Almighty God who command us to prepare
the way for Christ the Lord,
mercifully grant that we may not grow weary in our infirmities
as we wait for the consoling presence of the heavenly Physician.
Advent is about waiting, but in this waiting there is nothing passive, nothing of the quietism that would have one sit like an inert lump without passion, energy, or desire. Advent has been called the Lent of Winter, and with good reason. The very qualities that characterize the Lent of Spring, should characterize Advent. Does not Saint Benedict say that “a monk’s life ought at all times to bear a Lenten character” (RB 49:1)? What is the essence of this Lenten character? Saint Benedict, after inviting us to a spontaneous generosity in prayer, in self-denial, and in silence, sums it all up by saying, “and so with the joy of spiritual desire, look forward to holy Pascha” (RB 49:7). The “joy of spiritual desire” is the key to “preparing the way of the Lord” (Is 40:3).
The second part of today’s Collect