During Advent, we remember Christ’s hope for peace Print
Seeing with Jesus' Eyes
Thursday, Dec. 03, 2015 -- 12:00 AM

The word Advent comes from the Latin adventus, which means coming.

From the first Sunday of Advent to December 17, we await the second coming of Christ so that when he comes in glory, he will find us prepared to meet him. From December 17 to 24, we prepare to celebrate the coming of Christ at Christmas.

During Advent's graced moments, we also experience the comings of Christ in our daily life.

Hope for peace

In his 2013 Advent Angelus message, Pope Francis stressed Christ's hope for peace during Advent, when we prepare to celebrate the birth of the Prince of Peace.

He shared the hope for peace revealed in Isaiah 2:4, which prophesies that when the Messiah comes, nations will beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks, one nation will not raise their swords against another, nor shall they train for war again.

Pope Francis also declared, "What a great day it will be when weapons will be dismantled into instruments of work." Then the billions spent on weapons could help to feed the poor whom Pope Francis treasures.

No more war

On October 4, 1965, the first pope to visit our country, Blessed Paul VI, celebrated Mass at Yankee Stadium. He also addressed the United Nations, where he quoted President John F. Kennedy who declared that "mankind must put an end to war or war will put an end to mankind."

"No more war, never again war!" Blessed Paul VI pleaded in English with a soft Italian accent. "Drop your weapons. One cannot love with offensive weapons in hand."

In one of his visits to the United States, St. John Paul II repeated the same hopeful words, "No more war. War never again!" He also warned of the dangers of the nuclear arms race.

Pope Francis often shares the same concern for peace and the danger of nuclear weapons.

Listening to God

During Advent, we can resolve to listen more attentively to God speak as Mary the patroness of Advent did. Mary could easily be called the patroness of listening, because she listened and responded to the message God sent through the angel inviting her to become the mother of the Prince of Peace.

Good listening is an act of respect. When we truly listen, we say to the person speaking, "I respect you so much that I lay aside my own agenda to give you my full attention!" Good listeners listen with their ears as well as their heart. They are especially appreciated because they affirm the worth of the person listened to.

In Romans 10:17 it says, "Faith comes through hearing and what is heard comes through the Word of Christ." One of the best prayers is listening and responding to God speaking to us through Scripture, preaching, or other ways.

Relationship with Jesus

To participate fully, consciously, and prayerfully in Mass, we need a vibrant personal relationship with Jesus.

During Advent, Pope Francis urges us to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation -- rejecting sin and making more room for Jesus. We can also participate in Advent devotions, daily and Sunday Mass, Eucharistic Adoration, doing good works, and listening like Mary. We can pray the Rosary and participate in the Mass for the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe.

An Advent wreath placed strategically in the home is a reminder that it's still Advent and not yet Christmas.

Let's pray that this Advent, our hope for peace, our good works, and our graced listening bring us closer to Christ and help us celebrate with grateful, joyful hearts the birth of the Prince of Peace.

Fr. Donald Lange is a pastor emeritus in the Diocese of Madison.