Sunday, 23 November 2014
From Origen on prayer
The coming of the kingdom of God, says our Lord and Saviour, does not admit of observation, and there will be no-one to say “Look here! Look there!” For the kingdom of God is within us and in our hearts. And so it is beyond doubt that whoever prays for the coming of the kingdom of God within himself is praying rightly, praying for the kingdom to dawn in him, bear fruit and reach perfection. For God reigns in every saint, and every saint obeys God’s spiritual laws — God, who dwells in him just as he dwells in any well-ordered city. The Father is present in him and in his soul Christ reigns alongside the Father, as it is said: We will come to him and make our dwelling with him.
|Thy kingdom come|
Therefore, as we continue to move forward without ceasing, the kingdom of God within us will reach its perfection in us at that moment when the saying in the Apostle is fulfilled, that Christ, His enemies all made subject to Him, shall deliver the kingdom to God the Father that God may be All in All.
For this reason let us pray without ceasing, our souls filled by a desire made divine by the Word Himself. Let us pray to our Father in heaven: hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come.
There is something important that we need to understand about the kingdom of God: just as righteousness has no partnership with lawlessness, just as light has nothing in common with darkness and Christ has no agreement with Belial, so the kingdom of God and a kingdom of sin cannot co-exist.
So if we want God to reign within us, on no account may sin rule in our mortal body but let us mortify our earthly bodies and let us be made fruitful by the Spirit. Then we will be a spiritual garden of Eden for God to walk in. God will rule in us with Christ who will be seated in us on the right hand of God — God, the spiritual power that we pray to receive — until he makes his enemies (who are within us) into his footstool and pours out on us all authority, all power, all strength.
This can happen to any one of us and death, the last enemy may be destroyed, so that in us Christ says Death, where is your sting? Death, where is your victory? So let our corruptibility be clothed today with holiness and incorruption. With Death dead, let our mortality be cloaked in the Father’s immortality. With God ruling in us, let us be immersed in the blessings of regeneration and resurrection.
We Catholics need to revive in our hearts, minds, families and parishes, the concept of the Kingship of Christ.
The fact that today we celebrate this magnificent feast reminds us that the Kingdom of God has a real King. The Kingdom of God is neither a democracy or a tyranny, but a hierarchy ruled by Christ Himself.
A few notes from today's Divine Office may help us remember Who the real authority of all the nations is.
There is no reason for Christmas carol services, parties, concerts or decorations until Christmas Day or Christmas Eve itself.
Why Catholics omit Advent has been a mystery to me my entire adult life.
I have always refused to go to any Christmas celebrations until Christmas Day and after. The Twelve Days of Christmas, between Christmas Day and January 6th, "Little Christmas", was for centuries the way Catholics celebrated Christmas in free lands.
People have become angry with me when I have said "no" to Christmas activities in Advent, but I am a Daughter of the Church, who is Her wisdom has set aside a time of preparation for Christmas. Those who do not want to do penance cannot understand those of us who prefer to follow the ancient traditions of the Church.
When I was a child, we had many Advent customs which I have put at the end of this blog. Advent is the season of waiting, praying, preparing for the coming of Christ, the Incarnate One. As I indicate elsewhere, we had an empty manger and if we children did a good deed, we could put on piece of straw in the manger in order to make Jesus a nice bed. If we did something bad, we had to take out a piece of straw. Our deeds prepared for the coming of Jesus either as welcomed or not welcomed.
A large tapestry quilt especially made of a tree hung on the wall provided the Jesse Tree on which we hung, for four weeks daily, the symbols from the Old Testament genealogy and prophecies of the Messiah, the Christ. My son hung those for years with pins, standing on a chair when very small to reach, finally the top. I gave it to someone when he grew up. The book which provided the prayers and symbols is seen below. I highly recommend it. My son learned Old Testament Scripture this way. I had bought this book in the 1970s and it has been reprinted.
We fasted, reflected, on the sins of the world which are the reason for Christ coming. Without the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Christ, Christmas makes no sense.
I wrote years ago on the fact that in the old days, Christmas Eve was a day of fast and abstinence. Fish soups and other dishes from many nations fed Catholics before they celebrated on Christmas Day.
One of the readings in the very old liturgy of the Mass was the same reading as found in Holy Week on the "necessary fault of Adam" which brought about the Incarnation. And December 24th was the Feast Day of Adam and Eve. now saints in heaven freed by Christ in the Harrowing of Hell.
Catholics have become impatient, incapable of waiting, reflecting, praying. We have too many things, and too many events which keep us from Advent.
Catholic schools have been in error for years having Christmas concerts in Advent. All the Christmas decorations and many nativity scenes (creches) are already in place here in Malta. How sad. No one is waiting for the arrival of Baby Jesus. At least those who built these amazing scenes could have put Jesus in on Christmas Eve.
The empty stable reminds us that we need to make room on our hearts for Christ. We need to do penance and mortification to rid ourselves of the selfishness which makes us push for the comforts of Christmas without spiritual preparation.
When I home schooled, and in our little family, of course, we kept Advent.
Why the rush?
I challenge all readers to say "no" to Christmas activities in Advent. Especially for the remnant, this coming time of penance will prove to be a necessary practice for days of trial to come.
Please consider your witness to the world and refuse Christmas teas, parties, and so on in this season of penance.
Why do you think the liturgical color is purple? The words of St. John the Baptist reverberate during the time of Advent, which means ad venio,,,,to come.
I have listed below some of the customs and meditations I have done on Advent on this blog. Use these, please, and teach your children to wait, to prepare, for the coming of Christ. St . Nicholas Day is a break in the rigors of Advent for children. I also added a few Lenten posts as some are applicable to Advent.