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O Come, Emmanuel

Articles | December 6, 2023 | by Catholics for Catholics

There is a lovely article in the November 3, 2023 edition of The Wanderer Newspaper.  In it, Father Kevin Cusick writes on the path to Heaven.  Paraphrasing will not do it justice.  It should be read.  The gist, however, is that not all who enter Heaven will be priests.  Not all who tread the narrow road will have been martyred or will have mortified their bodies.  Not all who enter Heaven are virgins.  Concupiscence is a state of animal nature that, too, can be overcome.  So, virginity is not the path to Heaven.  But all who enter Heaven are humble.  Humility is the sine qua non for salvation.

Our Lord was many things.  He was many things we cannot be.  We cannot be the Incarnate Person of the Triune God.  We cannot perform miracles.  But he set examples in all things.  Above all, he humbled himself.  Even unto death.  We can be humble and that is the main message of the season. 

A month after reading this article, it came back, front and center, to mind while reflecting on the Advent Season.  It is impossible for the human mind to fathom the humility expressed by Christ, the King of kings by allowing Himself to be incarnated for the purpose of the expiation of sins.  We think of the Pasion of the Christ as lasting three days.  But in a more figurative sense, did it not last 33 years?  The depth and breadth of God made man were contained in the narrowness of his human condition. 

The actions in the upper room are what made the events on Calvary a sacrifice as opposed to a simple Roman execution, but His sacrifice began much earlier.  It began at the Annunciation, when He humbled Himself to become true man and to be restrained in the new Ark of the Covenant.  By doing so, he was incarcerating himself in the form of a creature.  “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are God’s ways higher than your ways and His thoughts than your thoughts (Isaiah 55:8-9).  So high is His Essence are above those of man.  Imagine our Lord during lent.  Hungry or cold. 

These reflections are why traditional Catholics allow some time for reflection and mortification during Advent in preparation for the gift of redemption.  There is no Feast without the Fast.  There is no Easter Sunday without Good Friday.    

Advent is a typically recognized as a time for preparation. But in doing so, it is proper not that we are preparing the tree or the decorations, but ourselves.  It is a time for internal preparation.  To prepare a proper interior order and disposition for the hope, grace and peace that come with Christmas.

Thinking of Mary and Joseph, any expecting parent is wracked with anxious anticipation and nerves.  But especially these parents, given the immensity of the Truth that had been revealed to them alone.  Each year, Advent invites us back to Bethlehem.  We recall the poverty of the Holy family.  We are encouraged to share the poverty that began in in the stables, continued on a cold peak on Calvary, and ended in the Glory of God.  According to Father Cusick, this is the blueprint for our path.  The humility of the Redeemer to be constrained in swaddling clothes, wrapped in simplicity, is the reason we should embrace the meekness of the Holy Family and observe the same humility ourselves in anticipation for the Glory of God.  Pray that we have the Grace to do so.



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