On the First Sunday of Advent, we light the first candle, traditionally called the Candle of Hope to remember to hopefully look for the coming of Christ.
The virtue of hope originates from God through the grace of faith. It draws the Christian towards God, providing him or her with hope in God and eternal life (Catechism 1812, 1840).
God’s holy presence in a person’s soul caused by sanctifying grace is like a lit candle that we need armor to protect from getting blown out.
E.g. there is the story of the frog and the scorpion, where a scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the scorpion asks the frog to carry him across on its back. The frog asks, “How do I know you won’t sting me?” The scorpion says, “Because if I do, I will die too because we will both drown.” The frog is satisfied, and they set out, but in midstream, the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of paralysis and starts to sink, knowing they both will drown, but the frog has just enough time to gasp “Why did you sting me,” The scorpion replied: “It’s my nature to sting…”
No person can be the sufficient cause of another’s spiritual death, because no man dies spiritually except by sinning of his own will—ST. THOMAS AQUINAS ST, I-II, Q. 73, ART. 8
Nevertheless, we need protection from ourselves and from bad company. Our Second Reading says: “Put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the desires of the flesh” to protect yourself from sinful desires of the flesh. They are false hopes. They will sting you.
According to our Second Reading, chastity precedes and is parallel to faith.
The reference to the armor of light, from Romans 13:12, of day, acknowledges that forces of nighttime still exert pressure.
Arm ourselves by taking on acts of kindness and generosity, with no rivalry and jealously.
The Second Reading also said, Make no provision for the sinful desires of the flesh. This is the verse that led to St. Augustine’s conversion.
Isaiah’s words in our First Reading speak hope-filled sound into desolate silence to remind us: how we live today is determined not by the circumstances that surround us, but by what we believe about the future. And sometimes, to gather that belief that flies in the face of current reality and defies all logic, we must listen care¬ fully—pay attention—for sounds of hope, even faint, all around us.
During hardships, the Christian maintains hope. “Rejoice in hope, be patient in suffering, persevere in prayer,” says Romans 12:12.