Saturday, November 27, 2010
The last day before Advent. The candles are ready on the table; even my Christmas cactus has buds, ready to bloom. And thoughts of the change in season fill the air (and some even anticipated it way too soon). But it is a good time, this time of change, however with all change comes anxiety.
In the last reading this morning I saw the words of a sermon by Augustine. If you want a great Christmas present, buy (or hint for) the book of his Essential Sermons. There you will find wisdom and peace for many a day to come. In today’s readings he spoke on anxiety. I was tempted to put the entire sermon here, but you can just look it up on the net. I’ll be content with just writing the portions I underlined, for you:
"Let us sing alleluia here on earth, while we still live in anxiety, so that we may sing it one day in heaven in full security."
"Every day we make our petitions, every day we sin. Do you want me to feel secure when I am daily asking pardon for my sins, and requesting help in time of trial? Because of my past sins I pray: Forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us, and then, because of the perils still before me, I immediately go on to add: Lead us not into temptation. How can all be well with people who are crying out with me: Deliver us from evil?"
"You have entered upon a time of trial but you will come to no harm --- God’s help will bring you through it safely. You are like a piece of pottery, shaped by instruction, fired by tribulation. When you are put into the over therefore, keep your thoughts on the time when you will be taken out again: for God is faithful, and he will guard both your going in and your coming out."
"Keep on making progress. This progress, however, must be in virtue; for there are some, the Apostle warns, whose only progress is in vice. If you make progress, you will be continuing your journey, but be sure that your progress is in virtue, true faith and right living. Sing then, but keep going."
Advent’s the start of a new season, my friends. Let’s get going, and singing. (And for those with voices like mine, you can just hum along.)