MESSAGE FROM THE BISHOP
Dear clergy and faithful,
The time of Advent (from the Latin “adventus” meaning “coming, dawn“) has just begun. For the next four weeks, we have a golden opportunity to prepare ourselves inwardly for the Saviour’s first coming at Christmas. To do this, through the Bible readings of each Sunday in Advent, the Church will propose to us to do penance, to be converted by flattening the mountains of our pride, to undertake a deep inner cleansing in order to invite the Divine Child into our hearts and to rest in the depths of our souls. By doing penance, praying more and doing acts of charity, our poor hearts will then become true mangers where the Newborn can rest peacefully. By preparing ourselves in this way, we will send a clear signal to God that we long to unite ourselves with the Spirit of the One who has humbled himself, to the point of taking our poor human condition and to accept eventually to die on the Cross, in order to save us from our sins and evil inclinations.
The purple liturgical vestments that members of the clergy wear when they celebrate the liturgy during Advent, as well as the colour of the tablecloths and other accessories, symbolize precisely this essential dimension of joyful penance that we must adopt if we are to enter into the mystery of love and communion that God proposes to us.
Without this spirit of penance and loving conversion to God, without this spirit of sincere contrition for our sins (accompanied by the desire to please Him in everything), we risk missing the great mystery of Christmas! Christmas will then be reduced to a secular holiday where there are certainly moments of excitement and emotion linked to the shopping frenzy and the preparation of family gatherings during the holiday season. But Christ will certainly not come into our hearts under these conditions alone. For this to happen, we need to pray more; we need to desire him more, because desire always precedes love, all love. This is the signal that God expects from us before coming down from heaven to dwell and reign in our hearts. By doing so, he will be able to free us from the fears, anxieties, guilt and insecurities that so often invade us. Let us pray together, dear faithful, so that all may take advantage of this time of Advent to prepare inwardly for the coming of Emmanuel in the cradle of our hearts.
+ Guy Desrochers, C.Ss.R., Bishop of Pembroke