Wednesday, 17 December 2014

From the Cosmic Christ to the Christ in a crib.

As my local parish priest recently reminded us, Advent is a game of two halves  In the first two weeks the focus is very much on the second coming of Christ.  One could say that the icon is very much an image which draws our attention to Christ in Glory returning to bring all things together in his love.  Here we see the Lord of Hosts: Jesus coming with power, subduing all things to him.  We see John the Baptist preparing a way for the Lord ( Isaiah, 40; Mark 1.).  We see the day of the Lord in which all creation is coming to an end and a new creation emerging( Peter, 2, 3). But in the second half of Advent we begin to shift from the cosmic level towards what will happen in a humble crib.  Advent comes to an end as we focus our gaze on the Blessed Virgin and (above her in the icon) the Angel Gabriel.  She implores us to gaze upon the Son of the Most High,  the very Word of God who was made flesh in her womb.  Christ, King of the Universe, became a small vulnerable baby.  This is the great mystery of Christmas: that the Almighty God has a heart, formed in the Virgin Mary,  which was wounded for us. It should make us 'tremble, tremble, tremble', and ask for mercy and His grace'!

We can, in this spirit, pray with Pope Francis who recently invited us to pray in this fashion:

“..ask the Lord for the grace that our hearts might be simple, luminous with the truth that He gives us, and thus we might be able to be lovable, forgiving, understanding of others, [to have] a large heart with the people, to be merciful. Never to condemn, never to condemn.

Let us ask the Lord for the grace that He might give us this interior light, that convinces us that the rock is Him alone, and not so many stories we make as if they were important things; and that He might tell us – that He might tell us! – the path, that He might accompany us on the path, that He might enlarge our hearts, so that they can enter into the problems of so many people, and that He might give us the grace that these people did not have: the grace to feel that we are sinners.”

Read here.

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