If you haven’t heard of Fr. William George Rutler before, you’re in for a treat. I first learned about Fr. Rutler when I chanced upon a show he hosted about the hymn “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” from his Stories of Hymns series on ETWN, and now I subscribe to his weekly sermons. I don’t follow anyone else, so that’s a high compliment, coming from me. I have since discovered that Fr. Rutler is highly respected diocesan priest from the Archdiocese of New York, a former Episcopal priest, and that he has impressive academic credentials. I could tell from the first time I heard him that he is a learned and eloquent speaker.
The following ten deep thoughts about the Advent season are transcribed from “O Come, O Come Emmanuel,” the show of Fr. Rutler’s that hooked me. You can view Fr. Rutler give his meditation on Advent and learn much more about the history and significance of “O Come, O Come Emmanuel” here.
10. The Church ritualizes anticipation, because the Church alone in Her wisdom knows what we are waiting for. We have a season dedicated to waiting.
9. The name [Advent] itself means “the approach” “the coming” –of the Lord and of nothing less than our Lord.
8. The season of Advent has become a lost liturgical season. We live in the time of instant gratification because we do not expect great things. We want little things to come immediately to substitute for the great glory that is about to be revealed.
7. Patience is a virtue precisely because it conditions the mind and the will to anticipate that for which the world was made.
6. We should examine our liturgical conscience and ask ourselves, “What have we done to Advent?”
5. Advent does not require the strict kind of penance and mortification that Lent does but it does involve some sort of examination of conscience, some sort of self-denial, some sort of sober anticipation. And yet, when do we have our Christmas parties?
4. How many of us without thinking celebrate Christmas at the beginning of the four weeks of anticipation, thus missing both the gift of waiting and the gift of receiving?
3. There are twelve days for celebrating the Incarnation of Our Lord. And what happens then? The day after, December 26, what kind of celebration goes on? What happens in those great Twelve Days [of Christmas]?
2. The Church has wonderful hymns for Advent, and if we don’t keep Advent, we are going to miss them. We know one very well, and because we’ve lost Advent, we tend to think of it as a Christmas hymn: “O Come O Come Emmanuel.”
1. The very last line of the Bible cries out, “Come Lord Jesus!” The Lord wants us to anticipate nothing less than Himself.