In my homily at Mass last Sunday, I referred to the changes in the English Mass text which were introduced the First Sunday of Advent. I expressed regret that the acclamation “Christ has died, Christ is risen, Christ will come again”, has been dropped from the official text, and is no longer permissible in the Mass.
I like that acclamation, as it summarizes succinctly the three comings of Christ preached by St. Bernard – his first visible coming when he was born as a baby in Bethlehem, his second visible coming when he comes as Judge at the end of time, and his in-between invisible comings into our lives when we turn to him in prayer, in good deeds and in the Sacraments, and particularly in the Mass.
I consider it a prayer particularly suited to Advent, when we renew our Faith in the various comings of Our Lord, and try to prepare ourselves for them. I concluded by encouraging the people to recite that little prayer every day, for even though it is forbidden in the Mass, no one can forbid you from praying it at other times.
Pray it to remind yourself that Jesus came as a new-born babe, to die and teach you about God’s love for you; pray it to remind yourself that he will come again at the end of life to judge you as your Savior; and pray it so you will not forget that, in between these two great visible comings, he comes to you invisibly whenever you turn to him in prayer, in good deeds, and in the Sacraments. Pray it just to keep in touch.