Welcome to our 2016 Advent Calendar.
Today is the First Sunday of Advent. Advent is the season four weeks before Christmas in which we prepare for the coming of Christ. The word Advent comes from the Latin word adventus, which means “coming”.
Advent is a time of waiting, conversion and of hope. Advent has a twofold character, for it is a time of preparation for the Solemnities of the Christmas season, in which the first coming of the Son of God to humanity is remembered, and likewise a time when, by remembrance of this, minds and hearts are led to look forward to Christ’s Second Coming at the end of time. For these two reasons Advent is a period of devout and expectant delight.
Readings for First Sunday of Advent
Is 2:1-5. Ps 121:1-2, 4-5, 6-9, R/ cf v 1. Rm 13:11-14. Mt 24:37-44. www.catholicbishops.ie/readings.
The Advent spirit of waiting and longing for the Lord reminds us of the daily call to holiness. We are to be found blameless when he comes, living lives of honesty and integrity. We are to avoid the temptations to escapism from the true meaning of life. The temptations come in many guises.
Audio: Advent Thought for the Day
Each day during Advent we will be bringing you an audio Thought for the Day on a different theme. Our first Thought for the Day is from Father Bryan Shortall OFM Cap. Father Bryan reflects on our Advent journey when we live with the promise that something good is about to happen.
Click on the link below to listen to our first Advent Thought for the Day.
The Words of Pope Francis
Pope Francis – Misericordia et Misera
Forgiveness is the most visible sign of the Father’s love, which Jesus sought to reveal by his entire life. Every page of the Gospel is marked by this imperative of a love that loves to the point of forgiveness. Even at the last moment of his earthly life, as he was being nailed to the cross, Jesus spoke words of forgiveness: “Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do” (Lk 23:34).
Pope Francis on Twitter
“As Christians, we are called to imitate the Good Shepherd and to help families experiencing difficulties.” – @Pontifex.
By our actions, our words, our prayer, our example of love, we can be credible, if imperfect, witnesses to Christ. ‘The Kingdom of God is now. This is the time for people to extend their hand and to take hold of their salvation.’ (SGN, 32)
The Advent Wreath
Placing four candles on green fronds has become a symbol of Advent in many Christian homes, especially in Germanic countries and in North America. The Advent wreath, with the progressive lighting of its four candles, Sunday after Sunday, until the Solemnity of Christmas, is a recollection of the various stages of salvation history prior to Christ’s coming and a symbol of the prophetic light gradually illuminating the long night prior to the rising of the Sun of justice (cf. Mal 3:20; Lk 1:78).
Video: Blessing of the Advent Wreath in the Home
This is a Blessing of the Advent Wreath in the home and it may be used when lighting the advent wreath for the first time in the home, and for the lighting of each of the Adcent candles. This was produced by the Council for Marriage and the Family of the Irish Bishops’ Conference. Click for video.
New Liturgical Year
Sunday 27 November 2016, the First Sunday of Advent, marks the beginning of a new liturgical year in the Church. Details of the new Liturgical Calendar for Ireland are available from the National Centre for Liturgy on www.liturgy-ireland.ie.
An Advent Prayer
Father, in the wilderness of the Jordan,
you sent a messenger to prepare people’s hearts
for the coming of your Son.
Help me to hear his words and repent of my sins,
so that I may clearly see the way to walk,
the truth to speak,
and the life to live for him,
Our Lord Jesus Christ.
Advent Book Recommendation – Fasting and Feasting
In Fasting And Feasting, Aidan Mathews, the Irish poet and playwright, deploys his inimitable prose style in a deeply personal and heartfelt consideration of the two most inspiring events in the Christian calendar: Christmas and Easter.
Comprising a series of radio scripts, broadcast at the two liturgical seasons over the last ten years, Fasting And Feasting is an urgent and earthy examination of key events in the Catholic tradition, as well as a profoundly moving account of the author’s own faith journey.
A seamlessly executed hybrid of confessional writing and shrewd scriptural analysis, Fasting and Feasting is a thought-provoking and necessary volume that takes a refreshing flesh-and-blood approach to its understanding of the Gospels and the core values of Christianity.
For more on this book see www.veritas.ie
One of the most familiar pieces of Advent music is O Come, O Come, Emmanuel which is a Christian hymn for Advent. It is most commonly known by its English title but is a translation of the original Latin Veni, Veni, Emmanuel.
There are so many versions of this hymn available that it is hard to choose just one, but below is a link to a very simple version of this beautiful Advent hymn.