As Advent began last week we were blessed to have an excerpt from a pastoral letter by St. Charles Borromeo featured in the Divine Office:
Beloved, now is the acceptable time spoken of by the Spirit, the day of salvation, peace and reconciliation: the great season of Advent. This is the time eagerly awaited by the patriarchs and prophets, the time that holy Simeon rejoiced at last to see. This is the season that the Church has always celebrated with special solemnity. We too should always observe it with faith and love, offering praise and thanksgiving… When we remove all obstacles to his presence he will come, at any hour and moment, to dwell spiritually in our hearts, bringing with him the riches of his grace. In her concern for our salvation, our loving mother the Church uses this holy season to teach us through hymns, canticles and other forms of expression, of voice or ritual, used by the Holy Spirit. She shows us how grateful we should be for so great a blessing, and how to gain its benefit: our hearts should be as much prepared for the coming of Christ as if he were still to come into this world.
I find this passage so resonate. This beautiful season, full of such wonder and expectation, is so present in the hallways and classrooms of our school. Yesterday I stopped by Aftercare, finding the students playing, talking, and laughing together. At one small table were three children coloring. Two from Pre-K and one from Kindergarten, three young girls coloring separate drawings while singing Christmas carols together at the top of their lungs. At the beginning of each refrain they would look up from their coloring, glance at one another, smile broadly, and sing-- all the more loudly. It was a display of pure joy. As St. Charles says, “Our loving mother the Church uses this holy season to teach us through hymns, canticles...”
Not a day later I stopped by our fifth grade classroom to find all students highly engaged with rehearsals for their dramatization of the classic tale, A Christmas Carol (Dickens). Through their diligent and passionate efforts the students are steeping themselves in this classic tale of redemption and salvation. In the words of St. Charles again, Scrooge truly does, “remove all obstacles to his presence... to dwell spiritually in our hearts, bringing with him the riches of his grace”.
We wish you and your families all the joys and graces of this beautiful season of Advent. As St. Charles says, “We too should always observe it with faith and love, offering praise and thanksgiving”.
Most sincerely in Christ,