Like little children impatiently staring at the presents under a Christmass tree, we eagerly await the celebration of Our Lord’s Nativity. Yet our kind and loving Mother Church gently but firmly urges us not to celebrate too soon, but to remain patient. For those who begin the celebration too soon, do not celebrate with the fulsome joy of those who have patiently waited with fasting and prayer. And those who know no patience have set their hearts and stomachs on the worldly distraction which threaten to overtake the true spiritual benefits of Christ Mass. Therefore, patient preparation is the Church’s exhortation: “Not yet, but soon!” So let us force our fleshly desires and our impatience to submit to the Church’s wise counsel.
And as we submit, let us carefully attend to what the Church says. She teaches us to beg Our Lord God to come quickly. She advises us that He is found not in the excesses of this world, but in the sacred mysteries, the “hidden things of darkness” which shall soon be revealed. She reminds us that “the Lord is nigh” and so we should be ready to “give thanks to His holy name.” And she tells us to look not to the temptresses of this age, but to the holy, blessed, ever-Virgin Mary who bears Christ in her womb so that He might make His home in our hearts.
Patience, then, is the Church’s earnest counsel. For by patiently and diligently attending to the holy mysteries, our devotion is increased and we are brought to salvation. Hence St John the Baptizer’s plea to “prepare the way of the Lord” is a plea for us to continue patiently in repentance, fasting and prayer. And it should evoke in us an equally earnest prayer: that Our Lord come, mightily aid us, and speedily help and deliver us so that His “indulgent mercy may hasten what is delayed by our sins.”