Friday, December 20, 2013

Advent: Bursting at the Seams

On my run this morning I was nearly overwhelmed as I began to reflect on the Advent season and the coming celebration of Christmas. In these last days of Advent I cannot help that my patient waiting and quiet preparation begins to turn more and more to joy. I know what is coming, I know what we are about to celebrate. It's not presents but presence and no ordinary presence but the presence of God Himself among us, as us. Think about how truly awesome it is that the Lord, who created all things, so badly wanted to be reconciled to us that He Himself took pity on us and took on our human form and gave humanity the best gift we could hope for. A gift that was beyond all expectations, Himself, and when you realize the "us" includes "you" how can you not be bursting at the seams with true and complete joy. O come, o come Emmanuel!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

O Antiphon: Tuesday of the 3rd Week of Advent

Today in the "O" antiphon we pray to be taught the virtue of prudence. The antiphon for today is today in the traditional Latin is
"O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodidisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviter disponensque omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae. "*
One English translation of that is
"O Wisdom, who came from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: come, and teach us the way of prudence."*
So today in our preparations for Christmas we pray to develop the virtue of prudence. But what exactly is prudence, what does the Church mean by this prayer. Prudence is defined in paragraph 1806 of the Catechism of the Catholic Church as
"Prudence is the virtue that disposes practical reason to discern our true good in every circumstance and to choose the right means of achieving it; "the prudent man looks where he is going." "Keep sane and sober for your prayers." Prudence is "right reason in action," writes St. Thomas Aquinas, following Aristotle. It is not to be confused with timidity or fear, nor with duplicity or dissimulation. It is called auriga virtutum (the charioteer of the virtues); it guides the other virtues by setting rule and measure. It is prudence that immediately guides the judgment of conscience. The prudent man determines and directs his conduct in accordance with this judgment. With the help of this virtue we apply moral principles to particular cases without error and overcome doubts about the good to achieve and the evil to avoid."
 So according to the Catechism of the Catholic Church prudence is the ability not only to see right from wrong, to see clearly the difference between good and evil choices, in specific situations but to also make the choices in those situations that are pleasing to God.

*Original Latin and English translation from http://www.wdtprs.com/JTZ/o_antiphons/