Advent wreath

The Second Week of Advent: Prepare the Way of the Lord!

Advent 2022: A Season of Longing and Listening

The Second Week of Advent: Prepare the Way of the Lord!

 

The English word Advent comes from the Latin Adventus Domini, meaning the Coming of the Lord. Most of us understand this to mean Jesus’ presence with us at Christmas as we commemorate and celebrate his birth. The full meaning of Adventus Domini, however embraces Jesus’ birth some 2000 years ago; his presence with us today as well as his return at the end of time. Advent thus becomes a time of preparation not only for the celebration of Jesus’ birth 2000 years ago. It also is a time when we become more aware of Jesus’ presence in our lives today. And it is a time of  preparation for his Second Coming at the end of time.

As Christians we believe that Christ’s return in Glory will complete the Messianic Times. The Prophet Isaiah prophesied some 2700 years ago that this will be a time when “they shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks;” when “the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid;” when “there shall be no more ruin on all my holy Mountain;” when “the steppe and the parched land…will bloom with abundant flowers.”

During Advent we are invited to dream of Isaiah’s perfect world without diseases, disasters, and death; a world where all God’s children and all of creation exist together in perfect harmony. The Season of Advent also moves us to act and invites us to help in bringing about that harmonious world.

So, let’s sing Maranatha, Come, Lord Jesus with full voice and let’s act in ways that will hasten the arrival of that perfect and peaceful world.

 

What to do in the Domestic Church:

 

Advent Wreath

On the second Sunday of Advent, we light the second candle on the Advent wreath.

As I mentioned last week, 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.

 

A Blessing for the Lighting of the Second Candle

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

 

Leader:           Today we begin the second Week of Advent.

We 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 to lead us into his glorious light.

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

 

Leader:           You came as herald of the good tidings of God’s salvation:

                        Lord, come and save us.

All:                  Lord, come and save us.

 

Leader:           You come to bring forth in us

                        a rich harvest of justice and peace:

                        Lord, come and save us.

All:                  Lord, come and save us.

 

Priest:             You will come to bring to completion

                        the good work you have begun in us:

                        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 second candle of this wreath,

kindle within us the fire of your spirit,

that we may be light shining in darkness.

Enlighten us with your grace,

that we may welcome others as you have welcomed us.

We ask this through the same Christ our Lord

whose coming is certain and whose day draws near.

All:                  Amen.

 

The leader ends with the sign of the cross.

 

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

 

From the First Reading: Isaiah 11:1-3

On that day, a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom.
The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him:
a spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
a spirit of counsel and of strength,
a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD,
and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD.

 

From the Second Reading: Romans 15: 5-6

May the God of endurance and encouragement
grant you to think in harmony with one another,
in keeping with Christ Jesus,
that with one accord you may with one voice
glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

 

From the Gospel: Matthew 3:1-3

John the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea
and saying, "Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!"
It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said:
A voice of one crying out in the desert,
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.

 

The Advent Calendar

Last Sunday, having read my first Advent Aid, someone mentioned that behind the door for each day in their calendar they hide one of the figurines of their nativity. Each day they place one more figurine in their nativity scene ending on the 25th of December with the Christ child. Other calendars have a Bible verse hidden behind the little door or maybe a suggestion for a good deed.

Advent Calendars allow children and adults alike to keep up with the progression of Advent and countdown to Christmas as they open one little door each day.

 

This Week 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.

We will continue to livestream the 9:30am Sunday Eucharist.

 

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.

Sunday Vespers is Livestreamed.

 

Weekday Eucharist

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

 

Morning Prayer:

On Tuesday and Wednesday we gather in the Basilica Choir Stalls at 9:15am for the celebration of Morning Prayer. This is a simple but beautiful way to begin your day.

 

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. Please mark your calendars for Tuesday, December 13 at 5:30pm we will celebrate Taizé Prayer with the option to celebrate the Sacrament of Reconciliation.

 

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.

Also, every day of Advent and Christmas we have a Facebook post that highlights one of the nativities in my personal collection.

 

Concerts

This Saturday, December 3 at 2:00pm, Minnesota Sinfonia will bring their annual Family Holiday Concert to The Basilica. This concert is free and open to the public.

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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