Fr. James Martin, S.J.: What do you desire this Advent?

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Advent is all about desire, an elderly Jesuit in our community used to say every year as November drew to a close.  And whenever he said it, I would say, “What?” 

But gradually it dawned on me what he meant. Christians desire the coming of Christ into their lives in new ways, a desire that is heightened during Advent.  The beautiful readings from the Book of Isaiah, which we often hear proclaimed during Advent, describe how even the earth longs for the presence of God.  The wonderful “O antiphons,” sung at evening prayer and during the Gospel acclamations towards the end of Advent, speak of Christ as the “King of Nations and their Desire.” The Gospel readings tell of John the Baptist expressing Israel’s hope for a Messiah. Mary and Joseph look forward to the upcoming birth of a son.  My friend was right: Advent is about desire.

The problem is that desire gets a bad rap in the spiritual life, since some people equate it with selfishness. Like “I want a new car or a new computer or new phone.” But our deepest desires are God’s desires dwelling within us: desires for peace, for love, for hope, and, most of all for God. So this Advent, this season of desire, ask God to reveal to you your deepest desires. And ask to come to know the Desire of the Nations, Jesus.

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Jim Spangler
3 months 1 week ago

Dear Father Martin; I will tell you what I don't desire this Advent, and that is the spew that you are trying to force into the beliefs of the Church. My thoughts are that you need to be silenced, and sent off to St. Catherine's Monastery in the Sinai. Your teachings and thoughts are destroying the Church. The homosexuality that you proclaim needs to be rooted out of the Church and prevented from becoming a way of life for our Priest, Bishops, and Cardinals. Do you really think that ex Cardinal McCarrick is headed for sainthood? The Sixth Commandment says "you shall not commit adultery" Tell me how committing adultery by our Priest and Bishops complements the Church! Get a life!

Tim Donovan
3 months 1 week ago

I'm a Catholic who's gay, and grew up in the 1970's as an adolescent who was frequently called painful, offensive names. I certainly agree that the pain experienced by victims of priest sexual abuse is far greater than that which I experienced. For most of my life, I remained celibate, despite feeling lustful desires for men. Many years ago, I did have sex with men (I 'm now 56). However, I regretted my acts, and received forgiveness and consolation through the Sacrament of Reconciliation. I look forward to spending Advent doing my best to find Jesus through prayer and good works. Although I firmly believe that marriage is the union of one man and one woman, I.don't feel hatred towards gay people. God created us to be different in many ways, but I believe He loves all of us and will forgive our sins if we are truly sorry. Without being immodest, I go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation each month, and then feel worthy to receive Jesus worthily in the Eucharist.

Tim Donovan
3 months 1 week ago

Although I don't always fully agree with Father Martin, I generally respect him for being compassionate towards those of us who aren't heterosexuals. I don't know that he has at any time condoned gay sex. I'm mystified by your suggestion that Father Martin in any way favors violating any of God's commandments. I'm confident that he wants what all decent, reasonable Catholics and others desire: punishment for priests or anyone who sexually abuses children.

Bruce Snowden
3 months 1 week ago

Mr. Spangler, I looked for Jesus in what you wrote, but all I found was venom, very disappointed in your cruel debasing of the good priest, James Martin, S.J. The aspersions of God's Grace are everywhere and its droplets build hope and that's where God resides. Good people are sometimes not always entirely right - even saints are not always entirely right, in fact sometimes terribly wrong, This does not damage Goodness.

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