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Monday, 23 December 2013

Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent

Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent - 23rd December

First Reading
Malachi 3:1-4, 23-24

Look, I shall send my messenger to clear a way before me. And suddenly the Lord whom you seek will come to his Temple; yes, the angel of the covenant, for whom you long, is on his way, says the Lord.
Who will be able to resist the day of his coming? Who will remain standing when he appears? For he will be like a refiner's fire, like fullers' alkali.
He will take his seat as refiner and purifier; he will purify the sons of Levi and refine them like gold and silver, so that they can make the offering to the Lord with uprightness.
The offering of Judah and Jerusalem will then be acceptable to the Lord as in former days, as in the years of old.

Look, I shall send you the prophet Elijah before the great and awesome day of the Lord comes.
He will reconcile parents to their children and children to their parents, to forestall my putting the country under the curse of destruction.

Today I want to share with you these extracts from Lumen Fidei. Do read the whole thing if you can, but these sections are ones which really speak to me.

“The light of Faith: this is how the Church’s tradition speaks of the great gift brought by Jesus. In John’s Gospel, Christ says of himself: "I have come as light into the world, that whoever believes in me may not remain in darkness" (Jn 12:46). Saint Paul uses the same image: "God who said ‘Let light shine out of darkness,’ has shone in our hearts" (2 Cor 4:6).”

“There is an urgent need, then, to see once again that faith is a light, for once the flame of faith dies out, all other lights begin to dim. The light of faith is unique, since it is capable of illuminating every aspect of human existence. A light this powerful cannot come from ourselves but from a more primordial source: in a word, it must come from God. Faith is born of an encounter with the living God who calls us and reveals his love, a love which precedes us and upon which we can lean for security and for building our lives. Transformed by this love, we gain fresh vision, new eyes to see; we realize that it contains a great promise of fulfilment, and that a vision of the future opens up before us. Faith, received from God as a supernatural gift, becomes a light for our way, guiding our journey through time. On the one hand, it is a light coming from the past, the light of the foundational memory of the life of Jesus which revealed his perfectly trustworthy love, a love capable of triumphing over death. Yet since Christ has risen and draws us beyond death, faith is also a light coming from the future and opening before us vast horizons which guide us beyond our isolated selves towards the breadth of communion. We come to see that faith does not dwell in shadow and gloom; it is a light for our darkness. Dante, in the Divine Comedy, after professing his faith to Saint Peter, describes that light as a "spark, which then becomes a burning flame and like a heavenly star within me glimmers". It is this light of faith that I would now like to consider, so that it can grow and enlighten the present, becoming a star to brighten the horizon of our journey at a time when mankind is particularly in need of light.”

Advent Advantage: Reflect on these passages and on the light of Christ as we approach the Christmas season.

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