Friday, December 23, 2005

The Healing Power of Advent

Nice Advent reflection from the Miami Tribune by Fr. James Fetscher:

More than simply getting ready for Christmas with holiday shopping, gift wrapping and manger scenes, Advent's focus is the return of Jesus in Glory. Well, we're more than half way through Advent; how are we doing?
What am I talking about? I ask myself, ''Is Jesus the point of what I'm doing today?'' during my meditative time at the ''Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament'' [the host consecrated during Holy Communion].
In my library there is a picture of Pope John Paul II in profile. Behind him is Jesus, also in profile. I ask myself -- is Jesus standing behind all of what I am doing?
Advent preparation is a special ''gut check'' on keeping Jesus in focus. Keeping Him in focus can't help but affect the way we live each day of this beloved season, and each day after it.
When we think back on the tragedies of the tsunami, the increasing crescendo of insurgency and terrorism, the devastation of the Pakistani earthquakes, our unending hurricane season, we ask the Lord to help us focus on the continuing needs of so many people. Perhaps we even find ourselves a little hunched over from what we have been through, and even more, saddened by what we have watched others experience.
What can we do about it? In perhaps unexpected simplicity, Monsignor Ronald Knox, an English spiritual writer, convert and Oxford chaplain, suggests the journey of a Christian is like a choir singing without instruments. Eventually, your pitch tends to slip. You go flat or even sometimes sharp. Then the choir leader pulls out a little harmonica-like pitch pipe and sounds the correct note and the choir gets back on pitch.
Advent is a good time to get out the pitch pipe and get back on pitch. It works pretty well if you use the breath of the Holy Spirit to make the sound. In my mind the pitch pipe is that ``gaze on the return of Jesus in Glory.''
In other words, for us believers, what has the power to help heal all the visions of a year's worth of troubling events? It is the return of Jesus in Glory on the horizon of Advent that enables us to look through and across the fields of pain.
When we pray O Come, O Come Emmanuel, let Him not come simply as the babe in an overly beautified, prettified and sanitized stable scene. Let Him also come as the Victor who leaves no pain untouched, no wound unhealed, if we would only ''adjust the pitch'' and let Him in.
Let's be grateful that while we strive to see Jesus in peace we find that He really is there in the middle of it all. May we see Him better than we ever have during this Advent Season. Merry Christmas and Peace to all.

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