The day is at hand. (Rom. xiii. 12)
THIS word Day is to be taken in a four-fold sense. The Day is at hand. The day of mercy, the day of grace, the day of justice, and the day of glory. That Sun makes this a four-fold day, whose advent holy Church now celebrates. The day of mercy is the birth-day of the Lord, in which the Sun of Righteousness arises upon us ; or more truly, He Who made that day so glorious. The day of grace is the time of grace ; the day of justice is the day of judgment ; the day of glory is the day of eternity.
The Prophet Joel speaks of the first: In that day the mountains shall drop down new wine, and the hills shall flow with milk. (Joel iii. 18)
The Day of Mercy is at hand. This is the Day on which our Lord has pity and compassion upon us. This is the Day on which He brings the Forgiveness of sins to us from Heaven. The new wine that drops down from Heaven’s Mountain is the Word made flesh. This is God’s Word of Mercy made flesh. This is God’s Forgiveness of Sins made flesh. In Jesus Christ we are offered the weaker drink of milk in conversion. In Jesus Christ we are offered the strong and potent draught of wine through His Blood in sanctification. His milk will bring us to repentance. His wine will bring us into death, His death, in which we die to all else but Him. His wine will bring us into new life as He resurrects us from sin and death and infuses us with virtues that condition us for the Kingdom. The Day of Mercy is the Day of Christ’s birth long ago in human history and as what shall come to pass in us on Christmas Day as the History of Incarnation proceeds.
Concerning the second: Behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Cor. vi. 2)
The Day of Grace is at hand. The Grace of God comes to us as the Holy Spirit conceives, births, and perfects the Word made Flesh in us. The Holy Spirit will then work the Resurrected, Ascended, and Glorified Nature of Jesus Christ into our hearts and souls. The Grace of God brings salvation to us now as that for which we must yearn and desire first and foremost. If we place salvation as the end that alone can ensure the perfection of our natures and fulfill our deepest spiritual longing, salvation will begin to mold and fashion us through those motions by which the Holy Spirit works Christ’s redemption into our lives.
Of the third: The day of wrath, that day the day of tribulation. (Wisdom i…)
The Day of Justice or Righteousness is at hand. Wrath is a word used to indicate that we shall all be judged. The wrath and punishment of God is simply used here to signify the fact that all scores shall be settled and all men shall be judged. The righteous consider the Wrath of God as a blessing, for through it we fear God, repent, and intend to please Him with all of our lives. The wrath of God is merely a righteous anger and indignation that should inspire us to fight manfully against sin, death, and Satan. The wrath of God should be so shared with us through the Holy Spirit that we too become righteously indignant against the approach of sin. God will give to every man his due –to the righteous salvation and to the unrighteous damnation. The Christian sees it all as mercy since it reveals that God’s justice respects the integrity of created human nature by giving to each man what he has desired. Salvation cannot be forced. The Day of Justice is the Day of Judgment.
Concerning the fourth: But it shall be one day which shall be known to the Lord not day, nor night ; but it shall come to pass that at evening time it shall be light. (Zach. xiv. 7) One day in Thy Courts is better than a thousand. (Psalm cxxxiv. 10)
The Day of Glory is at hand. The Day of Glory is the Day of Eternity. Glory should not be postponed to the future Final Judgment. Glory should be embraced now as God’s Eternal Being is offered to us in the Body of Christ and the animating power of the Holy Spirit. In Jesus Christ we are reconciled to God the Father. In Jesus Christ the Holy Spirit brings alive all manner of virtue in our lives. As members of Christ’s New Body, we are being reconciled to God the Father if we submit and acquiesce to the motions of the Holy Spirit. This requires that we lose our lives in Christ in order to find them. As we begin to find our true identity and significance in Jesus Christ, let us embrace the Real Presence of His Glory. God’s Glory is that Eternal Weightiness or Heaviness that should envelop, embrace, and indwell our lives.
The birth-day of the Lord draws near, that devoutly the day of mercy may be celebrated and honoured; the day of grace that it may be received ; the day of judgment that it may be feared ; the day of glory that it may be attained. The Church celebrates the first: For the Lord is at hand. (Phil. iv. 5)
Let us prepare for the Day of Mercy by emptying ourselves so that Christ might be born in us
On account of the second: Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation. (2 Cor. vi. 2)
Let us prepare for the Day of Grace by seeing that it alone can ensure our future salvation and deliverance by transforming and sanctifying us here and now.
On account of the third: Behold the Judge standeth before the door. (James v. 9)
Let us prepare for the Day of Judgment by asking the Lord to judge, measure, weigh, and sift our thoughts, words, and desires beginning here and now so that what is sinful may be brought to death and what is righteous might be brought to life.
On account of the fourth: Behold I come quickly, and My reward is with Me to give to every man according as his work shall be. (Rev. xxii. 12)
We best remember that this earthly life passes quickly. Before we know it, we shall be dead. Let us approach our death sooner rather than later but awakening out of sleep, but being stirred up to repentance and amendment of life, but making ourselves ready for the Lord who comes to us quickly either in our earthly death or in His Heavenly Visitation. Amen
St. Michael and All Angels Sermons