How accurately Blessed John Henry Newman prepares the mood for this Advent Season:
“The year is worn out: spring, summer, autumn, each in turn have brought their utmost, but they are over and the end is come. All is past and gone, all has failed... and the austere weather which succeeds, though ungrateful to the body, is in tone with our feelings, and acceptable. Thus the soul is cast forward upon the future... and does it rejoice that there are new heavens and a new earth to come. These are feelings of holy men waiting earnestly for the Advent of Christ.”
Through Mary and Joseph, the Shepherds and Magi, the human race for the first time saw God face to face. In earliest days “Advent” marked that “Coming” of Christ – Christmas Day. In time, the scope of the mystery was broadened to include a preparation for his Christmas Coming and his “Final Coming” on Judgment Day.
There is no better way to prepare for these mysteries than by celebrating what is so central to our Faith, his sacramental Coming in the Eucharist – for which we should prepare as well. Through the Sacrament of Penance, may each of us entrust to the forgiving Christ “all that is past, all that is gone and all that has failed” as we earnestly await for the Advent of Christ and the new hope it brings this Christmas.
Edwin Cardinal O’Brien