Thursday, December 1, 2011

Advent Reflection

This is from Meditations for Every Day of the Year, by Bishop Richard Challoner, who lived from 1691-1781. You can view the book online, here.

…[T]he time of Advent…is a penitential time, and a time of devotion, in which we are every day called upon by the Church of God to prepare the way of the Lord, to make straight His paths; to enter into the like dispositions to those which St. John the Baptist required of the people when he was sent to preach to them conversion and penance, in order to prepare them for their Messiah; that so we also, by turning away from our sins, by sorrow and repentance, and turning ourselves to the Lord our God with our whole heart, by love and affection, may dispose our souls to welcome our Saviour whose birth we are about to celebrate; and to embrace in such a manner the mercy and grace which He brings with Him at His first coming, as to escape hereafter those dreadful judgments which His justice shall execute upon impenitent sinners at His second coming. See then, my soul, that thou dedicate this holy time to suitable exercise of devotion and penance, that thou mayest answer the end of this institution.

…[W]e are all summoned by the Church, at the beginning of this holy time, (in the words of St. Paul, Romans 8:11…) to dispose ourselves now for Christ. "Knowing the time," says the Apostle, " that is new the hour for us to rise from sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is passed, (or far spent,) the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light; let us walk honestly, as in the day". 0! my soul, let us consider these words as particularly addressed to us, in order to awaken us, and to stir us up to begin now a new life. Alas! have we not hitherto been quite asleep as to the greatest of all our concerns? Are not far the greatest part of Christians quite asleep by their unaccountable indolence in the great business of the salvation of their souls and of a happy eternity? Are they not sleeping too, which is worse, in the very midst of dangers and of mortal enemies, who are continually plotting their destruction, and even upon the very brink of a precipice, which if they fall down, will let them in a moment into hell? O let us then all hearken seriously to this summons, and rouse ourselves now, whilst we have time, out of this unhappy lethargy, and from this hour begin to apply ourselves in good earnest to that only business for which we came into this world. O let us cast off now and forever the works of darkness, and put on Jesus Christ.

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