Advent wreath

The First Week of Advent: Let us Walk in the Light of the Lord!

Advent 2022: A Season of Longing and Listening

The First Week of Advent: Let us Walk in the Light of the Lord!

 

Last Sunday, the liturgical year ended with the celebration of the Solemnity of Christ the King. During his homily given in the Cathedral of Asti, Italy, Pope Francis challenged the image of Jesus this solemnity evokes. Too often, he said we depict and imagine Christ as a worldly king, and “what comes to mind is a powerful man seated on a throne with magnificent insignia, a scepter in his hand and precious rings on his fingers, speaking in solemn tones to his subjects.” Yet, the truth about Jesus is that he was exactly the opposite. He was not born in a palace but rather in a stable or a cave. He was not born in Rome but rather in one of the poorest outskirts of the Roman Empire. He did not seek the company of princes but rather surrounded himself with sinners and the sick, widows and those wanting, fishermen and carpenters. And he surely never sat on an earthly throne or wore a crown made of gold. His throne was the cross on which he died. His crown was not made of gold but of thorns.

During Advent we meditate on this great mystery of God choosing to come to us not as a king but a baby born in a stable to a humble family so he might show us the true path to salvation. And that path did not involve thrones and crowns and scepters but rather a stable, a manger and a cross.

Advent is a time of deep listening to our most inner being; to one another, and above all to the voice of God. Advent is also a time of intense longing that world God imagined for us, free pf war and violence, suffering and pain. Listening and longing both require time and space, admittedly a challenge especially during Advent. Please allow yourself that much needed time and space to prepare for the Coming of our Lord.

 

What to do in the Domestic Church:

 

Advent Wreath

Today, many churches and homes are decorated with and advent wreath. The origin of the Advent wreath is unclear. There is evidence of a pre-Christian custom of decorating a wheel with candles, while prayers were offered for the wheel of the earth to turn so that light and warmth would reappear. Christians then adopted this ritual and began to use it in domestic settings during the Middle Ages.

The wheel itself, a circle with neither beginning nor end, signifies eternal life. The evergreens, too, represent eternal life, with holly implying immortality, cedar expressing strength and healing, laurel touting victory over suffer­ing, and pinecones or nuts lauding life and resurrection. The four candles that were added to the wreath over time represent the four weeks of Advent.

Since the use of the Advent wreath originated in the homes of Christians, we invite you to continue this custom. Advent wreaths can be easily constructed. The candle for each week is lit and blessed in the evening of the Saturdays or Sundays of Advent.

 

A Blessing for the Lighting of the First Candle

After someone in the family has lit the first candle on the Advent Wreath the prayer begins with the sign of the cross and continues.

Leader: Brothers and sisters,

               today we begin the season of Advent.

               Let us open our hearts to God’s love

               as we prepare to welcome Christ.

               The candles of this wreath remind us that

               Jesus Christ came to conquer the darkness of sin

               and lead us into his glorious light.

               Let us pray that we may always be ready to welcome him.

 

Leader: You came to turn the hearts of all to love of God and neighbor:

                 Lord, come and save us.

All:         Lord, come and save us.

 

Leader: You come to enrich us with gifts of grace and knowledge:

                 Lord, come and save us.

All:         Lord, come and save us.

 

Leader: You will come on a day we cannot know

                bringing redemption to all your faithful:

                 Lord, come and save us.

All:         Lord, come and save us.

 

Leader: Let us pray:

               Ever-living God,

               we praise you for your Son, Jesus Christ,

               whose advent we await.

               As we light the first candle of this wreath,

               rouse us from sleep that we may be ready to greet him

               when he comes with all the angels and saints.

               Enlighten us with your grace,

               and prepare our hearts to welcome him with joy.

               We ask this through the same Christ our Lord.

All:         Amen.

The leader ends with the sign of the cross.

 

A Quick Glance at the Readings for the First Sunday of Lent

From the First Reading: Isaiah 2:4

They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;
one nation shall not raise the sword against another,
nor shall they train for war again.

 

From the Second Reading: Romans 13: 12

The night is advanced, the day is at hand.

Let us then throw off the works of darkness
and put on the armor of light

 

From the Gospel: Matthew 24: 42

Stay awake!
For you do not know on which day your Lord will come.

 

The Advent Calendar

            Printed Advent calendars originated in Germany at the Beginning of the 20th C. It is believed that US soldiers who returned from Europe after the war brought them back for their children.

Advent Calendars allow children to keep up with the progression of Advent and countdown to Christmas as they open one little door each day. The better calendars have a Bible verse hidden behind the little door or maybe a suggestion for a good deed.

 

At The Basilica of Saint Mary

 

Sunday Eucharist

You will notice that the rituals are somewhat different and that the tone of the liturgy is one of deep longing for Christ’s presence in our midst. We celebrate Sunday Eucharist on Saturday at 5:00pm and on Sunday at 7:30am, 9:30am, 11:30am, and 5:00pm.

 

Weekday Eucharist

We celebrate Mass in the St. Joseph Chapel, Monday through Friday at 7:00am and at Noon.

 

Morning Prayer:

On Tuesday and Wednesday we gather in the Basilica Choir Stalls for the celebration of Morning Prayer. This is a simple but beautiful way to begin your day.

 

Sunday Vespers:

On Sundays we gather in the choir stalls at 3:00pm to celebrate Vespers. This form of prayer is perfect for the season as it begins with a silent procession in the dark, followed by a lighting of individual candles. We sing beautiful psalms, listen to Sacred Scripture, and pray for the needs of the world.  We end Vespers with a prayer to the Blessed Mother who is so central to the Seasons of Advent and Christmas.

 

The Sacrament of Reconciliation

A priest is available in the St. Joseph Chapel for the celebration of the Sacrament of Reconciliation each Saturday between 9:00-10:00am

 

Exhibits

As we advance in the Advent Season more and more of the creches or Nativity Scenes from our Basilica collection will be on exhibit in The Basilica and in the Undercroft.

 

Concerts in The Basilica

Several concerts have been scheduled for the second and third week of Advent. Look for more information on our website.

 

And please remember to be pace yourself

Advent is neither an endurance test nor a time to prove our Christian heroism. Rather, Advent is a time to slow down and ponder what is essential to our faith and thus to our life as Christians. So please pace yourselves. Give yourself and others the necessary space. And above all be patient.

 

 

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