I love Advent. I love this time, with the approaching of Christmas, the preparation, the hymns, carols, the excitement - almost as much (sometimes more than) the great Feast itself!
The thought of the Nativity story, the Incarnation of the Word, God made man, Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ... it can make one dizzy in anticipation.
When one analyses this simple fact of the Incarnation of God one realises that far from being the simple matter of a baby in a crib, we are dealing with a fathomless mystery and equally amazing example of the fathomless nature of God's Grace.
As we Catholics say the Hail Mary we repeat those wondrous words pronounced to the Mother of God:
Hail Mary the Lord is with Thee,
Blessed art Thou amongst women and Blessed is the fruit of Thy womb.
After Her total submission to the Will of God, something each of us strives towards in our lives (often failing dismally), she was made the Ark of the Covenant. The Incarnation of God was made possible by the total submission of Our Lady to the Will of God. The Handmaiden of the Lord became our Co-Redemptrix, surely one of the reasons for Satan's prideful rebellion, that a mortal woman by raised higher in Heaven than the Hosts of Angels, as their (and our) Queen.
And this brings me to an issue that came up in conversation with our local priest on the issue of the Church, Confession etc. "Why do we need the church?" so many ask in the modern age. They could ask why do we need coffee, why do we need pavements, why do we need collars on shirts - for none of these has done even a tiny fraction towards advancing civilisation as Mother Church has -- yet we get this modernist, 60s, socialist, materialist (label it as you will) mantra repeated all the time in all forms of media but especially in modern fiction:
Why do we need the Church.
The modernists who would rewrite history and paint the Church as the greatest evil known to man (forgetting all the evils it replaced and all the evils it negated and strove to 'fix' - I am reminded of GK Chesterton's quote on Christianity as not found wanting, but found, and untried), forget that Our Lord Jesus Christ left us His Church.
If we did not need a Church, if we did not need the Sacraments of the Church, then Our Lord would not have created it, with St Peter as the first Pope, with the Apostles and others as the first Bishops, with the Mass and -- "This is My Body" -- the Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity left in the Eucharist to strengthen the Christians. Our Lord also explicitly gave the priests the power for the forgiveness of sins, to enable us as e struggle on in our daily lives.
The modernist rebellion against the need for the Church (which reached its ideological zenith circa the French Revolution - but has reached its technological zenith today via the reach of Hollywood and the media) is flying in the face of the wishes and precise instructions left by Jesus Christ whose birthday most people in Europe are about to celebrate.
As for those Protestants of 1001 varieties of the modernist 'catholics' who say they do not need the Catholic Church, i.e. that any church will do... well they are as bad as those charlatans who say "I can confess my sins to God at home" -- because we all know that they seldom do, nor (without they guidance of Holy Church) would they know what constitutes sins in many respects.
Jesus Christ did not start the Protestant churches - men did. The Son of God did not start all the other religions men did (yes - even modern Judaism was started by the Pharisees). Are we really so proud, so insincere, so devious as men to think that we know better than Jesus Christ - the Son of God, God made man, the Second Person of the Holy Trinity, the Word Incarnate?
He left us the Church with the Pope at its head; he left us the Sacrifice of the Mass, he left us Confession to help us overcome our sins... and yet we, modern men, think that we do not need all this! We can do without His Church, we can do without His Sacrifice of the Mass, we can do without His Confessional!
How proud and sinful is modern man, that so many of us think we can pay lip service to the Son of God, yet ignore the very things He left us, in order that we may be worthy of Heaven, the gates of which He opened for us.
We are all of us sinners, we are all of us weak, we are all of us human. We All fall, many times, on our own Via Dolorosa. That is why we need the institutions left to us by Jesus Christ - especially His Sacraments.
If we think we can do without them we are sorely mistaken! We should submit ourselves to the Will of God, and that begins by availing ourselves of His Sacraments through the auspices of His Church.
To do otherwise is to join the Devil in his terrible revolt against God Himself.
Be on the side of the Angels! Go to Mass, get to Confession, partake of Communion. The Sanctifying nature of the Eucharist will give you many Graces, and in this modern(ist) world we, each and every one of us no matter our status, need all the Graces we can get!