The webpage of the Youth Ministry of the Irish Province of Augustinians

Fourth Sunday of Advent, Year A - 19th December 2010

This Sunday marks the culmination of our Advent preparations.  We are now on the cusp of celebrating what, in so many ways, seems to be the main event.  However, if Advent teaches us anything it is that the waiting is just as important as the event itself.  Our waiting is not one of patient endurance; nor is it the formal waiting which we might experience while awaiting our turn to be introduced to some important figure; our waiting is dynamic in and of itself.

To wait - to live the season of Advent - as a Christian is to engage with hope.  Sometimes we limit our understanding of hope until it only refers to something which will happen in the future - as if it were something chronological.  Hope is actually something much more intrinsic to our faith and has to do with expanding our horizons.

Hope is often described as a virtue but I think we should also consider it to be an instinct.  Like all of our instincts it sort of bubbles away in the background, only making its presence obvious when it is most needed.  Hope is that part of ourselves that allows us to believe in what can be.  It is hope that raises our gaze beyond what we can see and understand and explain to a totally different plane.  In  so many ways hope enables us to embrace mystery and to allow ourselves to be enveloped by it.  Because of hope we are not limited by our physical world but can aim beyond it - in short, hope allows us to see God.

As we spend this coming week let us allow our hope to raise up our minds and hearts so that when we come to reflect on the incarnation we can, instead of struggling to explain what can never be fully explained, we can allow ourselves to embrace it and be embraced by it.

The big question posed so pithily by St. Anselm (c. 1033 – 1109) - Cur Deus homo? (why did God become man?) will never be satisfactorily answered by reason or argument.  I think that the only answer to this question will only ever be grasped by entering to relationship with God and knowing the answer by allowing the mystery to explain us rather than the other way round - that is to say, by engaging with the mystery and allowing it to reflect to us what we can be.


Article posted on 18th of December 2010

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