Sunday, November 30, 2008

Advent Begins

Blessing for the Advent Wreath
(by laymen):
O God, by whose word all things are sanctified, pour forth thy blessing upon this wreath and grant that we who use it may prepare our hearts for the Coming of Christ, and may receive from thee abundant graces. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.

First Sunday and Week of Advent
Light the first purple candle

Stir up thy power, O Lord, and come, that by thy protection we may be rescued
from the dangers that beset us through our sins; and be a Redeemer to deliver us; who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
ever one God, world without end. Amen.

Alternate/Complementary Prayer:
O Emmanuel, Jesus Christ,
desire of every nation,
Savior of all peoples,
come and dwell among us.
(From Christmas Prayers, Victor Hoagland, C.P.)

Sunday's Scriptures:
Isaiah 63:16b-17: 19b; 64:2-7
I Cor. 1:3-9;
Psalm 80: 2-3, 15-16, 18-19
Mark 13:3-37

Scriptures for the First Week of Advent
(Is 2:1-5; Mt 8:5-11)

Dream a little. In a famous passage, Isaiah speaks of a time beyond war. How would a world at peace look to you? Spend a few minutes today quietly contemplating what it would take to achieve it. Then look for something small you can do to advance it in your corner of the world.

(Is 11:1-10; Luke 10:21-24)

Let a child lead you. Today's readings remind us that our Savior came to us not as a powerful king, but as a helpless infant. Think of how we prepare for the arrival of a baby: buying clothes, setting up the nursery, poring over name books. We wait this Advent for the child who will lead us. Are you preparing for Jesus' birth with the care it deserves?

(Is 25:6-10a; Mt 15:29-37)

Make a spiritual resolution. New Year's Day is still a month away, but this week begins a new year in the Church. We begin January full of resolutions to lose weight or save money. During this first week of Advent, do the same thing for your faith.

(Is 26:1-6; Mt 7:21, 24-27)

Pray for patience. The next time you become impatient during a wait, perhaps in traffic or the grocery store, think of people in developing countries who wait all day for a bus that never comes, and return the next day to wait again. Spend the rest of your wait praying for that kind of patience.

(Is 19:17-24; Mt 9:27-31)

Open your eyes. Physical blindness in Scripture is a metaphor for the spiritual blindness that afflicts us all. We too often overlook or ignore the needs of those around us, whether it's a homeless person or an ill co-worker. Reach out today to fulfill a need that you've neglected to see before.

(Is 30:19-21, 23-26; Mt 9:35; 10:1, 6-8)

Let Advent into your home. It's not too late to start an Advent observance. Create or buy an Advent wreath, Advent calendar or Jesse tree today. Let your creation remind you daily that we are waiting for Christ to come.

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