For those who are still faithful to their Catholic faith and who are still truly interested in understanding the inherent significance of the now ongoing Season of Advent prior to Christmas, it might be good for them to know that these are primarily intended for them to clean up, firm up their spiritual standing before God precisely for their fruitful celebration of the forth coming birth anniversary of Christ.
And there is one fundamental way of doing their said spiritual self-preparation: Repentance not only for the possible many evil things that they have done, but also for the probably more numerous things they failed to do!
It is said with fun or pun that in the Philippines, there is only Christmas—no Advent Season at all. The Christmas spirit is in and the Christmas carols are on, from September to January the year next. The truth, however, is that the Church observes a relatively long Advent Season that even includes the well known and much frequented nine days (Novena) of Dawn Masses that end with Christmas Day.
Why such a relatively long Advent Season? This is basically intended to invite and lead the Catholic faithful to repent or to ask God for forgiveness—the most concrete expression of which is the reception of the Sacrament of Penance that leads the penitent to reconciliation with the Good Lord. For those who think that their sins of commission or omission are too detestable and shameful to confess, let them know that there is absolutely no sin that the Confessor has not heard previously—and often.
By the way, there are two groups of individuals for whom repentance is of no consequence at all. To the first group belong those who are convinced that they do not need to repent at all because they are not guilty of any sin all, they have not done any misdeed at all, and they are the people who should be made to stand at the altars of Church for the veneration of the “Presumption”, viz., a sin beyond forgiveness precisely because said individuals dare think they sinless and wherefore no need for repentance, nor forgiveness for that matter.
To the second group belong those who are in opposite extreme, viz., they harbour the pitiful conviction that they are so sinful, so guilty that no amount of repentance could bring about forgiveness. In other words, they are of the belief that their grave sins and gross misdeeds are beyond forgiveness by the Good Lord. Hence, it would be futile for them to repent, and in vain could they expect forgiveness—no matter what repentance they do. They thus sadly fall into the sin of “Despair”. It is thus not difficult to understand that there is no forgiveness.
Reason: All those who wallow in the sin of “Presumption” or the sin of “Despair” do not repent and therefore have no claim to forgiveness. Woe to those who presume their sainthood or who despair for their salvation!
December 22, 2008