I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not nigh: There shall come forth a star out of Jacob, And a sceptre shall rise out of Israel, And shall smite through the corners of Moab, And break down all the sons of tumult. ~Numbers 24:17
One of the perks of bedrest and the Internet Age is that I was able to get almost all Christmas shopping done before today. I've never begun Advent with so little need to focus on Christmas! My hope this year is to focus, for the first two weeks, on Christ's second coming and only then on remembering his nativity in Bethlehem.
Purity of heart means just that focus, that singularity of purpose. And so, this first week of Advent, I hope to desire only that one thing necessary--the face of God.
From this Sunday's Gospel:
"But take heed to yourselves lest your hearts be weighed down with dissipation and drunkenness and the cares of this life, and that day come upon you suddenly like a snare; for it will come upon all who swell upon the face of the earth. But watch at all times, praying that you may have the strength to escape all these things that will take place and to stand before the Son of Man." ~ Luke 21: 34-36
Drunkenness is not currently my biggest temptation, but dissipation--the spending of my mind and time on empty pursuits--and the cares of this life--one translation mentions "daily anxieties"--are certainly things I must pray to escape. I cannot avoid them on my own. But the quiet and waiting of Advent are a gift given to provide us with the strength and peace we will need to stand before the Creator and Judge.
Advent in my heart is this singleness of purpose, the Virgin's purity: I wait only for One, the Son of Man. God alone inspires my longing. "I shall see him, but not now..."
And check out the Abbess at St. Walburga. She wrote a beautiful address to her dear sisters on just this theme. Thanks to the Anchoress!