I will salvage something from the Advent and Christmas sermons of St. Robert Bellarmine, which I announced just the other day will not be out this year, due to focusing on his other works. What follows is his sermon from the first Sunday of Advent, posted today to give place to the celebration of St. Andrew yesterday (as well as that I would rather not post on Sunday). NB: When he says briefly in the first line, that is to be taken in a 16th century sense of “brief”.
Sermon on the Epistle for the First Sunday of Advent
Given at the university of Louvain, 1571 (to the students)
Concio II (Opera Omnia)
St. Robert Bellarmine,
Doctor of the Church
Translated by Ryan Grant (see creative commons license for all questions about copying and citing)
Now is the hour we rise from sleep: now indeed, our salvation is nearer than when we believed. -Rom. XIII.
We will briefly explicate this beginning of today’s Epistle, by the Lord’s help: that which, in fact, is lead into one end according to the sense of the Apostle, but is adduced to another end by the Church; to be sure it has been proposed and also fittingly established. But what was proposed by Bl. Paul when he wrote, “Now is the hour we rise from sleep: now indeed, our salvation is nearer than when we believed”? The blessed Apostle wrote to the Romans, and also wished to wake them from the sleep of sin and from negligence, but he uses two arguments to carry this out, the second of which is from a due season; the other was taken up from the proximity of the end. How, indeed, if we should wish to wake someone, wouldn’t we say to him, “Hey you! Wake up!, it is time. For the dawn appears.” But what if he should be such a man from that lot which does not care much whether dawn should appear, but rather gladly sleeps until noon, then wouldn’t we say to him: “Hey you! Get up! The time is at hand to carry out a great business – namely lunch.” The Apostle Paul first exhorts the Romans in the same manner, that they should rise, because it is the hour of rising, for “Night has passed, and moreover, day approaches.” Therefore, because the time of that great meal, which is made in heaven, is near,: “Now indeed, is our salvation nearer, than when we believed.