Advent Wreath in New Clairvaux Abbey refectory

Fr. Thomas prepares us for the Holy Advent Season: Advent is upon us, a time to reflect on the coming of Christ, or as Bernard of Clairvaux would say: Advent is a Call to be transformed by the Incarnation of the Word of God.

This requires a reassessment of our identity and destiny. No easy task to accept a constant reshaping (transforming) of our lives by Christ. This constant reshaping implies an understanding of Advent as a time to offer oneself to Christ for correction, to allow Christ to enlighten us for knowledge about the mystery of God, to lean on Christ so as to live a virtuous life, to allow Christ as Wisdom to reshape us and to form us according to his human and divine beauty, and finally, to be so united to Christ that we will live good Christian lives.

Entering into the type of reshaping is itself a prayer. We become our own Adversary, i.e., working against our inborn inclinations to selfishness. We come to know what changes are to be made for our reshaping. Our stability is to present ourselves to God, asking for strength and insight to live virtuously and responsibly, plus requesting a wisdom to live a good and upright life. Wisdom’s special gift is freedom from conceit and vanity resulting in always doing what is appropriate.

Advent’s beauty is fidelity to one’s conscience and a profound honesty before God. Advent’s beauty is the testimony of a good conscience that shows forth in transparent goodness in one’s life.

Fidelity to this approach for Advent enables us to cry out in the presence of the newborn Incarnate Christ, the Word of God: We have left all things and cling to you. We are espoused to the newborn Incarnate Word: For to live is Christ and to die is gain. (Ph. 1.21)