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Thought of the day
Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Tuesday of the First week of Advent

"Many prophets and kings desired to see what you see"

Saint Augustine (354-430), Bishop of Hippo (North Africa) and Doctor of the Church 
Discourses on the Psalms, Ps 118, no.20
"Many prophets and kings desired to see what you see"

« Lord, my soul pines for your salvation » (Ps 118[119],81), that is to say in its expectation. Happy the weakness that expresses desire for a good that has not been gained but yet is passionately sought after. So who do these words refer to if not, from the origins of humankind to the world’s end, to the “chosen race, the royal priesthood, the people set apart” (1Pt 2,9), to every person who lived, lives or will live in desire for Christ, each in their own time?

The witness to this expectation is the holy old man Simeon, who exclaimed as he took the child into his arms : « Now, Master, you may let your servant go in peace, according to your word, for my eyes have seen your salvation” (Lk 2,29-30). For he had received God’s promise that he would not taste death until he had seen Christ, the Lord. This old man’s desire – as we believe – was that of all the saints during the time that went before. This is why our Lord said to his disciples: “Many prophets and kings desired to see what you see and did not see it, to hear what you hear and never heard it.”

Therefore all these people must also be counted amongst those who sing : « My soul wastes away on account of your salvation”. Never, in those days, was this desire of the saints set to rest, and from now on it will never be set at rest in Christ’s body, his Church, until the end of the world, until there comes “the Desire of all nations” promised by the prophet (Hag 2,8 Vg)… The desire we are talking about comes from loving “Christ’s appearing” like the apostle Paul. It is of this that he said: “When Christ your life appears, then you too will appear with him in glory” (Col 3,4). The Church in times of old, before the Virgin’s childbearing, included saints who desired Christ’s coming in the flesh. Today it includes other saints who desire Christ’s manifestation in his glory. From the beginning of the world to the end of time this desire of the Church will have no respite.
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