Yesterday at the Lay-Cistercian gathering day, Father Anthony DeLisi preached a wonderful sermon for the First Sunday of Advent. We were in the crypt chapel at the Monastery of the Holy Spirit — if you’ve ever been in the crypt, you’ll have seen the massive concrete pillars that hold up the beautiful, soaring, neo-Romanesque Abbey Church above.
Fr. Anthony compared the season of advent to the foundation of a building. He talked about how, when he arrived at the monastery almost fifty years ago, the foundations had been laid but construction of the church itself had not yet begun. “Little did I envision at that time what was to be built upon these massive foundations,” he said. He went on to suggest that the Hebrew Scriptures are the foundation for the New Testament, and the season of advent is the foundation for the entire liturgical year. After all, advent is about the coming of Christ, the miraculous event which is the foundation of the Mystical Body: the invisible community of people who are knit into the love and grace of Holy Trinity, now and throughout all history. When we establish a solid foundation, we are better equipped to build something truly wonderful upon it.
So for this advent season, here is my wish for all of us: may our lives be filled with deep and silent prayer in which we open ourselves to receive the ever-new coming of Christ. And in that single moment of miraculous union, may our very bodies, minds and souls become the foundations of lives eternally enfolded in His love.