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Ordained in 2011, Father Friel served for five years as Parochial Vicar at St. Anselm Parish in Northeast Philly. He is currently studying toward an STL in sacred liturgy at The Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
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“More and more as we grow older, we find that the people we see most of are recent acquaintances; not (perhaps) very congenial to us, but chance has thrown them in our way. Meanwhile, the people we used to know so well—for whom we once entertained such warm feelings—are now remembered by a card at Christmas (if we can succeed in finding the address). How good we are at making friends, when we are young; how bad at keeping them! How eagerly, as we grow older, do we treasure up the friendships that are left to us, like beasts that creep together for warmth!”
— Msgr. Ronald Knox (1888-1957)

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Advent vs. the Saints
published 14 December 2012 by Fr. David Friel

DVENT IS MY FAVORITE SEASON. Bar none, I like Advent better than any other liturgical season. I like the waiting, the stillness, the longing anticipation; I like the interplay of light and darkness, hope and anxiety, immanence and apocalypse. Advent, although so brief, is a season filled with rich meaning and sacramental symbols.

I also love the saints. Some years more than others, however, these two loves seem in conflict with each other. This year, for instance, in less than two full weeks of Advent, we’ve already celebrated eight memorials of the saints. Much as I love the saints, it feels at times like we can’t really get into celebrating Advent.

So today I resolved to celebrate in my heart both St. John of the Cross and Advent by finding something that would link them. I found this excerpt from the saints poem, On the Incarnation:

          Men sang songs
          and angels melodies.
          But God there in the manger
          cried and moaned;
          and those tears were jewels
          the bride brought to the wedding.
          The Mother gazed in sheer wonder
          on such an exchange:
          In God, man’s weeping,
          and in man, gladness;
          to the one and the other
          things usually so strange.

What a remarkable reflection! On Christmas morning, for which we now prepare, Christ will be seen sharing in our sorrows in this valley of tears. Perhaps even more fantastically, if we prepare well, we will be seen sharing in the joyous strains of the heavenly choirs. What beneficent surprise!