Monday, December 13, 2010

The Four Introits of Advent

Fr. Mark discusses the joy of the Advent liturgy.
He who is to come is already here, near to us, close at hand. God is present, and from his presence streams all grace, all loveliness, all joy. Paul draws a very practical conclusion from this: “Nothing must make you anxious” (Phil 4:6). Were God absent, had God not yet come in His Christ and in the gift of His Holy Spirit, we would have reason to worry, reason for anxiety, and for fear. Worry and anxiety are an affront to the graciousness of God, a denial of His nearness to us, a turning from Him who has turned His Face towards us. Self-indulgence in fretting and anxiety is a sin that does not often appear on the radar screen of our consciences, and so it is a sin that, more often than not, goes unconfessed.

A thousand reasons not to follow the Apostle’s mandate come to mind. It is easy to listen to the voices of our fears, our insecurities, our need to arrange, rearrange, and attempt to control even things beyond our control. The Apostle says, “Have no anxiety about anything,” but we hold ourselves excused, saying, “Is not a little anxiety, just a little bit of worry reasonable and right?” Saint Paul is not moved by our rationalizations. “Nothing must make you anxious” (Phil 4:6).

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