Advent Dares Us to Dream

Andrew Britz, OSB,  longtime editor of Prairie Messenger, has a strong Advent meditation which begins like this:

Advent is a time of longing, longing for the kingdom made present in Jesus Christ.

It is not a time to pretend that Jesus has not yet come. We do not long for someone whom we do not know. It is precisely because we have already come to know and cherish Jesus as our Lord and Savior that we can truly long for his presence.

God with wisdom divine made us a mystery unto ourselves. Every time we come to a new level of self-awareness we also awaken to the fact that there is much more about ourselves that we do not know.

And so, even our self-acceptance becomes an act of faith in the God who created us. So it is not just Jesus whom we now know only in faith and hope. Advent tells us not to be afraid to hope for the kingdom, a kingdom of justice and peace, a kingdom of self-fulfillment, a kingdom in which the church itself is known not so much for its propensity to point out sin but, rather, for its marvelous ability to reveal to us that goodness made obvious in Jesus Christ. …

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  1. I liked this reflection and found the part quoted below particularly vigorous. It was both challenging and comforting, a call to conversion and a comfort to admit that we are on the way, in a state of incompleteness, both knowing Christ and still waiting for him to break into our lives and our world.

    “In the liturgy the whole church cries out longing for fullness. During Advent the church itself makes its own the words of the prophet Isaiah, words spoken during some of Israel’s most difficult years. How can it be, we ask, that the church makes its own the pathos in Isaiah’s heart as he cried out in the wilderness of his being for consolation, for a path of salvation in his personal desert?

    Yes, the church cries out: “Come to us, Lord, with your peace that we may rejoice before you with our whole heart.” Freely, openly, the church admits that it is restless. But what else is to be expected since the church is not yet fully at home with its Lord?

    And so we shun the temptation to cynicism, the temptation that makes our smallness of spirit the norm. Because we know Jesus, we hope for more. We should take consolation that the church in its Advent liturgy admits to its incompleteness, its smallness of spirit, its temptation to settle down and idolize its current structures as nigh-on perfect.

    During Advent we as individuals and as church renew our pledge not to settle down, not to make our home in the present age. We promise not to attempt to fill our incompleteness with anything and everything that is handy.”

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