Tomorrow being the first day of Advent, today is the final day of the Christian year. I love the second reading from today’s Office of Readings, which comes from a sermon of St. Augustine:
O the happiness of the heavenly alleluia, sung in security, in fear of no adversity! We shall have no enemies in heaven, we shall never lose a friend. God’s praises are sung both there and here, but here they are sung in anxiety, there in security; here they are sung by those destined to die, there, by those destined to live forever; here they are sung in hope, there, in hope’s fulfillment; here they are sung by wayfarers, there, by those living in their own country.
So, then, my brothers, let us sing now, not in order to enjoy a life of leisure, but in order to lighten our labors. You should sing as wayfarers do — sing, but continue your journey. Do not be lazy, but sing to make your journey more enjoyable. Sing, but keep going. What do I mean by keep going? Keep on making progress. This progress must be in virtue; for there are some, the Apostle warns, whose only progress is in vice. If you make progress, you will be continuing your journey, but be sure that your progress is in virtue, true faith, and right living. Sing then — but keep going.
“Sing, but keep going” always puts me in mind of my favourite walking hymn, “I Feel the Winds of God Today”. Since I cannot find a good version online, let’s hear instead Ralph Vaughan Williams’ Variants on Dives and Lazarus, which is based on the same tune:
And may I take this opportunity, a little early, to wish everyone a good Advent.