5 Dec 2013

Advent Reflections and Resources


Our Lady of Advent
Sr Marie Paul PDDM

She explains: "I tried hard to turn the face of Jesus toward the face of Mary, to show Him thinking what His mother looks like but I was totally unable to turn his head to look up. So I gave up trying. The best I could do, to get closer to my idea from meditation was for Him to embrace the heart beating with love for him."
 

Today is the first Sunday of Advent in the year of Our Lord 2013, and we are still waiting. What are we waiting for, and why? The Lord has come; the Lord has redeemed us on the Cross; so why do we begin again this annual cycle of reading the Old Testament prophecies about the coming of the Messiah? Are we play-acting, pretending to wait for that which is already here? Of course not. We are doing two important things. First, we are entering into liturgical anamnesis — a remembrance which is more than a mere recalling of events. It would be more accurate to call it a participation in those events despite the distances of time and place that separate us from them. We are indeed awaiting our Saviour, and each of us knows that there are whole areas of our lives that need his redeeming touch. Second, we are telling the story of how we came to be, and story-telling, the narrative of our past, is an important part of our identity as Christians. It is how we make sense of the world and our part in it.

As we shall see, Advent divides into two unequal parts, each of them beautifully expressed by the two Prefaces of the Mass. The first Preface of Advent, used from today until 16 December, concentrates on Christ’s coming again in glory at the end of time, and the hope his promise brings:

‘ . . . he assumed at his first coming the lowliness of human flesh,
and so fulfilled the design you formed long ago,
and opened for us the way to eternal salvation,
that, when he comes again in glory and majesty
and all is at last made manifest,
we who watch for that day may inherit the great promise
in which now we dare to hope.’

That is how we begin Advent: with hope, watching and waiting for the day that will bring the realisation of all our hopes, and not ours only, but those of all the world.

May you have a blessed Advent.




Hark! a herald voice is calling:
'Christ is nigh,' it seems to say;
'Cast away the dreams of darkness,
O ye children of the day!'
 
Startled at the solemn warning,
Let the earth-bound soul arise;
Christ, her Sun, all sloth dispelling,
Shines upon the morning skies.

Lo! the Lamb, so long expected,
Comes with pardon down from heaven;
Let us haste, with tears of sorrow,
One and all to be forgiven;

So when next he comes with glory,
Wrapping all the earth in fear,
May he then as our defender
Of the clouds of heaven appear.

Honour, glory, virtue, merit,
To the Father and the Son,
With the co-eternal Spirit,
While unending ages run. Amen




Creator of the stars of night,
Thy people’s everlasting light,
Jesu, Redeemer, save us all,
And hear Thy servants when they call.



Catholic News Agency:
The Pope’s Sunday Angelus message for the start of Advent focused on the importance of hope during the liturgical season dedicated to preparing for Christmas.

“For the great human family it is necessary to renew always the common horizon toward which we are journeying. The horizon of hope! This is the horizon that makes a good journey,” Pope Francis said on Dec. 1 to the crowds in St. Peter’s Square.

“The time of Advent that we begin again today returns us to the horizon of hope, a hope that does not disappoint because it is founded on the Word of God. A hope that does not disappoint, simply because the Lord never disappoints! He is faithful!” the Pope emphasized.

The time of Advent that the Church celebrates in preparation for Christmas, explained the Pontiff, is “a new journey of the People of God with Jesus Christ, our Shepherd, who guides us in history towards the completion of the Kingdom of God.”

“Let us rediscover the beauty of being together along the way: the Church, with her vocation and mission, and the whole of humanity, the people, the civilizations, the cultures, all together on the paths of time.”

“But on the way to where?” queried Pope Francis.

In the Old Testament, the People of God journeyed toward Jerusalem where the temple of the Lord was, “because from there, from Jerusalem, came the revelation of the face of God and His law.”

At the fullness of time, however, “revelation found its fulfillment in Jesus Christ, and the ‘temple of the Lord’ became God himself, the Word made flesh.”

It is the Lord himself who guides our journey, the “pilgrimage of all of the People of God; and by its light even the other peoples can walk towards the Kingdom of justice, towards the Kingdom of peace.”

“What a great day it will be, when the weapons will be dismantled in order to be transformed into instruments of work!” the Pope reflected, noting the scripture passage from the prophet Isaiah which referred to such peace.

“And this is possible! We bet on hope, on the hope of peace, and it will be possible!” he exclaimed.

“The journey is never finished,” advised Pope Francis. “Just as in each of our own lives, there is always a need to restart, to rise again, to recover a sense of the goal of one’s own existence.”

Mary serves as a “model of this spiritual attitude, to this way of being and of journeying in life.”

Although she was just a “simple girl,” she “carried in her heart the hope of God,” explained the Holy Father.

“In her womb, the hope of God took flesh, became man, and made history: Jesus Christ.”

Mary’s song of praise in the Magnificat “is the canticle of the People of God on the journey, and of all men and women who hope in God, in the power of his mercy.”

“Let us be guided by her, she who is mother, she is a ‘mama’ and knows how to lead us. Let us be guided by her in this time of waiting and active vigilance.”


 With apologies for the delay in getting some links and resources up for Advent we have listed below some links that have caught our eye. Also during the next few days we will be doing a "Some web browsing" post which will have a section on individual articles from around the web on Advent.

Limerick Diocesan website resources here, here and here

Blue Eyed Ennis - Phil has a great round up of resources for the season of Advent but she is away until December 10th so make sure you read down through the blog posts as she advanced posted some amazing links for Advent including some of her own historic links.

Pope Francis - it is kind of hard to keep up with him but keep an eye on his daily homilies

iBenedictines - daily reflections

Godzdogz - English Dominican Students are doing daily reflections for Advent on the daily Mass readings

Ignatian Spirituality - an Advent examen

Jesuits of the Missouri Province - A 7 Day Advent Prayer Cycle

Keep an eye on Patheos.com and especially the Anchoress who has already provided this and this to reflect on.

Free ebook on Advent and Christmas

Our past posts from the SS102fm blog:

Advent - Reflections on what advent means to me

Advent - Reflections

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