They shall see the Lord face to face, and his name will be written on their foreheads. It will never be night again and they will not need lamplight or sunlight, because the Lord God will be shining on them. They will reign for ever and ever. (Rev 22:4-5)
Just over a week ago on the beautiful feast of Christ the King the Lord called our dear Sr Rosaleen to her eternal home, while the community were praying the Office of night prayer around her bedside. As the above scripture passage was being read her breathing began to fail and ever so gently she breathed her last as we sang the response:
“Into your hands I commend my spirit. You have redeemed us Lord God of truth.”
We continued with the canticle of Simeon:
At last, all powerful Master
You give leave to your servant
to go in peace, according to your promise.
For my eyes have seen your salvation
which you have prepared for all nations,
the light to enlighten the Gentiles
and give glory to Israel your people.
No doubt her passing made a deep impression on us and brought home to each of us the mysterious presence and closeness of the Lord in our lives. Sr Rosaleen at 97 had a long wait before seeing the Lord’s face. We pray that now she is basking in the sunlight of His Presence and interceding for all of us.
As we begin the season of Advent we too are waiting with longing for the coming of the Lord:
O that you would teat the heavens open and come down!(Is 63)
The emphasis in the readings for this first Sunday of Advent is on Jesus’ second coming at the end of time – as we come nearer to Christmas we remember his coming in the flesh over 2,000 years ago. But as we try to be faithful disciples of Jesus it is even more important for us to recognise his coming at every moment in every person we meet, in every circumstance in which we find ourselves. In the Gospel Jesus invites us to "stay awake" and "be on the watch".
Let us live this Advent in preparation for our celebration of Christmas in the sure knowledge that we are always in His Presence – held by His right hand as with the psalmist we pray:
God of Hosts bring us back
Let your face shine on us and we shall be saved (Ps 79)
Then we shall be ready, as our dear Sr Rosaleen was, to go forth to meet the Lord when He eventually calls us to our eternal home, to be with him and our loved ones for ever.