26 November 2012

Advent 2012

Sub Tuum.

Once again this coming Sunday we begin our season of penance and preparation, culminating in the celebration of the Incarnation of Christ. As it was foretold by the prophets, the Word truly became flesh and dwelt among us. Approximately a third of the way through this coming season of preparation, we celebrate the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is most fitting that this celebration takes place within the season of Advent. Our Lady, having been chosen as the vessel of the Incarnate Word, had to be exceptionally pure and without the stains born by fallen man. Thus she was given the special favor of exemption from the stain of original sin. 

The Blessed Virgin was the chosen vessel, and thus she was so blessed by God by immaculate conception so that she would be worthy to bear the Son of God. She had a choice, though, and we may all be thankful that she chose to accept the overshadowing power of the Holy Spirit. As God gave Mary the special graces she needed, so too does God give us all the graces we need to fulfill our individual purposes in life. And, like Mary, we have a choice whether or not we will answer God's call and embrace the Faith or instead ignore the call and descend into secularism. 

This Advent Season begins the new liturgical year, which we have dedicated to Faith and Tradition. During this year, we especially encourage each person to work towards a renewal of their own faith through the experience of the rich traditions of the Church. Not only should this be a personal matter of renewal, but also a mission of assistance of others in the renewal of their faith. We are not mere individuals, but are all part of the community of all mankind in Christ. 

The faith of the Church begins with Advent and the coming of Christ. That is the beginning. The climax is the Passion, Cross, Resurrection, and Ascension. The end is yet to come. It is the final victory of the Church Triumphant over the forces of evil. The traditions of the Church likewise begin with Advent, for they necessarily must begin with and follow the faith precisely. Our traditions are not mere empty ceremony or entertainment, but true and active worship with the sole purpose of the praise and glory of God. The rich traditions of the Church are rich only through the faith, for they are the outward expression of that very faith. The traditions of the Church guide us through the annual re-discovery of the mysteries and the glories of the Christian Faith. This liturgical year, then, let us all walk together through the beauty of our traditions and, in so doing, through the glories of our faith that we may grow in love and service.

+ Rutherford Cardinal Johnson