Advent talks in Glenstal Abbey

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The Advent season has therefore this little-known double function of expecting the two comings of Christ. Most are familiar only with the expectation of the coming of Christ at Christmas. However, Jesus has already come at Christmas some 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem, and it is hard to work up anticipation for something that has already happened. Christmas might event appear to be just like a regular birthday party. Remembering the second or final coming of Christ at the end of time can be a helpful antidote. The expectation of the second coming in the first part of Advent remains unfulfilled and trains Christians to hope anew in the coming of Christ. This heightened sense of expectation then carries through to the second part of Advent where the first coming is anticipated anew. By entering into the double anticipatory function of Advent, Christmas does not simply celebrate Christ’s birth, but his coming into the world to begin a project of salvation that continues to the end of time. Christ does not only come at his birth or at the end time, but he is constantly coming to every generation, and in a special way to everyone at Christmas. The time of Advent softens hardened hearts to receive him anew. As Sr Maria Boulding so rightly puts it, “What is the point of celebrating the coming of Christ if Christ doesn’t come to me.”

Every year a series of talks are given on the Sundays of Advent at Glenstal Abbey, Co. Limerick. This year’s series is by Dr Jessie Rogers and Luke Macnamara OSB both lecturers in Scripture at St Patrick’s College Maynooth, and by Patrick McIntyre OSB. Podcasts of the talks can be accessed at www.glenstal.com