instruere...inlustrare...delectare Disputations

Thursday, December 11, 2003

Patron saints of Advent

There's a nice reflection on the virtue of anticipation at Sancta Sanctis.

Anticipating the coming of the Messiah has a lot to be said for it. It shows faith, and hope, and love. It's a reformative attitude, since true anticipation will lead you to ask again and again, "Is there anything else I could be doing to prepare for this?" It works alongside patience, it innoculates against distraction by paltry things.

It is not at all passive.

As Enbrethiliel mentions, Simeon is an exemplar of the virtue of anticipation, having awaited the consolation of Israel with the hope that he should not see death before he had seen the Messiah of the Lord. Anna, daughter of Phanuel, was no slouch in this department, either.

We might even propose Simeon and Anna as patron saints of Advent, whose attitude toward the first coming of the Messiah can teach us how to dispose ourselves toward His second coming -- and, perhaps more importantly, toward His "third coming" into our lives here and now.

In fact, if we accomodate Simeon's Canticle to support a Eucharistic meaning -- with the Blessed Sacrament the light now carried to all the nations -- we can see the time before each Mass as a sort of mini-Advent, asking ourselves, "Is there anything else I could be doing to prepare for this?"