Waiting for Jesus in an Age of Terrorism

Comments of Archbishop Comastri, Preacher of Papal Spiritual Exercises

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ROME, NOV. 30, 2003 (Zenit.org).- In a world darkened by terrorism, Christians should live Advent with their lamps lit in expectation of Jesus’ return, says preacher of this year’s Spiritual Exercises for the Pope.

Archbishop Angelo Comastri, who is papal delegate of the Marian Shrine of Loreto, Italy, quoted Mother Teresa of Calcutta to describe the attitude Christians should have during this period of preparation for Christmas.

The Albanian religious «used to say often: ‘the best is yet to come,'» Archbishop Comastri recalled. «In Advent, we Christians recall the first coming of Jesus, his birth in Bethlehem. We recall that first coming to prepare for the second coming, Jesus’ return.»

«Our hearts are oriented to that day and that is why we carry lighted lamps as we walk in the darkness of this world toward our encounter with the Lord,» he added in an interview today on Vatican Radio.

In this world of violence, «never more than today have we experienced the truth of the Christian message. Never more than today have we realized that by rejecting the Christian message man plunges into chaos,» the archbishop added.

He suggested an Advent meditation a phrase of Isaiah’s: «Fill in the valleys and level the mountains and hills.»

«To level the mountains means to level the human being,» the prelate said. «It means measuring ourselves again when we are barefoot. In other words, to recover humility because pride impedes listening to God. … The valleys, the voids, must be filled. This means to throw earth on vanity, with which we try to hide the inner need we all have for God.»

There is «much sadness today» in a world that lives as if God did not exist, the archbishop continued. «We see shop windows lit up, well-dressed people, all seem satisfied. But inside, they are desperate.»

«Today there are many, many conversions, as God walks on tiptoe through the streets of the world, as he approached on tiptoes the disciples of Emmaus, who were leaving Jerusalem,» he said.

He concluded: «History continues, and conversions continue to be today the most beautiful pages and the surest sign that Christ is alive and is walking through the streets of the world.»

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