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Sunday, December 18, 2011

THE FINAL WEEK OF WAITING

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ADVENT Week 4.

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In this final week of waiting the sense of expectancy
in the Church is heightened.
The 14th century Dominican mystic, John Tauler,
explains the gift of Zechariah's
silence like this:
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God cannot leave things empty; that would be to contradict
 his own nature and justice. Therefore, you must be silent.
 Then the Word of this birth can be spoken in you
and you will be able to hear him.
But be certain of this:
 if you try to speak then
He must be silent.
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 There is no better way of serving the Word
 than in being silent and listening.
 So if you come out of yourself completely,
 God will wholly enter in;
to the degree you come out, to that degree will he enter,
 neither more nor less.
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LISTEN
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In the Gospel of the 4th week of Advent Joseph listens
to the message of an angel and does what
 God is asking of him….
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Then in the Gospel for the Midnight Mass
 the angel speaks these words:
Do not be afraid. Listen!
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Take time this week to listen
to the silence of your heart
to the silence of God’s still small voice
to the words ‘Do not be afraid’.
Do not be afraid
Listen
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From: The Season of Advent - A Process of Waiting
Archdiocese of Saint Andrew and Edinburgh, Scotland
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Last Days of Advent . . . . . . Pope John Paul II, Dec. 18, 2002

.Pope John Paul II in his address on Dec. 18, 2002 said,
 "The liturgy of Advent…helps us to understand fully the value and meaning of the mystery of Christmas. It is not just about commemorating the historical event, which occurred some 2,000 years ago in a little village of Judea. Instead, it is necessary to understand that the whole of our life must be an ‘advent,’ a vigilant awaiting of the final coming of Christ. To predispose our mind to welcome the Lord who, as we say in the Creed, one day will come to judge the living and the dead, we must learn to recognize him as present in the events of daily life. Therefore, Advent is, so to speak, an intense training that directs us decisively toward him who already came, who will come, and who comes continuously."
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Those who have attended a mother giving birth can witness to the intensity of the moment when everyone involved realizes: “this is real, this is now, this is going to happen.” It’s an experience in which the human being must surrender to the inevitability of a forceful mystery. This last week of Advent evokes that kind of experience: God means to break forth in our world, real and now and inevitable. Our entire identity as/in Christ is thrown forth on accepting God’s intentional presence as truth.
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The Peace of Christ: do we accept it as near, now, inevitable truth? It makes demands on us: love your enemies, turn your cheek, return good for evil. Are these simply inspirational words that really can’t be applied when we are wounded, threatened attacked?
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Throughout this Advent we have reflected and prayed together for peace: within us, between us, throughout our world. This final week of Advent, perched on the hinge of the winter solstice and pointed towards a new year, reminds us that our task of peacemaking is the everyday work of following Christ.
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Is it our Christian identity and purpose to be agents for the birth of the Peace of Christ? The near, the now, the inevitable—it only waits for our cooperation.
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From Church of the Epiphany
Louisville, Kentucky
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