Sunday, December 2, 2007

Ad te levavi

It is the First Sunday of Advent. Here is the Entrance Antiphon:
Unto you have I lifted up my soul. O my God, I trust in you, let me not be put to shame; do not allow my enemies to laugh at me; for none of those who are awaiting you will be disappointed.
V. Make your ways known unto me, O Lord, and teach me your paths (Ps 24:1-4).
Fr. Mark Kirby reminds us that December 8, the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, marks the opening of the Jubilee Year of Lourdes. I wish to give thanks to God for many graces He has bestowed on my family through the intercession of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Terry Nelson is doing a series of posts on both of his blogs about St. Nicholas the Wonder-worker, whose feast is December 6. St Nicholas is the patron of children, especially those who ate abused, missing or exploited.

"Stay awake." Catholic Exchange offers a meditation to shake us out of our spiritual sloth.
"Stay awake." Our Lord's words caution us against sloth — that capital vice that brings about spiritual slumber. Sloth is not, as many think, simple laziness (although that is usually a side-effect). Instead, it is a sadness about the good set before us, a boredom with the things of God, a failure to respond with the proper repentance, joy, zeal or love to God's works and goodness. Sloth is a spiritual "ho-hum" or "whatever" in the face of Christ crucified. Once this spiritual languor sets in, we can easily become lazy louts — because we see no reason to make an effort.

Many people struggle with loneliness during this season of the year. Here are some words from the great Benedictine Dom Hubert van Zeller:
After sin, the three evils most to be dreaded are doubt, fear and loneliness. Of these, loneliness is the worst. Loneliness can give rise to doubt and fear, while if a man knows he is not alone he can fight his doubt, and disguise- which is half the battle- his fear. We can force ourselves to laugh at our doubts and fears, but loneliness forbids laughter. Loneliness is an echoing ache in the soul, it hollows out the heart and scoops away at our reserves. It even communicates itself to the senses, and all the outer world seems indifferent and hostile. We must have something with which to meet this evil. We must find something which will turn it into good....

This is where we need to have faith. This is where we pull ourselves up and cry "It's a mood. It will pass. It is only a mood." That désespoir des lendemains de fête will melt away in time, giving place to color and light and normality and, finally, joy.

~ Dom Hubert van Zeller's We Die Standing, pp.62-63

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