The liturgical year is beginning, and the introit of the Mass invites us to consider something closely related to the beginning of our Christian life: the vocation we have all received.
In considering the circumstances surrounding your decision to make every effort to live your faith, I imagine that you, like me, will thank our Lord. I know too that, without falling into false humility, this thankfulness will leave you even more convinced that you have merited nothing of this on your own. Usually we learn to invoke God as a young child from our Christian parents. Later, teachers, friends and acquaintances have helped us in many ways not to lose sight of our Lord.
Today marks the beginning of Advent. And it is good for us to consider the wiles of these enemies of the soul: the disorder of sensuality and easy-going superficiality, the folly of reason that rejects God, the cavalier presumption that snuffs out love for both God and creatures. All these obstacles are real enough, and they can indeed cause us a great deal of trouble. For these very reasons the liturgy invites us to implore divine mercy: "To you, o Lord, I lift up my soul. O my God, in you I trust, let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me (Ps 24:1-2)," as we prayed in the introit. And in the offertory we shall go back to the same idea: "Let none that wait for you be put to shame."
Now that the time of our salvation is approaching, it is consoling to hear from the lips of St Paul that "when the goodness and kindness of God our Saviour appeared, he saved us, not by the works of justice which we have done, but according to his mercy (Titus 3:5)."
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