Not only is Advent a time of coming (in Latin Adventus); it is also a time of waiting and receiving.
As we enter the fourth and last week of Advent, now is not only the time to prepare for the commemoration of Christ’s birth, two-thousand years ago, but also the time to prepare ourselves for what St. Bernard of Clarivaux called the Mystery and Majesty of the coming of Christ.
St. Bernard said that Christ in fact comes to us three times or in three ways:
- In History – the Birth of the baby Jesus as described in the Gospels of Matthew (1:25 & 2:1) and Luke (2:6, 7)
- In Mystery – through the Holy Eucharist, which is in the here and now
- In Majesty – at the end of time when Christ will return in all His glory, as our Profession of Faith tells us, “to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end.”
Since discovering this particular spiritual teaching from St. Bernard, about ten years ago, my anticipation of and appreciation for Christmas has grown into a year-round and what will be a life-long affair. This has also led to a greater love for the Eucharist and to striving to be better prepared for when Jesus comes again.
Talk about having an epiphany; an illuminating discovery!
Through St. Bernard’s teaching, I now understand that we all can live thousands of Advents. From Sunday to Sunday of each week or in between every Mass we fully participate in; each time we anticipate receiving Jesus in the Holy Eucharist is another Advent.
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel – Matthew 1:23
Emmanuel means God is with us. During the Bread of Life discourse which Our Lord presented at the synagogue at Capernaum, he pledged to us his perpetual presence in the Holy Eucharist… He remains with us always!
I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats of this bread will live forever – John 6:51
The Bread of Life was born in Bethlehem, which means “house of bread.” He was laid in a manager, but it did not matter to the shepherds and the Magi. They came to adore Jesus and present him gifts fit for king.
Make Room For Jesus
I urge you to use this last week before Christmas to reflect on how to better receive Jesus in your heart. All of us – including me – can make more room for Jesus in our lives. There was no room at the inn for the Holy Family; no one wanted to make room for Jesus, Mary, and Joseph.
Make A Pilgrimage To An Adoration Chapel
Like the shepherds and the Magi, go out to him and shower Jesus with love, praise, and gratitude. Prostrate yourself before the monstrance as the Magi did before the manager.
The Magi are symbolic of people who normally don’t want to step out of a world that is fixated on power, prestige, and possessions. The Magi were willing to leave the certainty of their kingdoms and follow the Star of Bethlehem to discover the newborn King of the Jews. Discovering and encountering Jesus oftentimes requires stepping out of our comfort zones.
Do not be afraid…Put out into the deep and let down your nets – St. Pope John Paul II
After Christmas Day has come and gone, never stop remembering that Jesus is always among us in Word and Eucharist.
Robert V. Rodriguez is Public Relations & Outreach Assistant for Pilgrim Center of Hope. He combines a passion for the Catholic faith together with years of professional experience as a TV news journalist, video producer, and PR/marketing specialist. Robert also serves as Chairman for our annual “Master, I Want to See” Catholic Men’s Conference.
Answering Christ’s call, Pilgrim Center of Hope guides people to encounter Him so as to live in hope, as pilgrims in daily life. See what’s happening & let us journey with you! Visit PilgrimCenterOfHope.org.