Those who walk in darkness have seen a great light…

12-03-2023Pastor's LetterVery Rev. Richard C. Wilson, VF, Pastor

Dear Friends in Christ,

We are moving towards a celebration that touches the heart: Christmas. Advent, which begins today, is the suitable time to prepare for Christ's coming by practicing works of mercy and setting our hearts on the eternal rather than the things of this world.

Sometimes we look at our existence as a kind of night. It can be long and dark when we look at our powerlessness, our weakness, and our sins, but this does not mean we are “children of darkness.” We are waiting for a personal visit from Jesus, and this obliges us to be attentive to “the signs of the times” that indicate the closeness of the big day. Certainly, Christ has already come in the very first Christmas. And now he is coming back, here where I am, in what I do, if my heart is ready to welcome his way of coming as a light. In the Christmas Mass, Isaiah tells us, “The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light.”

Advent is a time of waiting and preparation for the birth of the Savior. We must learn to wait. The sentinel stays standing on the walls of the city. He does not cry out, does not get nervous, does not despair. We learn to watch in prayer and in hope, because we know the Lord is on his way. The person who watches keeps his spiritual eyes open to see the true light; he makes sure his works show his faith; he makes sure he rejects the darkness of mediocrity and neglect. St. Paul wrote to the Thessalonians: “So then let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.” (I Thess 5:6)

During Advent, we wait for the coming of our Savior, but also contemplate the Second Coming of our Lord. This season should also cause us to reflect on the shortness of our days here on earth. We do not know when our life on this earth will come to an end. Lately, as our family has experienced another death of a sibling, our brother Byron, it has caused us to reflect upon our earthly pilgrimage. As one cycles through the Liturgy of the Hours, a question reappears, “When will I come to the end of my pilgrimage and enter the presence of God.” When will that happen in my life? What am I doing to make myself ready for that moment?

In Advent, the Church asks us to multiply our initiatives of prayer and service to others. That would mean a deeper recollection in church, greater participation in the hymns and prayers, the use of symbols such as the Advent wreath, the practice of restorative penance, purification in confession and practicing the corporal works of mercy.

May we ever move toward the light.

All the best…in Christ,

Father Wilson