December 21, 2008

The Fourth Week of Advent

"Advent' is a Latin word that can be translated as "presence" or "coming". In the ancient world, it was a technical term, denoting the arrival of a person in office such as a king or an emperor. It could also indicate the coming of the deity, in which case the god's advent was his emerging from concealment and making his presence known in power or else having it solemnly celebrated in an act of worship.
Christians took over this world in order to express their particular relationship with Jesus Christ. For them, He was and is the king who has entered this wretched province, the earth, and enables it to celebrate His visit. What Christians mean in general by this word "Advent", then is: God is there. He has not withdrawn from the world. He has not left us alone. Even though we cannot see Him or touch Him as we can the things that surround us, He is still there and, what is more, He comes to us in many different ways. We have mentioned the word "visit" in this context. This word can be used in its happy, original, and almost literal sense of "going to see" a person, persons, or a place. It is, however, also used in the less pleasant sense of afflicting or punishing, when it is associated with such concepts as trouble, famine, plague, or illness. This word should therefore enable us to see that something of the beauty of Advent can be found even in difficulty. Illness and suffering can therefore, like a great joy, also be a personal Advent - a visit by God who wants to enter my life and turn toward me.
~ Taken from "Benedictus: Day by Day with Pope Benedict XVI"

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