Advent Reflection – 7 December – Monday of the Second Week of Advent, Readings: Isaiah 35:1-10, Psalms 85:9 and 10, 11-12, 13-14, Luke 5:17-26 and the Memorial of St Ambrose (c 340-397)- Father and Doctor of the Church
Let us adore the Lord, the King who is to come.
And amazement seized them all and they glorified God and were filled with awe, saying, “We have seen extraordinary things today.”- Luke 5:26
REFLECTION – “The Word of God has come to dwell in man; he became “Son of man” in order to accustom man to receive God and God to dwell in man, as it has pleased the Father. See now why the sign of our salvation, Emmanuel born of a Virgin, has been given by the Saviour Himself (Is 7:14). Indeed, it is the Saviour Himself who saves men, since of themselves they cannot save themselves. (…) The prophet Isaiah has said: “Strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak! Take courage, frightened hearts; be strong, fear not! Here is your God who comes with vindication; he himself comes, he comes to save us,” (Is 35:3-4). For it is only by God’s help and not of ourselves, that we can stand up to our salvation.
And here is another text where Isaiah predicted that the one who saves us is neither simply a man nor an incorporeal being: “It was not a messenger or an angel but the Lord himself who saved his people. Because of his love and pity he forgave them; he redeemed them himself,” (Is 63:9). Yet this Saviour is also truly man, truly visible: “City of Zion, behold: your eyes shall see our Saviour” (…) And another prophet has said: “He will again have compassion on us and cast into the depths of the sea all our sins,” (Mi 7:19) (…) From the land of Judah, from Bethlehem (Mi 5:1) will come the Son of God, He who is also God, to pour out His praise on all the earth (…) Thus God has become man indeed and the Lord Himself has saved us, by giving us the sign of the Virgin.” – St Irenaeus of Lyons (c 130-c 202) Bishop, Church Father, Theologian and Martyr – Against the heresies III
PRAYER – Prayer of St Ambrose
O Lord, who has mercy upon all,
take away from me my sins
and mercifully kindle in me
the fire of Your Holy Spirit.
Take away from me the heart of stone
and give me a heart of flesh,
a heart to love and adore You,
a heart to delight in You,
to follow and enjoy You,
for Christ’s sake.