"Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to prepare the ways of Your only-begotten Son, so that through His coming we may be able to serve You with purified minds."
(Collect of the 2nd Sunday of Advent)
Low Mass at 5pm, St Patrick's Church, College Rd, Kilkenny.
In today’s liturgy the texts invite us to have complete trust in God’s help. “Thy salvation cometh quickly: why art thou wasted with sorrow…? I will save thee and deliver thee, fear not… As a mother comforteth her sons, so will I comfort thee, saith the Lord.” God does not want anxiety or discouragement. If He proposes to us an exalted way of sanctity, He does not leave us alone but comes to help and sustain us. There is physical or moral misery which Jesus cannot cure. He asks only that we go to Him with a heart dilated by faith, and complete trust in His all-powerful, merciful love.
In today’s Gospel Jesus directs our attention to the strong, austere figure of John the Baptist. If we want to prepare our hearts for the coming, we, like St. John the Baptist, must detach ourselves from all the goods of the earth. John had left everything and gone into the desert to lead a life of penance. His example invites us to retire into the interior desert of our heart, far from all creatures, to await the coming of Jesus in deep recollection, silence and solitude, insofar as the duties of our state of life permit.
We must preserve in this waiting, in spite of aridity and discouragement. If we wish to taste the sweet joys of Christmas, we should know how to prepare ourselves with these dispositions which the Church invites us to pray for today: “We beseech You, O Lord, to teach us… to despise the things of earth and to love those of heaven.”
Hark, a herald voice is calling;
“Christ is nigh,” it seems to say;
“Cast away the dreams of darkness,
O ye children of the day.”
(Hymnus, En clara vox)