Advent Is the Season of Hope
Friday, December 17, 2010
By Father Mark Mary

Pope Benedict described Advent as the season of hope par excellance. Hope, as the Catechism defines it, is the theological virtue by which we desire the kingdom of heaven and eternal life as our happiness, placing our trust in Christs promises and relying not on our own strength, but on the help of the grace of the Holy Spirit.

Each of the liturgical seasons has its own theological character, its own emphasis in Jesus saving work. Advent focuses on the coming of the Lord, and this is at the heart of our Faith. Through the Incarnation, God has revealed Himself to us. He has come down to us, in our sinfulness, to save us, and there is salvation in no one and nothing else.

This is pretty basic stuff, but we can lose sight of Jesus as the source of our salvation and happiness. In Advent, we renew this hope of eternal life that is found in Him. We find the fullness of the Kingdom of God in Him, and, during Advent, we rekindle our desire for Him. If this desire has grown cold within us due to our sinfulness and worldliness, prayer, simplicity of life and a little quiet time with Our Lord can blow on the coals to ignite a flame again.

By the virtue of hope, we trust that God will provide us with whatever means are necessary for our sanctification the graces, trials and encouragement needed for our personal growth in holiness. Whatever state of life we are in, whatever situation we find ourselves in, Jesus is leading us to Himself. So, our Advent hope does not demand anything extraordinary in order to grow. We only have to turn to Him, in the present moment, for guidance and strength.

Advent is very pertinent to the times in which we live, for we are in an age that trusts in itself and its own abilities. Oftentimes, our view is not toward the Kingdom above but the world below. In many ways, we have lost our hunger for God, and feed off of the world instead. But the hope of Advent is that Jesus has come and will come again. In this liturgical season, we invite Him into our hearts yet again, to renew our trust and confidence in Him as Savior.

Mary is our model of hope; her response to the Archangel Gabriel was to Let it be done to me according to your word. She trusted in the Lord, offering herself totally to God and His plan for her life. She shows us how to renew our hope in God by submitting to His plan in our lives and trusting in His Word that His life may be born anew in us. Mother Mary, pray for us!

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