To Thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul: in Thee, O my God, I put my trust; let me not be ashamed. Neither let my enemies laugh at me: for none of them that wait on Thee shall be confounded.
(Introit, 1st Sunday of Advent)
The Latin Church begins her observance of Advent with First Vespers for the First Sunday of Advent tonight (in Rome Advent has already begun with the Pope's leading Vespers at Saint Peter's Basilica). Vespers (evening prayer) is a way of sanctifying the day, giving to God all of the fruits of the day.
Other Catholic Churches, for example, the Ambrosian Church (the Archdiocese of Milan), the Syriac Churches, as in the Maronite Church, and the Byzantine Churches (as well as the Orthodox) began their Advent observance and fast two weeks ago.
Saint Paul invites us to prepare for the coming of Lord in a blameless manner. Paul uses the word "coming," in Latin, "adventus," meaning "presence, arrival, coming." An adventus is arrival of an official but can also mean the diety's coming forth showing his Presence to us. Christians adopted the word to establish a relationship with God. We participate in his coming by our participation in and with the liturgical assembly which knows in the heart: God is here, He has not left us and visits us in many ways: Advent is a personal visit from God entering into my life who wants to talk to me. We have to guard against the "doing" of our lives which monopolizes our interior life and thus distracts from the talking personally with God. Advent invites to see the daily events of our lives as God's gifts to us, as signs of His Presence in our life, His love in our life. Our recollection of these events is a gesture of gratitude and a method recognizing the Presence of God personally.
With Saint Paul, let's keep our body and soul blameless for God calls, He is faithful; and He will do it. We are with Mary in preparing room for the newborn Child, the Incarnate Word of God, Jesus.
At the name of Jesus every knee should bow...