Saturday, November 27, 2010

Advent Comes ... and With It Comes the New Church Year

Everybody knows, even those of us who have lived most unadventurously, what it is to plod on for miles, it seems, eagerly straining your eyes toward the lights that, somehow, mean home. How difficult it is, when you are doing that to judge distances! In pitch darkness, it might be a couple of miles to your destination, it might be a few hundred yards. So it was, I think, with the Hebrew prophets, as they looked forward to the redemption of their people. They could not have told you, within a hundred years, within five hundred years, when it was the deliverance would come. They only knew that, some time, the stock of David would burgeon anew; some time, a key would be found to fit the door of their prison house; some time, the light that only shows, now, like a will-o'-the-wisp on the horizon would broaden out, at last into the perfect day.

This attitude of expectation is one which the Church wants to encourage in us, her children, permanently. She sees it as an essential part of our Christian drill that we should still be looking forward; getting on for two thousand years, now, since the first Christmas Day came and went, and we must still be looking forward. So she encourages us, during advent, t take the shepherd-folk for our guides, and imagine ourselves traveling with them at dead of night, straining our eyes towards that chink of light which streams out, we know, from the cave at Bethlehem.
R.A. Knox, Sermon on Advent 1947
quoted in In Conversation with God, Vol. 1, Francis Fernandez
With Advent the liturgical year begins in the Western churches. Before Christmas we spend time in contemplation and preparation for the coming of Christ on three levels: as memorial of his incarnation as the babe in Bethlehem, to his coming with grace in our souls, and in looking forward to when he comes as the Judge at the end of time.

Those who celebrate Advent do so with various private devotions during this time. Some read a specific book to think about, some go to regular adoration, some try to avoid excessive focus on Christmas preparations, and such things. I am going to try to attend daily Mass several times a week. Among other things, such as continuing to read a chapter a day of Eric Sammons' Who is Jesus Christ? which I am finding to be a really terrific book.

Jen at Conversion Diary asked for ideas and has A Cornucopia of Ideas for Celebrating Advent for those considering a devotion.

Owen has a drawing in praise of nascent life which I like very much and which you may too.

Pope Benedict's Advent launching observance is perfect and one which Whispers in the Loggia summed up nicely: In Rome and across the Catholic world, at B16's behest tonight sees a first-of-its-kind observance: a global Vigil for All Nascent Human Life, which the pontiff marked at First Vespers in St Peter's and many local churches have planned special commemorations of on relatively short notice. He also has the Pope's prayer for life and some other good things listed there.

I like this Advent Litany which may be helpful as we school ourselves to wait in patience to wait for Our Lord and contemplate what that means.
Advent Litany

Lord Jesus, you are the light of the world.
Come, Lord Jesus.

You are light in our darkness.
Come, Lord Jesus.

Son of God, save us from our sins.
Come, Lord Jesus.

Son of Mary, deepen our love.
Come, Lord Jesus.

Bring hope into the lives of all people.
Come, Lord Jesus.

Give your peace to all nations.
Come, Lord Jesus.

Be the joy of all who love you.
Come, Lord Jesus.

Bring unity among all who believe in you.
Come, Lord Jesus.

Bless us as we gather here in your name.
Come, Lord Jesus.

Lord Jesus, stay with us always.
Come, Lord Jesus.

Let us pray:

May Christ give us his peace and joy,
and let us share them with others.
All peace and glory are his for ever.

Amen.

2 comments:

  1. I loved reading this quote in In Conversation with God. It really speaks to me.
    Happy Advent, Julie! Thanks for everything you do!

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  2. Tante Léonie11/28/10, 11:50 AM

    Thanks for this quote from Father Knox, one of my favorite writers.

    A blessed Advent season to you and your family.

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