The warmest of greetings to the readers of Br. Paul’s blog. My brother and sister Christians, we constantly wait in hope for the coming of our Savior, but we do so now, in this time of Advent, in a most significant way for we know that the Lord’s arrival is at hand. In an obvious way we prepare to celebrate and remember the historical coming of Christ with the great feast of Christmas. The Nativity of the Lord is a time of joy, peace, and impending salvation. It is most fitting that we celebrate this most merry occasion of commemoration. Perhaps less obvious is the waiting and preparing for Christ’s triumphant return. What separates Christians from all other religious traditions is our belief that the world’s Savior has come, and that he will come again in glory. The revelation of Scripture tells us that peace and justice will reign in perfection with Christ’s return. What does this mean for us? What must be done in order to prepare for the return of our King?
Isaiah 40:3 tells us “in the desert prepare the way of the Lord!” The prophet reminds us that this time of waiting is a time of purification and fasting, as well as joyful anticipation. Just as Lent prepares us for Christ’s glorious Passion and Resurrection, so Advent makes us ready for his return. It is then quite fitting that this season is set against the backdrop of the fading light of summer and fall and the growing darkness, stillness, and quiet of winter. The days are growing shorter, and the hours are marked evermore by darkness. It was at a time of spiritual darkness that Jesus entered the world of man so many years ago, and so it will be again. It is not the darkness that should be the focus of our Advent reflections, however. Instead, it is the coming light of resurrection and eternal life that must guide our thoughts and prayers.
The second week of Advent is traditionally known as the week of peace. For the Christian, peace has varied significance. Our world is far to often marked by violence and suffering, so I challenge all Christians to pray especially this week for peace in our troubled world. In a more personal way, let us all pray for inner peace. Society demands of us a high degree of hustle and bustle, but that is not where Christ is to be found. Rather, we read in the first book of Kings that He is in the quiet. With peaceful hearts let us wait for the Lord. Perhaps dedicating a small part of each day to silent reflection will aid us in our pursuit of the Lord.
This Advent season, let us all renew within us a spirit of prayerful waiting and contemplation. Furthermore, may that prayer be distinguished by joy and longing for the promised goodness, justice, and peace of the Kingdom of God.
A special thank you to Br. Paul Byrd for allowing me to write to all of you. I pray that the coming of the Lord will bring joy to you and your loved ones. May the Lord of all grant you a blessed Christmas.
*Br. John-Chrysostom Thomas, OP is a simply professed student brother of the Southern Province of St. Martin de Porres.
On the last day of my ecclesiology class we were asked to watch this news clip covering the attack on the Church of Our Lady of Salvation in Iraq. Sister Rihab, a Dominican sister and my classmate, lost family in the attack. She asks Christians in the United States not to forget our brothers and sisters in Iraq. Please watch this clip and pray for the people of Iraq, especially our Christian brothers and sisters. Remember these martyrs. May they pray for us, and may their holy deaths for Christ sow the seeds of faith in their beloved country.
Br. Paul, OP