Happy Second Sunday of Advent! My local church, St. Joseph on the Brandywine, is doing a nifty banner/candle wreath thing this year.
Of course, now that I'm about to leave Delaware in 6 months, I'm finally getting connected to the parish. I've introduced myself to the pastor, and on Saturday I attended a morning advent retreat. It was just what I needed. Not only did I get to meet some very nice parishioners, I learned about Salesian spirituality. I have a more Vincentian background, thanks to my service year, and I've never really understood what all the fuss was about St. Francis de Sales. Turns out he's kind of awesome and not stodgy at all. In fact, he combated the Jansenist heresy and its hatred of human nature.
I especially liked one St. Francis de Sales quote that the priest shared:
The Incarnation is God's kiss to the world.
It's a lovely thought, but that statement's implications are deeper than just sentimentality. A kiss implies love and spontaneous affection. A kiss can also signify forgiveness and reconciliation. Between parents and children, it's a sign of trust and protection. It also means wordless communication, and a strong physical connection, and that's exactly what Jesus' incarnation was. God loved us so much, he wanted to physically, tangibly show us, and so He took on our image and likeness. St. Francis de Sales believed that this would have happened even if Christ didn't need to save us from original sin.