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Sunday, January 14, 2007

 

Advent Recollection notes


(This is late, I know, but "better late than later," as Fr. J. would say in jest.)

From the lecture of Fr. J., 12/10/2005, Roozen Hall, Don Bosco, Makati.

Advent is about the three comings of Jesus, according to St. Bernard (versus two of St. Cyril).

Jesus came, comes, and will come:

- in history: in the first Christmas, in the poverty of a stable
- in mystery: in the poor, in the sacraments
- in majesty: at the end of time, where Jesus will be proclaimed Christ the King

'Mystery’ came from misterion, which comes from the Greek myo= myopia = "can’t see very well." The Latin version is misterium, which transliterates to "truth that’s hard to explain." Misterio is the Spanish word.

Advent is supposed to be “tempo forte,” very lively. The 2nd Sunday of advent is called Gaudete Sunday, where the faithful are exhorted to rejoice. The second Sunday, or the second (#2 in St. Bernard's list) coming of Jesus is special because in the first, we’re not there and in the third, we’re not sure when.

"I (Jesus) am there" in history, mystery, in majesty, in your heart. God’s plan involves the present. Advent should remind us of this.

Advent is a time of crisis (and of courage)

Let's see advent through a look at Mary. Mary’s a Jew, and Jews study their scripture from infancy (2Tim 3:15, 2Tim3:1; see Logos Library System NJB). But how did the Jews transmit the teachings? Through lullaby!

Mary had to go through a crisis to usher in the coming of Jesus in history. Crisis
is from the Greek crino = to judge. Crisis is a time of judgment. Note that in a crime, someone is judged. Note, too, the etymology of critique.

Note, further, that the Chinese ideogram for crisis has 2 characters, which mean "opportunity" and "failure." But in Christian terms, crisis is an opportunity for grace (1Cor.10:13).

Our crises are tailored for us. We can only understand this through grace. Grace is a free gift; you can take it, but if you don’t, it’s up to you.

The house of Mary was a cave. In that cave, she heard the angel say, "Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favor."

Advent is a time of knowing oneself. “You always need a talent scout.” Just like Mary, we can be in a position where we can go through a crisis. We can be like Mary in terms of being ‘called’ against our plans.

Fear, understandably, is always our enemy. We need to know our latent natural abilities, as well as the gifts of spirit that we have. This should strengthen us.

Jesus, after all, wants to heal us. Read what Mk. 16:17-18 says about Jesus driving out demons, speaking in tongues, healing diseases, overcoming serpents, and counteracting poison. See also Luke 1:30.

One can be afraid if one doesn’t know oneself. So, don’t take counsel of your fears
Fear can stifle you, fear can even kill. As 1Jn. 4:18 says, there is no fear in love. Did you know that the Bible has 365 phraseologies for "Don’t be afraid"? With fear, you allow the devil to get the upper hand.
Humility
The proper posture for advent is humility (as we examine our conscience through our moment of crisis). Let's take a look at Mary's humility.

Luke 1:30: "For you Mary have found favor with God.
Prov 3:34: Mary is humble.
James 4:6: God is stern to the haughty, gives grace to the humble.
Mary’s response: "Behold the handmaid of the Lord…"

"Handmaid" actually means "slave girl," from the Greek doulei.

Jesus Himself chracterizes Himself as being humble. Mt. 11:29: "Learn from me, for I am meek, gentle, and humble of heart." Jesus is king and teacher, but he washed our feet.

Humble is the opposite of the Tagalog word hambog.

According to St. Teresa Avila, humility is "the truth about oneself," objective truths about ourselves.

Humility comes from the Latin (?) word humus = earth.

We must soberly face the truth, and the truth is: We are neither angles nor devils.

Thankfully, we have Jesus = Jehoshua, "Yahweh saves." Jesus is useless if we are perfect. We need Jesus because we need a lot of saving. As G.K. Chesterton said, "Man is not what he is supposed to be."

The biggest room in our lives is the room for improvement.

Mary allowed herself the liberty to ask, out of love, not in the spirit of doubt or rebellion. We, too, can ask, because the Lord doesn’t leave us even if it's dark. We can question, and God will explain if we only listen.

If we understand ourselves, we realize we are slaves of God. We are sons and daughters, yes, but we shouldn’t forget that He is our God. We are ‘servants” of God.

God is father (we are His children), Son (as God-man, we are his friend, brother, sister), and Holy Spirit (we are Its temple). But first, God is God. God is Some Ones (Trinity).

Because of her humility and courage, Mary became the "Mother of God" and is today the Immaculate Conception. Immaculate = im (not) + macula (stained) = stainless (in terms of sin). Jesus chose His mother and because of her function, she was preserved from sin.

Still and all, everything is from "grace" (Lk. 1:28). Grace is from the Greek (?) word charism, which gave rise to such words as charity, charisma, charm. The Hail Mary prayer affirms Mary was/is "full of grace." The actual text is "you have been filled with grace." This is the Biblical basis of Mary being immaculately conceived.

Additional quotes:

"But as deep as their desire was, deeper still did God want their faith in him to become."

Related quotes from some other lecture:

Question: What can I offer God this Christmas?
Answer: My sins.

"Christmas is for giving and forgiving."

**
Latin Vulgate Bible = vulgate means "language of the crowd." That's where the terms vulgar and divulge came from.

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