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T4W: Advent – Neither past nor future, but present

A prayer for the season of Advent by Karl Rahner SJ

Each year we celebrate the holy season of Advent, O God.  Every year we pray those beautiful prayers of longing and waiting, and sing those lovely songs of hope and promise.  Every year we roll up all our needs and yearnings and faithful expectation into one word: “Come!”

And yet, what a strange prayer this is!  After all, you have already come and pitched your tent among us.  You have already shared our life with its little joys, its long days of tedious routine, its bitter end.  Could you approach any nearer to us than you did when you became the “Son of Man”, when you adopted our ordinary little ways so thoroughly that it’s almost hard for us to distinguish you from the rest of our fellow human beings?

It is said that you will come again, and this is true.  But the word “again” is misleading.  It won’t really be another coming, because you have never really gone away.

But still you will come again, because the fact that you have already come must continue to be revealed ever more clearly.  It will become progressively more manifest to the world that the heart of all things is already transformed, because you have taken them all to your heart.

Behold, you come.  And your coming is neither past nor future, but the present, which has only to reach its fulfilment.  Now it is still the one single hour of your Advent, at the end of which we too shall have found out that you have really come.

O God who is to come, grant us the grace to live now, in the hour of your Advent, in such a way that we may merit to live in your forever, in the blissful hour of your eternity

from Encounters with Silence