Peter of Blois and the three advents of Christ

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     As Advent is both the anticipation of both the Nativity of Jesus and the second coming of Christ, sometimes an obvious point to overlook is that the Nativity is an event that has already occurred. Does that mean our Advent is simply a remembrance of Jesus’s “birthday” and a reminder of his return? Is it an Advent of the past and future? Is it simply that Christ has come in the past and will come in the future? Here is Peter of Blois eloquently written sermon on that topic:

Peter of Blois or Petrus  Blesensis  Archdeacon in England (c. 1135 – c. 1211) was a French poet and diplomat who wrote in Latin. Peter studied law in Bologna and theology in Paris.

Sermon 3 for Advent

The three advents of Christ

“There are three advents of the Lord: the first in the flesh, the second in
the soul, the third at the judgement. The first took place at midnight
according to these words of the Gospel: “At midnight a cry was heard: The
Bridegroom is here!” (Mt 25,6). This first advent has already happened
since Christ has been seen on earth and has spoken with men (Bar 3,38).Now
we are in the second advent, provided we are such that he can thus come to
us, since he said that, if we love him, he will come to us and make his
home in us (Jn 14,23). This second advent is therefore something mingled
with uncertainty, since who other but the Holy Spirit knows who is God’s?
(1Cor 2,11). Those whose longing for heavenly things transports them out of
themselves know well when he comes; however, they “do not know where he
comes from or where he is going” (Jn 3,8).As for the third advent: it is
most certain that it will happen, most uncertain when it will happen. For
there is nothing more certain than death, nothing less certain than the day
of our death. “It is when people are saying: ‘peace and security’ that
death comes upon them suddenly like labor pains upon a pregnant woman, and
none will be able to escape it” (cf. 1Thes 5,3). Thus the first advent was
lowly and hidden; the second is mysterious and full of love; the third will
be dazzling and terrible. In his first advent Christ was judged unjustly by
men; in the second, he grants us justice by his grace; in the last, he will
judge all things with equity: Lamb in the first advent; Lion in the last;
our most gentle Friend in the second.”

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