O Mary, Pray that We Will Understand!: Second Sunday of Advent, December 6, 2015

J.M.J. Let us beg the Holy Mother of God to intercede on our behalf that we will comprehend the meaning of her Son's Birth and--as Father Gerald E. Murray presents in the following excerpt--the meaning of history.

"Reading Christopher Dawson's writings in college left a lasting impression upon me. The great historian, a convert to Catholicism, helped me understand the Christian sense of history. The pagan notion of time, and thus history, is an endless, circular repetition of events--similar to the annual cycle of the seasons. Yet this repetitive way of interpreting reality imprisons man in a pointless round. Where are we heading if there is no end point to time, just a constant replay involving a changing cast of characters who come and go?

"Christian revelation, of course, solves this dilemma. Creation has a beginning and an end. Christ is the Alpha and the Omega. Our world and our lives come from Him, and our journey through life is a quest both to walk with Him at all times ('I am with you always, to the close of the age,' Mt 28:20), and to find Him as our merciful judge when our days on earth come to their end ('Come, O blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world,' Mt 25:34).

"Given this linear understanding of history, stretching from the creation to the redemption and reaching fulfillment on the Last Day, our place in time and space is relatively easier to figure out. We want to be in that great procession of pilgrims which is the Church. God has put us on this earth at the time of His choosing to accomplish His purposes. Our duty is to seek His will as we look forward to seeing Him face to face either at the moment of our death, or at His Second Coming on the Last Day, if we live to see that day.

"Seeking to do God's will involves repetition of many good acts: prayers, sacrifices, reception of the sacraments, good works and kind deeds, especially towards the poor. That holy cycle of repetition is carried out in the perspective of our journey in time towards our goal, Christ. The Church has given us the Christian year as the organizing principle of our daily efforts to be with Christ, now and forever. We contemplate and celebrate Christ's life in the liturgical calendar. The Church repeats this cycle, year after year, to instruct and guide us on how to journey towards the eternal Jerusalem. This cycle of days and years is not endless and self-contained. It is directed towards the Last Day, when the Lord will return."

--The Reverend Gerald E. Murray, J.C.D., a passage from "The Coming of Advent," at "The Catholic Thing" (www.thecatholicthing.org), November 29, 2015.

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