“Comfort, comfort my people, says your God. Speak tenderly to Jerusalem, and cry to her that her warfare is ended, that her iniquity is pardoned” – Isaiah 40:1-3
Comfort ye my people….” these words are the text used by Handel for the first aria in his oratorio “Messiah”, music that we shall perhaps hear often in the coming Advent days. It was a favorite of my father; a member of the local choral society, and I often heard it at home or in concert. It always brings back happy memories as well as being a powerful text at any time of the year.
The comfort promised by God to His people, far from Jerusalem is not a superficial balm to soothe an anxious spirit but rather a strengthening and encouragement to believe that whatever the circumstances, God is faithful to His people. Yes, they have suffered but they must hold firm and trust that God’s purpose will be accomplished in their lives. And God speaks tenderly, a still, small voice of calm, amid the turbulence of our lives. The Xaverian value of trust calls us to a similar perspective. Brother Ryken prayed, “Lord I cannot understand Your ways but I must adore them.” So must we. In these confusing and often troubled days for the church and the world we can take comfort that Isaiah’s prophecy has been fulfilled in Christ and that in the words of Julian of Norwich, “all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.”
Loving God, we ask You to look upon us in the confusion and pain of our world. Keep us united in hope and trust, in love and tenderness, to celebrate the birth of Your Son in the sure knowledge that our sins are forgiven, our salvation is at hand.
Brother Philip Revell, C.F.X.
To view the full Advent 2022 booklet in English, click here.
For Spanish, click here.
For French, click here.