Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
O son of God, born of the Virgin, save us who sing to Thee: Alleluia! With this refrain from the second antiphon of the Nativity Liturgy, we are reminded of why the Christmas season should be joyful for all of us. It is indeed the incarnate Word of God alone who can deliver us from darkness and death. He is the Light of the World, and comes to illumine it with Divine truth and wisdom – especially for those “with eyes to see” and who prefer the light to the darkness. Let us prepare ourselves to receive Him who was in the beginning and is now and always. With this in mind, I offer the following thoughts from Fr. Lawrence Farley on “sitting lightly” which is the goal of the Lenten effort. I wish you all a blessed and fruitful Advent season.
What does it mean to live in readiness for the Second Coming? It does not mean that we live in a state of high anticipation, waking up each day excited and expectant (and going to bed each night correspondingly disappointed that today was not the day). Rather it means that we sit lightly on the things of the world, with a spirituality and an approach to life appropriate to people who are ready to leave this age behind at any moment.
Our Lord counseled such an apocalyptic spirituality when He warned His disciples that Jerusalem would be destroyed within a generation. Most Jews in His day believed that God would never allow the Holy City to be destroyed, and they were determined to wait out any siege of the city and hunker down for the long haul. That, Christ said, would be a fatal mistake. They must sit lightly on the world they knew, for the Romans were about to sweep it all away into the dustbin of history. He then told a parable about the spirituality they would need, about how a man must be ready to flee at a moment’s notice, with all the urgency of Lot fleeing Sodom. “Let him who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house; and let him who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak” (Matthew 24:17-18, Luke 17:31). No time to stop and load up the world’s goods, no time to “just grab a few things.” One must sit so lightly on this world that one can leave it all behind at a moment’s notice. That was necessary counsel for those awaiting for Jerusalem to end in the first century, and it is necessary counsel for all Christians now.