In response to a post I wrote at Ignitum Today last month about contemplating death, a reader commented:
[W]hy not look at death as a meeting with the One we have been waiting for all our lives, similar to a soldier who is on the battlefield and thinks of his beloved waiting back home for him. When the war (of life) is over, he meets his loved one with inexpressible and unending joy. The reality of finally meeting Jesus face to face is the most beautiful experience imaginable.
YES! EXACTLY! And that is just what Advent is meant to be preparation for – being united with our Lover when he comes again in glory at the end of time.
Jesus Christ has many titles according to his relationship with mankind. He is Prince of Peace and King of Kings, Lord, Savior and even Friend. But it is often forgotten that He is also our Lover and Spouse:
As a young man marries a virgin, so shall your builder marry you (Is. 62).
God is madly in love with us and He wants us to be madly in love with Him in return. The Catechism of the Catholic Church says:
God has revealed his innermost secret: God himself is an eternal exchange of love, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and he has destined us to share in that exchange (CCC 221).
Christ came to earth and became man to make a marriage of mankind to himself so that we can fully share in the eternal exchange of love that is the Trinity. That is why heaven is described as a great wedding feast (Revelation 19:9).
This passage from the Song of Songs (2:8-14), which was the first reading at Mass today, wonderfully illustrates the beautiful, saving event we are preparing to celebrate on Sunday:
Hark! my lover–here he comes
springing across the mountains,
leaping across the hills.
My lover is like a gazelle
or a young stag.
Here he stands behind our wall,
gazing through the windows,
peering through the lattices.
My lover speaks; he says to me,
“Arise, my beloved, my dove, my beautiful one,
“For see, the winter is past,
the rains are over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth,
the time of pruning the vines has come,
and the song of the dove is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines, in bloom, give forth fragrance.
Arise, my beloved, my beautiful one,
“O my dove in the clefts of the rock,
in the secret recesses of the cliff,
Let me see you,
let me hear your voice,
For your voice is sweet,
and you are lovely.”
Are you prepared to welcome the Bridegroom (Mt. 25:1-13)??