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St Cuthbert: Feast Day – 20 March

“Gratitude is the Paschal Candle in

the Cathedral of the Soul.” — Fr. Joseph Martin

March 21, 2018

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Blessings of the Advent

November 27, 2017

 

Advent is the liturgical time that precedes Christmas. It is undeniable of the period of Angelical Blessings.

 

In the silence of a midwinter dusk, there is a sound so faint that for all you can tell it may be only the sound of the silence itself. You hold your breath to listen. You are aware of the beating of your heart. The extraordinary thing that is about to happen is matched only by the extraordinary moment just before it happens. Advent is the name of that moment.

Frederick Buechner

 

It is four weeks in which we are invited to expect the coming of the Christ.

So, it is a time of preparation, of blessings and joyful waiting for renewing of Christ’s promises for Mankind.

 

The term Advent is derived from the Latin etymology Adventum which means “The arrival” or “the coming.” In some cases, advent can also mean the creation of something.

 

I don't think we'll understand Advent correctly until we see it as a preparation for a revolution.

Robert Barron

 

Advent as a period mentioned in the religious calendar, it is a time of joy for Christians, characterized by the preparation for the birth of Jesus. It is for this reason that today the advent period is defined by the four weeks before Christmas Eve, starting on the latest Sunday of November, going through December 24.

 

This liturgical period evokes the double coming of Jesus Christ: the first which occurred in Bethlehem, when He came into the world, and the last one which, according to tradition, it will happen in His return on the Day of Last Judgment. That is why the characteristic of this time, with which the ecclesiastical year begins, is purification as preparation to receive the One who is to come and to accept the return of the Light of the World. The penitential character of the advent is accentuated by the liturgical color, which is purple.

 

According to the Bible, the Archangel Gabriel appeared to Mary in a vision, saying that soon she would give birth to a child, the son of God who would come to bring light back to the world. This time of gestation and waiting is characterized to us today as the advent.

 

Advent is the season of the secret, the secret of the growth of Christ, of divine love growing in silence…For nine months, Christ grew in his mother's body. By his own will, she formed him from herself, from the simplicity of her daily life.

Caryll Houselander

 

 

 

 The Advent Wreath

 

The advent's crown is a Wreath made of spruce branches, with four candles (lights), which light up one after another on the four Sundays of Advent. This custom is relatively recent, dating back perhaps to the nineteenth century, and which spread after the World War I.

 

The Advent Wreath is full of symbolism. Its circular form represents the realms of eternity, and its color refers to hope and life. In many Wreaths, there is a red ribbon, which symbolizes God's love for humanity and the love of people who await the birth of Jesus, and his return to our world.

 

The four crown candles represent each of the four weeks, and they are lit during each Advent Sunday.

 

Origin of the Wreath

 

The Advent Wreath has its origin in Europe. In winter, the barbarous inhabitants of the land lit some candles that represented the light of the Sun. Thus they affirmed their hope that the light and heat of the Star-king would shine upon them again and warm them. With the desire to evangelize those souls, the first Catholic missionaries who arrived there wanted, from the customs of the earth, to teach them the Faith and to lead them to Jesus Christ. This is how they created the "crown of advent," full of symbols, teachings and life lessons.

 

The Advent Wreath ‘s circular shape

 

The circle has no beginning, and it has no end. It is interpreted as a sign of the love of God that is eternal, unconditional and everlasting: without start and without end. The circle also symbolizes man's love for God and service and love for our neighbor that should never come to an end, or be over. The ring still carries the idea of a "bond of union" connecting God and people, as a great "Covenant."

 

 

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