It immediately struck a chord with me as Fr Hanvey shares some ideas that have been fundamental to some of my recent writings, in particular: the paper for the Ballarat interfaith Forum on Why does the Human Race exist; The Diocesan study for Advent Three and the previous post on this blog.
Fr James' article is detailed and therefore lengthy - if you haven't the time to read it all, the exerts below support some of the positions I have taken in the articles listed above:
Advent calls us to renew and deepen our trust, while the world finds trust difficult, and "hope" is dismissed as naïve
Where a post-Christian society has forgotten how to read the substance of Christian faith, there can be a genuine ignorance but also a cultivated misunderstanding among those who presume to know Christianity already.
The Church wants humanity to succeed, not fail. That is why it is passionately engaged in this struggle. It does not have any ambition to take away the legitimate independence of the secular but it does have a vision of what that might be.
Advent calls us to consider not only that God is, but who God is. It does not present a puzzle but a mystery: God has finally disclosed his name, "Emanuel" - God with us. We expect a great theophany but all we have is an obscure stable. Even more radically, God chooses to be a man, a person, a human being. Humanity and God are now inseparable and cannot be thought apart.
…the Advent liturgy offers no false dreams. With a steady, clear-eyed realism it asks us to look at the world in which we live; the world in which Word has chosen to become flesh.
In Christ, God creates freedom, he does not destroy it. God, who comes to us with unexpected humility, is born, lives and dies in poverty, does not choose to overpower us but offers us an utterly new possibility. God does not confront us with a boundary, he presents us with an infinite horizon. He calls us into a deeper freedom and love by giving us the greatest freedom of all: the self-emptying of love beyond the bonds of family, nation and self-interest; beyond the accumulation of wealth or security for the sake of the good, especially the good of those who are the weakest and the most despised, those who have no freedom or power or anything to commend them except that they too are his image.