Remembering God who became a child

In his book Seek That Which Is Above, published in 1986, the then Cardinal Ratzinger says that
“Advent is concerned with that very connection between memory and hope which is so necessary to man. Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely, the memory of the God who became a child. This is a healing memory; it brings hope. The purpose of the Church’s year is continually to rehearse her great history of memories, to awaken the heart’s memory so that it can discern the star of hope… It is the beautiful task of Advent to awaken in all of us memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope.”

During Advent then, we are called to remember Jesus coming as an infant in a manger and to anticipate his coming again as the culmination of the kingdom of God. We reflect on God’s past, present, and future redemptive acts in history. We celebrate the coming of Jesus the Christ – whose life, ministry, death, and resurrection inaugurated the reign of God – and we await its fulfilment. That is what sustains us in a world that makes no sense. We know that Jesus has come as the fulfillment of God’s promise, and we know that his ultimate reign will surely come someday.

As we await that ultimate reign, we are called to live as if it were already here. We are called to be “a community rooted in energizing memories and summoned by radical hopes.” 

We believe that Jesus is Emmanuel – “God with us.” He continues to be “with us” at every moment of every day. During the season of Advent there are many ways in which we can become more open to the Lord’s presence. They include spending time in daily prayer, reading the Scriptures, worshipping together as a community, and attending to the needs of our sisters and brothers. 

During this time as we prepare to give gifts to others, we are invited to reach out with compassion to people in need, aware that in serving the hungry, the homeless, the sick and imprisoned we are truly encountering Christ.

Lesley Robinson.
Rev Lesley Robinson is CMH:I Board member

Stop and let Advent happen

“One of the essential paradoxes of Advent: that while we wait for God, we are with God all along, that while we need to be reassured of God’s arrival, or the arrival of our homecoming, we are already at home.”
Michelle Blake 

Tune in into your heart and recognise the sentiment you find yourself in at this time of year. Are you joyful? Rushed? Worried? Peaceful? Looking forward to Christmas? Dreading Christmas? Thinking of all you need to do?

Maybe none of these apply, but you have your own list of things that give you joy, and those that take it. Last Sunday was the first Advent Sunday. I was walking in Dublin, and soon found Grafton street to be too busy, as if everyone had to ‘do’ something that day. I went to a near-by church and found shelter in His quiet presence. 

In many ways, this is a busy time of the year for many people. Advent, however, invites us to slow down. Slowing down is not only so that our soul can take a break from busyness, but more so that we can direct our focus towards God. It is like carving a way for God to invade our reality by allowing Him to be with us in our day-to-day lives. See what works for you. Five minutes of silence three times a day. Reading a Scripture passage reflectively, allowing God to speak to you. Nurturing our hearts with God’s presence will help us prepare for Christmas interiorly.

The world at the time of Jesus was not a perfect place, and it is still not perfect. Yet among all that turmoil, all that is not right, all that needs changing – Jesus comes. Take comfort in that. Over the weeks, as His light will be increasing allow it to increase also within you. With His light, we can start healing the darkness in the world.

Iva Beranek
Dr Iva Beranek is the Ministry Facilitator for the CMH: Ireland