Sunday, December 6, 2020

Second Sunday of Advent

In other years: Saint Nicholas, Bishop (Fourth Century); SS Dionysia, Majoricus and Companions, Martyrs (484); Saint Abraham of Kratia, Bishop (474-558); Bd Peter Pascual, Bishop and Martyr (1227-1300)

Readings of the Day

RB: Ch 54 Letters or Gifts for Monks

Mass: Is 40:1-5, 9-11; Resp Ps 85; 2 Pt 3:8-14; Mk 1:1-8

Lord, let us see your kindness, and grant us your salvation.


Prompted by an article I read about a documentary on the 2019 fire at Chartes Cathedral, I was delighted to find a fascinating piece on Internet Archives called Chartes Cathedral: A Sacred Geometry, published in 2003. It runs just under an hour and is well worth it. In the work, one of the docents who welcomes English speaking visitors (or did, considering the presentation was done 17 years ago), talks about the opportunity he has to sit quietly in the Cathedral for hours. Some of his time is spent watching visitors enter the Cathedral. He comments on those who come to the Cathedral open to being transformed by the experience. Those with open eyes, ears, hearts and minds. In my words, people who enter the doors with a sense of awe and wonder, with delight and willingness to be changed by the marvels of God. Others, who would be many people I tend to think, enter the doors more closed, burdened with cares, worries, struggles of the day, having lost a sense of awe and wonder. That said, although I have never been to Chartes, and especially after watching the documentary, a visit to the Cathedral would surely transform anyone, burdened or not. I was only watching on a Tablet and was left to continue reflecting on the magnificence of Chartes. In fact, my experience led to further reflection on today's Gospel and the voice of John the Baptist who cries: "Prepare the way of the Lord, make straight His paths". 

We can spend this holy season of Advent closed and shut down to conversion, with closed hearts and minds to receive John's message of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. Or we can take an approach given by Saint Bernard of Clairvaux: "Enter the inner room of your heart. Put your ear to the door, strain to listen to the tidings God's messenger brings." With our cares and worries, especially during these difficult times, we may have to struggle to regain a sense of awe and wonder, to open ourselves to the One mightier than John the Baptist, the one, true, patient, merciful, compassionate, loving and healing God. Open or closed as we may be, Jesus waits for each one of us. Our Lord wants the best for us. As we hear in today's second reading, Our Lord is "patient with you, not wishing that any should perish but that all should come to repentance" (2 Pt 9). Come, Lord Jesus. May we "be eager to be found without spot or blemish before Him, at peace" (2 Pt 3:14). 

As we prepare to celebrate Tuesday's Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, we join the Holy Father who, at the end of today's Angelus Address prayed to Our Lady to help us "to separate ourselves more and more from sin and worldliness, in order to open ourselves to God, to His Word, to His love which restores and saves."

© Gertrude Feick 2020

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