Sunday, December 03, 2006

B16 on Advent

Back in 1992, Ignatius Press published a book of daily meditations by then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, called Co-Workers of the Truth (his episcopal motto). Though the meditations are his, they are a collection of fragments from articles, essays, etc., the Cardinal had written over the years and weren't specifically written for the book. I think it's a great primer for those who want to sample his writings, yet feel a little intimidated to read Pope Benedict's stuff (C'mon, we've all had that dream plenty of times: You get to page four and with a big, "huh?", drop the book, run out the door screaming and swearing never to touch a Ratzinger book again. What, just me?). These meditations are great samplings of his style and depth (remember, he's a theology professor by training, so don't look for fluff), it's arranged around the liturgical seasons of the Church (so you get Lent meditations at Lent, Easter at Easter, etc.), and are, more or less, one page in length. Don't fear, Scarlett; if you don't understand today's entry, tomorrow's another day.

In the book there are about 10 meditations on Advent, and I'm thinking that, over the course of this month, I might include some of them in my blog for your daily perusal. Here's one appropriate for the start of Advent:

"'Advent' is a Latin word that can be rendered in English as 'presence, arrival.' In the language of the ancient world it was a technical term expressing the arrival of an official, especially the arrival of kings or emperors in the province. ... The Christians adopted this term to proclaim their special relationship to Jesus Christ. For them, he is a King who entered this wretched province, our world, and gifted it with the feast of his visit. ... He has not abandoned this world. He has not left us behind alone. Even though we cannot see and touch him like so many things - he is present, nevertheless, and visits us in many ways. Advent is a twofold reminder for us: for one, that God's presence in the world has already begun, that he, in hidden ways, is already here; and then, that his presence has only just begun and not yet reached completion but is still growing, developing, maturing. His presence has already begun, and we, the believers, are the ones through whom he desires to be present in the
world. Through our faith, hope, and love he desires to shine his light ever anew into the night of the world. The lights we kindle during the dark nights of this wintertime are therefore both a consolation and a reminder:
the consoling assurance the 'the Light of the world' has already appeared in the darkness of the night in Bethlehem and has changed the unholy night of human sin into the holy night of divine forgiveness for this sin."

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