Picture in your mind’s eye a person seated at a radio or a television set that is not tuned in to a station transmitting beautiful philharmonic music or even has the proper station on but has muted the sound altogether. Such a person misses entirely the program.
Picture again a Catholic not at all solicitous about the penance of Advent nor the beautiful story being told by holy Mother Church. Such a one is not “attuned” to the spirit of the liturgy nor to the sweet whisperings of grace and God’s inspirations in the soul, and he may entirely miss the message of Advent and the promptings of the Holy Spirit.
The Story of Mother Church
Members of Christ’s Mystical Body, harken to the “greatest story ever told” by the greatest mother of them all! The story is God’s becoming man. The mother is the Catholic Church.
Today she makes a last effort to enliven our faith, to increase our devotion and our preparation by penance for the coming of Jesus Christ. As a stimulus to our faith and devotion she asks us to look to the new crib of Bethlehem, to the altar, to the snow-white manger of a corporal where a golden chalice rests upon it.
Perhaps, we have seen a nugget of gold when first mined from the earth. It is dark, grimy, and covered with dirt. Yet the miner who knows its value cherishes it, refines it, purifies and ennobles it, until one day it is returned to its proper state—shining, brilliant, pure gold! It is, then, perhaps, molded into a chalice or ciborium and, being consecrated to God’s service, it holds the sacred species of the Body and Blood of Christ in the Eucharist.
Likewise, our hearts are gold, and more precious indeed since redeemed by the blood of the Lamb of God. We should therefore endeavor to purify our hearts and souls during this holy season of Advent and to sanctify them by the reception of our divine Lord in Holy Communion.
May our hearts be made into more purified, more refined, more ennobled chalices, the manger Christ wishes to rest on that holy day, and the same hearts be found all the more worthy to receive Christ when He shall come to us in the Blessed Eucharist on Christmas Day!
Blessed Savior of men, the view of Calvary from afar is forbidding. The way of prayer and penance is not easy. There is only one way to Mount Calvary and that is to follow You, step by step. To look up the hill of Calvary takes great courage of heart—so give me the grace to stay close to You and accompany You each step of the journey. Bethlehem is but the first step to Calvary. Take me by the hand of grace and teach me to walk with Mary, that my life may be good and worthy of redemption. You who live and reign with the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, God, forever and ever. Amen.
This article is taken from a chapter in Spiritual Steps to Christmas by Msgr. Aloysius Coogan, which is available from TAN Books.