November 30, 2021
Dear brothers and sisters in Christ,
In Latin, the word ‘Advent’ is written “Adventus”. It literally translates as “arrival, advent”, hence Christian Latin translates it as “coming of Christ”. It is said that Pope Gregory the Great established this liturgical season towards the end of the 6th century. Here is a beautiful definition found on the website of the Cybercuré, (Fr. Raymond d’Izarny of the Diocese of Nanterre): “Originally, it is a Greek term ‘parousia’ used in the Church of the first centuries, translated into Latin by ‘adventus’. This word is used in Greek and Latin to designate the coming of Christ among men both for the advent of his birth and his glorious advent at the end of time. Advent is a time of preparation for Christmas. This word is used to designate the time before Christmas. (…)
“The great witnesses to the expectation of the coming of Christ are the prophet Isaiah, John the Baptist and Mary: * The prophet Isaiah expresses the messianic hope, he announces the birth of Emmanuel. He embodies both God’s preparation and humanity’s desires. * John the Baptist announces the imminent coming of the Messiah and invites people to a baptism of conversion to prepare for it. He is the forerunner. As a child, and later as an adult, he points to Jesus. * Mary accepts to be the mother of the messiah. She is the symbol of the dwelling of God in us.”
This liturgical season is not only a time of waiting – much less of passive waiting – but also of vigilance. Vigilance in prayerful listening and contemplating of God, which we can all do by meditating on the Word of God daily; vigilance in the practice of the Christian virtues; vigilance in spiritual and corporal charity; and finally, vigilance in regular participation in the Eucharist, from which our desire for the coming of Christ in us is rooted. In short, Advent is a time of waiting and vigilance. How could it be otherwise, since waiting for the coming of Christ implies that every Christian must work actively for his coming, deploying all his energies in order to prepare the way for the Lord who is coming and who wants to dwell in the depths of our being? This is the only path proposed to us by the Holy Scriptures and which, like a magnet, attracts this glorious coming of God into the hearts of those who ardently desire it.
Happy Advent to each and every one of you.
+ Guy Desrochers, C.Ss.R.
Bishop of Pembroke