying a copy of Absolom, Absolom, and ended up buying a Nook which was on sale for $79, and am now enjoying the novel via Nook.

Father, would you say that spaghetti is consubstantial with linguine?

Advent also sees many, (many, many) wild parties which go by the name of Christmas parties except that, of course, they’re during Advent and not Christmas. Christmas is wonderfully peaceful and rich time after the hectic season of preparation and ‘waiting’.

Advent also marks the new year in the Church, and this year of course the long awaited much ballyhooed debut of the new translation of the Mass. The tension mounted as I walked to the front of the Church, lit the Advent candle and made the sign of the cross. “The Lord be with you,” I said. “And also with you,” came the reply.
Roosevelt Lobby during Advent
We started over, after a brief explanation and some laughs, and did it the right way.

The readings this week speak to humility; having the humility to be honest with ourselves about our faith lives and our relationship with God; and having the humility to render our lives in the state of readiness to meet God.

I always imagine I’ll live a long life and grow in holiness with all the time for prayer which old age allows. But what if the Lord suddenly appeared before me in the next two minutes and said, “OK, time’s up here. What have you done with your life? Have you even bothered to grow in holiness?”

Well. First off, let me just say that the Lord would have to wake me up with smelling salts if that happened. I also like to think that He would be a bit more polite and circumspect about it all. And that there would be heavenly music involved and a thank you for being a faithful Priest despite my struggles and flaws. Second off, I’d like to respectfully add that I hope that does not happen for many reasons. But if it does, I’d like to think that I’m watchful and ready in many ways.

But what do I know about the mind of Christ? He’s God, not me.

Holy Face

We also, with the beginning of the new Church year, are dealing with the new translation. It’s beautiful and I love it; and everyone has done very well with it thus far. I gave some excerpts from the handouts by the Dominican Fathers, which help to elucidate the meaning of the translations.

For example, John Chrysostom wrote, on using the phrase “and with your spirit,” during a Homily on the Feast of Pentecost:

If the Holy Spirit were not in our Bishop when he gave the peace to all shortly before ascending to his holy sanctuary you would not have replied to him altogether, “And with your spirit.” This is why you reply with this expression… reminding yourselves by this reply that he who is here does nothing of his own power, nor are the offered gifts the work of human nature, but it is the grace of the Spirit present and hovering over all things which prepared that mystic sacrifice.”

We also spoke about the meaning of the word consubstantial. It’s hardly a difficult word. In fact, there is currently a decent discussion of it over at Wikipedia. (Someone may change it tomorrow, but hopefully it will correct back to a decent discussion if that happens.)

‘Consubstantial’ also sparked a discussion here in the rectory about pasta. Fr. Bob, I said. Would you say that spaghetti is consubstantial with linguine? Seems like a fitting analysis, if not completely off target. Why, yes, he replied. I would.
linguine
We have great discussion here over dinner.

Advent, the beginning of a new year in the liturgical life of the Church; a time to call to mind humility, and the fact that God is to be in charge of our lives. We may get tired of waiting for him, and lose focus from time to time, but he is always as near as a prayer, when our hearts are with His spirit.