The Sacramental Season of Advent
Though Thomas Merton died in 1968, many of us continue to savor his writings today. And many wise authors have compiled his writings into anthologies such as Advent and Christmas with Thomas Merton, compilation and prayer copyright 2002 by Judith A. Bauer and John J. Cleary.
In this book, the readings appointed for this day, the third day of Advent, include a section from Psalm 130, an excerpt from Merton's book Seasons of Celebration, and a prayer for the day which weaves together the two readings.
Psalm 130 verse 5 begins "I wait for the Lord, my soul waits, and in his word I hope; my soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning," and so we wait, for the coming of Christ, in a new and different way each Advent.
The excerpt chosen for today is entitled "Going Forth To Christ," and it begins:
"Advent is the 'sacrament' of the PRESENCE of God in His world, in the Mystery of Christ at work in History. "
I am touched by this description...that Advent is the outward and visible sign of the inward and spiritual grace of the coming of Christ, the PRESENCE of God in the world. Isn't that beautiful! We are living in a sacramental season; all that we do and say as we journey through this season are signs of the grace, the gift, the great joy of the presence of God in the birth of Christ. We are charged as sacramental people to be that presence in the world, to the world, with the world.
And then Day 3's offering ends with this beautiful prayer:
Lord Jesus, assuage our blindness and activate our hearts during this Advent, so that we may find your presence hidden in ourselves. May we unveil the mystery of Christ - with - us and work toward the true restoration of the whole world in your image. Let your light shine in our hearts so that we may always know the truth of your love. Amen.
And so we are called to go forward in this season embodying the sacrament of the Light of Christ; be the Light, watch for the Light, share the Light with others.