Light in the Darkness
“The cross was constantly before the eyes of Basil Moreau, whose motto for his congregation was Spes Unica. The cross was to be “Our Only Hope.” (Constitutions of the Congregation of Holy Cross, 8:113). You might be thinking this would be better for Lent than it is for Advent, but this is the season of hope, after all. And our hope in the cross couldn’t happen without the Incarnation, God made man. So our lesser and greater hopes are always tied to THE great hope, Jesus Himself, no matter the time of year.
My guess is you’ve heard at least one homily this season about slowing down a bit and observing a little more prayer, reflecting on the need to wait in blessed hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ. This is true! But it certainly is a challenge to be “in the world” but not “of the world” when there’s such a frenetic pace of shopping, parties, and watching every single Christmas special on TV. In this great season of Advent, it makes sense to prepare our hearts each day for the coming of Christ, so that we can bring Him forth in all that we say and do. We have experienced Him already, and so we bring hope to people in our lives who don’t know Jesus Christ is with us always. What could be a better gift than the gift of faith?
This month we also celebrate many Marian feasts – Immaculate Conception, Juan Diego, and Our Lady of Guadalupe. We will hear about the Annunciation at one of those Masses, I am sure, when Gabriel visited Mary and she responded with the great fiat, the awesome “yes” that made the Incarnation possible over 2000 years ago. She accepted the great gift of becoming the Mother of God by embracing God’s will. What a great example for those who are discerning God’s call. Mary is the perfect saint, who with her Son are the only two who were truly sinless while on this earth. Her words from Scripture, taken together, make for a good blueprint for the Christian life: “I am the servant of the Lord, let it be done to me according to your word…” “My soul magnifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my savior…” “Your father and I have been looking for You with great anxiety.” “Do whatever he tells You.”
The vows that consecrated religious profess are to be a witness against the excess of wealth, power, and pleasure that can never satisfy our souls. We profess the vows in a moment, and live them out over the course of our lives, saying “yes” to the Lord as we live out our vocations. Christ’s beautiful light shines through the darkness, and the darkness cannot overcome it, for He is Emmanuel, God with us always. That is the hope that we bring to one another in these four weeks and throughout the liturgical year. Let us wait in joyful hope, preparing our hearts for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ at Christmastime and at the end of time.
Prayers to Mary Immaculate
Let us pray. O God, you willed that, at the message of an angel, Your Word should take flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary; grant to Your suppliant people, that we, who believe her to be truly the Mother of God, may be helped by her intercession with You. Through the same Christ our Lord.
From Christmas to the Purification
Let us pray. O God, by the fruitful virginity of Blessed Mary, You bestowed upon the human race the rewards of eternal salvation; grant, we beg You, that we may feel the power of her intercession, through whom we have been made worthy to receive the Author of life, our Lord Jesus Christ your Son. Who lives and reigns with You forever and ever.
Taken from the Litany of Loretto
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