In Saint Paul’s Letter to the Romans, he speaks of the virtue of hope, and does so beautifully. We are hoping, he says, for the fulfillment of our potential which will not be in this life, but in heaven. And he compares the aches and pains associated with growing older in this world to the pain that a woman experiences in childbirth. She undergoes pain to bring forth a person for this world. We undergo pain to bring forth ourselves into eternal life. Let us be aware that there are three very important moments in salvation history. First, the life, ministry, suffering, death, resurrection and ascension of Our Divine Lord. All of that taken together is one moment. Then we have the present moment, in which we live from day to day. We can’t live yesterday or tomorrow. We can only live NOW. We are asked to remain in union with Jesus NOW, the flowing NOW of each day. And then the third moment is the one when he will come for us to take us into eternal life with him.
In just  days, we will begin the holy season of Advent. The word Advent comes from the Latin “advenit,” which means “he is coming!” Can you remember how exciting it was when you were a small child and you expected company? My grandmother or other relations would come to visit us, and they would bring GIFTS! In good weather, my parents would leave the front door open, with the screen door hooked, so that I could see out. I ran to the front door every time I heard a car go by, terribly impatient, waiting for our guests and the wonderful things that they would bring me. We are not children any more, but we are waiting for the arrival of a very important person who is going to bring us a tremendous gift. The person is Our Lord Jesus Christ, and the gift is union with him in heaven forever, if he finds us faithful to him when he comes. Thus, we Christians are a people who live between the coming of Jesus in history, 2000 years ago, and the coming of Jesus in the future, at the end of our lives. And between those two poles, we live with Jesus in his holy word, in the church, in the sacraments, in our prayer life, and in our communities. Our whole spiritual, religious lives are permeated with Jesus. They are beautiful lives indeed. That is not to say that there is no suffering, but as Saint Paul says, the suffering is like labor pains: it leads to LIFE and joy. Thank you for seeking God’s truth. God bless you. Father Victor Brown, O.P.
Note: This Message was composed some years ago.