Four Facts About Advent

Advent Wreath

The liturgical season of Advent is a time of preparation for Christmas. Here are 4 facts about this four week long season.

1) First of all, it is rarely 4 full weeks long! Advent begins four Sundays before Christmas, and depending on what day of the week December 25th falls on, the season of Advent could be as short as 22 days!

2) The word advent in Latin means “coming.” It is a season to prepare for Christmas-when Christ’s first coming to us is remembered; AND it is a season to prepare for His second coming at the end of time.

3) The most common symbol for Advent is the Advent Wreath. The circle of evergreen represents everlasting life. The gradual lighting of the four candles, one on each Sunday of the Advent season, symbolizes Christ, “the Light that came into the world” to dispel the darkness of sin and to radiate the truth and love of God (cf. John 3:19-21).

Three candles are purple and one is rose. The purple candles symbolize the prayer and preparatory sacrifices and goods works undertaken at this time. The rose candle is lit on the third Sunday which is a time of rejoicing, because it is the midpoint of Advent, when preparation is now half over and Christmas is close.

4) Advent…A “Little Lent?”

Both Western and Eastern Churches used to observe Advent with the traditional Lenten practices of fasting, prayer and almsgiving. Giving alms to the poor and increasing our prayer life are still common today, but fasting has fallen by the wayside in the West, though the Eastern Orthodox and Easter Catholic churches continue to observe a strict Advent fast. This tradition of fasting is something to prayerfully reconsider undertaking.

An Advent Prayer: Dear God, be with us and guide us as we wait and prepare for the coming of your son-our savior Jesus. And may the light of His presence bring peace and joy to our hearts.

© Rose of Sharon

Into the Desert: A 40-day Summer Fast

A Peaceful Option for These Heated Times

Photo credit: Patrick Schneider – Unsplashed

Just what are we to do?  

“What are we supposed to do?” This question arose recently in a small group discussion with some of my family and friends. We had decided to get together (via an online meeting) to try and make sense of the unsettling things that have been happening in our country and beyond. As Christians, we pondered the classic question of what would Jesus do? We knew prayer was a definite answer. In addition to prayer, we also felt a need for action.

 And then someone brought up fasting.

Continue reading

A Happy Birthday (With Some Amazing Gifts!)

Pentacost

Happy Birthday Everyone!

OK, for the small percentage of people who are actually born today (May 31st) this happy birthday wish might make sense, but the rest of you might be wondering about this joyful greeting. Today we celebrate the feast of Pentecost, also known as the birthday of the Church – not the church building – but the people who are the Church.

Christ promised his disciples that he would send the Holy Spirit to help them after he ascended into heaven, and on Pentecost, the birthday of the Church, they were granted the gifts of the Holy Spirit. These “birthday gifts” from the Holy Spirit were pretty amazing! Continue reading

After This Our Exile

After This Our Exile
A Prayerful Reflection on the Pandemic

By guest blogger: J. M. Pridotkas

“This our exile…”

I learned the beautiful prayer “Hail, Holy Queen” as an adult, by hearing it prayed by others in prayer groups and on EWTN’s broadcast of the Rosary. I’ve always thought of it as referring to the state of our life here on earth before we see Jesus in heaven (“…show unto us the blessed fruit of thy womb Jesus…”). I see it in another light now because of the current COVID-19 pandemic. Continue reading

7 Tips for Reverently Viewing Mass from Home

Family prayingWe are in a time when we cannot go to our normal place of worship and celebrate the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass with the rest of our church community. Yet the third commandment tells us that we are to keep holy the sabbath day! It has been suggested that we watch Mass online or on TV. This is a wonderful opportunity for the domestic Church (which is the family) to delve deeper into the beauty of the Mass.

Below are suggested tips for reverently viewing Mass from home. Be sure to read them all well in advance and have the children help get things ready. Most all the tips are very kid-friendly, and they will truly enjoy the Mass much more if they help prepare! Continue reading

Prayer in the Time of the Coronavirus

 

Archdiocese of Galveston-Houston Prayer in the Time of Coronavirus:Jesus Stained Glass

 Comfort us, O Lord, for we are like your disciples on the storm-tossed seas, unsettled by what lies ahead. We turn to You, our Healer and Guide, to still our hearts in our time of need and hear our prayer:
Heal those who are sick with the coronavirus and protect the elderly and most vulnerable.
Give strength to all who tend to our health and wisdom to researchers who work toward a cure.
Open our eyes and hearts, as you did during Hurricane Harvey, that we may look beyond our immediate needs to care for others who need help.
Through the Holy Spirit, guide our leaders to make wise decisions for the welfare of all the people they serve.
Grant eternal rest to those who have died from the virus.
May Mary, Our Mother, who has heard our pleas in the storms of our lives,
intercede to her Son, that we may find healing and a prompt end to this illness.
Mary, Star of the Sea, pray for us.
Jesus Christ, Our Lord and Savior, heal us. Amen

https://www.archgh.org/resources/health-updates/spiritual-resources/

THE PERFECT LATTE – A Pre-Lenten Reflection

heart-latte“Mmm….just right!” your mouth tells you as you take a sip of the perfect latte, cappuccino, coffee, hot tea or whatever you start your day with. But if there’s too much sugar, not enough cream, or the temperature is too cold or too hot, it can throw a wrench in the works. You mumble & grumble and pour and stir until you get it just right. How do I know? Because I find myself scrupulously preparing my cup of morning brew! Continue reading