A fancy book cover with a catchy title isn’t always needed to grab a person’s attention in Advent season. In fact, perhaps the simpler, smaller books reveal a hidden treasure that isn’t visible to most.
At first glance, Father Richard N. Fragomeni’s tiny tome of Advent and Christmas reflections seems so unassuming that one would be inclined to overlook it. But the navy-blue cover with a simple star of Bethlehem hovering above the title, “Let Us Adore Him: Daily Reflections for Advent and Christmas,” captures exactly what it means to seek Christ and give Him due homage. He is, after all, the light of the world, the Word incarnate. What could be more apt than allowing all ostentatious pretention to fall by the wayside in order to welcome the one born into poverty, that we might imitate His poverty of spirit?
Father Fragomeni’s angle, in the book, is to take the daily Communion Antiphon, either recited or sung during Advent Masses, and base a thoughtful reflection on it, concluding with a rhetorical question for further prayer and contemplation. What better way to adore Jesus and discover His love for us than to ponder the Communion Antiphon, especially after receiving Him in the Eucharist?
A glimpse from the book’s brief introduction paves the way for the reader to engage in intimate conversation and deepen his love for the Christ-Child with this excerpt: “Nothing will ever satisfy us but the love of God. Nothing will ever tame the restlessness of our desire except the joy of heart that comes with living in God’s light and sharing that light with the world.”
The author understands well the modern struggle most people face and attempt to fight against: the chaos of busyness, distractions, stress and worry. Each reflection invites the reader to enter the sanctuary of his heart and set aside that sacred space of solitude to truly prepare for Jesus to be born anew this Christmas.
In fact, Father Fragomeni doesn’t conclude the book with the Fourth Sunday of Advent. Instead, he segues from Communion Antiphons to the grand finale of O Antiphons leading up to Christmas Day, and then continues through the feast of the Baptism of Jesus. What’s equally beautiful is that he includes solemnities and feast days always celebrated during Advent, such as the feast of St. Nicholas, the Immaculate Conception and Our Lady of Guadalupe.
Endearing and heartwarming stories are peppered throughout the book, in order to make relevant both Scripture and the rich traditions celebrated this time of year. On Christmas Day, the author concludes his reflection with, “Christmas is an opportunity for us to rejoice in the Word becoming flesh, to savor this wonderful mystery with all our senses, so that in turn we can go out and be seen and heard and touched and scented and tasted as the living Christ this Christmastime and each day of the new year.”
Father Fragomeni encourages the reader not only to learn more about Jesus, but to embrace His love in such a way that one becomes love incarnate. True union with God doesn’t happen during one Advent season. But the Church, in its wisdom, knew that it can be helpful during this time to step away from hectic lives and continue to reach for Jesus in a new, holy way.
Advent is that time in which love for Jesus necessarily deepens. And that love is compounded day by day, throughout the year, when His faithful continue to dialogue with Him in tender conversation that draws them away from self and inward to where He dwells. “Let Us Adore Him” will draw the reader to that place within, where there may be longing for a Savior to deliver us from sin, fear, worry and suffering.
The reader might consider praying with Our Lady the heartfelt words written by Father Fragomeni on the final pages of his book, that she would help increase our love for God this Advent season: “Star of the new evangelization, help us to bear radiant witness to communion, service, ardent and generous faith, justice and love of the poor, that the joy of the Gospel may reach to the ends of the earth, illuminating even the fringes of our world.”
“Let Us Adore Him: Daily Reflections for Advent and Christmas,” by Father Richard N. Fragomeni (Franciscan Media, 2014) 112 pp., $3.99
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