Thursday, December 01, 2011
A meditation on the Advent Collect
by Fr. David Marriott
Look more closely at the collect: which you will hear each and every day at the offices and at the Mass all the way until Christmas. And therefore, it behoves us to be aware of why this is so important in our faith.
‘ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light, now in the time of this mortal life, in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious Majesty, to judge both the quick and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, now and ever. Amen.’
‘ALMIGHTY God, give us grace that we may cast away the works of darkness, and put upon us the armour of light’ - We acknowledge that we have no strength in and of ourselves to beat down the devil and all his works: we cannot succeed in our weakness: we need help: and the source of that help has to be the gift earned for us by Jesus Christ in His death on the Cross, at which time He told the disciples that He would send the Comforter to strengthen and help them in their strife. And the Comforter is there, is with us, is always at our side: but needs to be acknowledged, when we take credit for something well done: never let us forget how much we rely on that help sent to us by God on high.
‘in which thy Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility’ – We say that we understand that Jesus Christ, the very Son of God, did not come as some sort of conquering hero, as the ‘Terminator’, as the great and powerful conqueror: because he came with a totally different message: it is the message which we are all called upon to hold in our hearts, in our very souls: it is that of the meek who shall inherit the earth, of the merciful, who shall obtain mercy, of the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
It is only when we have learnt the hard lessons of life, when we have come to understand that there are others around us who are far more deserving and needy, and who require our care and understanding, over and above any needs we may have: it is only then that we can start to fathom out what our role in this place called earth is: that the drive and aggression we see around us might bring wealth and so-called success in the earthly life, but we must take great care that any earthly success that we may enjoy does not in any way jeopardize our eternal salvation: for it is there that Satan is waiting, lurking in the shadows, for his chance to grasp our souls for his benighted realm.
‘…that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious Majesty, to judge both the quick and the dead’ – because it is this that is of true and enduring importance, as Christian faithful: the understanding that what we experience now, here on earth - that this is but a part of life: and that true life shall begin after this life is ended, when we might come into His glorious Kingdom having passed the test of the Judgment seat, as we all pray most fervently that we might so do.
‘…we may rise to the life immortal’ – and this sums up the goal and purpose of all, of everything that should occupy our thoughts as we prepare and make our due repentance for sin committed, for grace omitted: before we celebrate the joy of Christmas: we reflect on the gift He has brought, far, far greater than any gift ever created or even imagined in the minds of men: a pearl beyond price, and worthy of the sacrifice of all worldly ambition in its attainment.