30 November 2018
30 Nov 2018

Advent: looking forward

by  Juan José Arnaiz Ecker, scj

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Advent is (also) a time to look forward. Fr. Dehon indicates that “the incarnation of the Word is the principle of all redemption” and of the whole order of nature; for this reason “the Word is the center of all creation” (NQT 1/105).

In the amazement of the mystery, Dehon contemplates again how every year the miracle is repeated! It is not only a matter of contemplating, worshiping and accepting God’s movement of love towards us, but it is a matter of entering into the dynamic way that God has chosen to come to us: Nobis datus, nobis natus, that is, through giving, with the most bare and risky trust than one can imagine; in the “nothingness” of a child who is now promised to us, and who will be given to us in the mysteries of Christmas.

Our Founder repeatedly insists in this new reality and calls us to a renewed familiarity with the Lord. It is a goal and a means of the journey. The Lord comes to give to us “through a faith full of love”, which tries to build the same sentiment and attitude of life in us: full trust, full encounter with our being love, full joy of being ourselves in him. We announce his coming and propose it in the time and place where each one finds themself, in the midst of caravans full of people who live in darkness and seek a great light. Fullness!

The time is coming to look forward, to hope with anticipation for what is given to us. He comes to open the door of hospitality, of familiarity, and of trust that shatters the darkness of doubt, hasty judgment, and fear.

For this reason, as a spiritual father, Dehon invites us to prepare. He does so by giving us references to both life situations and gospel passages to carry in our hearts. He writes in his diary:

“Let’s prepare ourselves to receive grace like Mary through:

– purity: “Missus est angelus ad virginem” [Lk 1: 26-27];

– humility: “Ecce ancilla Domini” [Lc 1,38];

– faith: “Fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum” [ibidem] “.

“Even in contemplation, the Sacred Heart of Jesus gives himself to us:

Nobis datus, nobis natus.

He becomes not only for us a heart of father, brother and friend; he still wants us to exercise a sort of spiritual paternity, and he becomes like the heart of our son. As our Lord says in the Gospel: “If anyone does my will, etc.”, and as Isaiah says: “A child was been born for us and has been given to us”.

St. John also says: “They will cry for him as if they were their only begotten Son”.

Then we must know how to have a holy family with the Sacred Heart; “we must know how to command it in some way through a trust full of love and that never hesitates, and therefore nothing that we ask of him will be refused. ” (CAM 1/172).



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