Saturday, November 29, 2008

Imago Dei (us) - Et incarnatus est (God)

Following on from my earlier post on Advent, I subsequently came across an article in todays edition of The Tablet by Fr James Hanvey SJ, entitled Waiting for the Light. 

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.


Have you noticed that there has been a renewed focus on Advent this year? The paper and electronic media have been a buzz with the directions and pronouncements of senior clerics; the Archbishop of Canterbury has even posted a video on youtube.

Ruth Gledhill, writing in The Times sums it up thus:

The Advent period running up to Christmas, traditionally a time of reflection and contemplation, has been "squeezed" by consumer pressures and frenetic activity, the Church said at the launch of a new website to help Christians mark the season.

This new website WhyAreWeWaiting offers:

"... an online calendar, podcasts, reflections and "waiting tips" on the Advent season described as a "daily dose of chocolate" for the soul."
Yummy as Fr David Oulton would say!

When I tried to access it earlier I recieved a message informing me that the site had exceed its daily allowance, which hopefully indicates that it is getting 'well hit' (I think that is the correct lingo!).

The Diocesan Office in Ballarat has also had to place an additional order for Advent Candles this year, exceeding last years intra-diocesan orders by the first week of November and now out of stock form the second order placed.

Could it be that we are aware that the commercial-side of Christmas will be less glitzy this year and so we are wanting to re-discover the true purpose of the Advent Season? Thereby preparing ourselves for the re-discovery of the best Christmas gift of all: that God became Man in Jesus.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Prayers for Bombay

Today in the liturgies at the Cathedral, as in so many other places around the World, we prayed for all those affected by the recent attacks in Bombay:the dead, the injured, their loved ones and those still in danger. I have posted a prayer for peace here that may be helpful.