From St Patrick’s Prayer (I Arise Today)
Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me,
Christ in me, Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ on my right, Christ on my left,
Christ when I lie down, Christ when I sit down,
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks of me,
Christ in the eye that sees me,
Christ in the ear that hears me.
These words from the Irish Apostle capture the essence of today’s Gospel (Matthew 9:35–10:1,5,6-8). Jesus Christ spreads himself to, in, and through others.
He repeats his very self in this Gospel — as the dawn repeats every morning, as Advent repeats every year…
In his Apostles, In St Patrick, In St Ambrose (whose memorial we celebrate today), In our neighbor, In ourselves, Christ is in all.
First, Jesus “went around to all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the Gospel of the Kingdom, and curing every disease and illness. At the sight of the crowds, his heart was moved with pity for them because they were troubled and abandoned, like sheep without a shepherd.”
Then he calls the Apostles. After likening this situation to the harvest — a familiar repeating motif for them — he sends them out to the world to repeat his work and extend it to others…
“Go to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. As you go, make this proclamation: ‘The Kingdom of heaven is at hand.’ Cure the sick, raise the dead, cleanse lepers, drive out demons. Without cost you have received; without cost you are to give.”
The essence of Advent is the essence of the Gospel: Christ’s presence among us; Christ’s continual coming to us; Christ’s glorious return at the end of time.
So I found this version of a happy Advent song for the occasion (over at Catholicism Pure & Simple, I always find good things there). This one really fits for two reasons. First, I started out the post with a prayer from St Patrick and this is an Irish hymn, sung very Irishy.
(Odd… spellcheck wanted to make that last word Irish whisky for some reason, but don’t they know Irish spell whiskey with an ‘e’?)
Also, the “turning of the world” has two senses for Advent: (1) to convert; and (2) literally to turn, which it constantly does, causing the Sun to Dawn on us every morning.
Advent symbolism, so beautiful you just can’t over do it, ever!
Canticle of the Turning
This one will make for a great song on Gaudete Sunday. Like I said, some of these are bound to get repeated.