What Is Advent

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RCIA presentation on the topic of Advent [converted to PDF format]

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What Is Advent

  1. 1. What is Advent?
  2. 2. Opening Prayer • Canticle of Zechariah (Lk 1:68-79)
  3. 3. Overview • Liturgy, Cycles and Seasons • Season of Advent • Origin of Advent • Preparing for the Messiah • How Advent is Celebrated
  4. 4. What is Liturgy? • From the Greek “leitourgia,” which means, “public work” or a “service in the name of/on behalf of the people” • In Judeo-Christian usage, it means “the participation of the People of God in the work of God” – Lk 1:23 - Zechariah goes home when “the days of his liturgy” (Gk “leitourgias”) are over
  5. 5. Liturgical Seasons • Daily liturgy: Liturgy of the Hours, Daily Mass • Weekly liturgy: all Fridays are “days of Penance”; every Sunday we celebrate the “Lord‟s Day,” Christ‟s Resurrection • Annual Liturgy: memorials, feasts, solemnities and seasons
  6. 6. Liturgical Seasons • Antiquity of liturgical colors – White used until 4th cent., other colors introduced soon afterwards – Innocent III (d. 1216) among the first to emphasize a distinction • Symbolism of liturgical colors – Purple – penitential character – Rose - rejoicing – White – festive symbol of light, innocence, purity – Green – color of plant/trees, represents hope of life eternal – Red – symbol of fire & blood; indicates burning charity and the martyrs‟ generous sacrifice
  7. 7. Season of Advent • From Latin “adventus,” a coming, approach, arrival • Lasts approx. 4 weeks, from the first Sunday nearest the feast of St. Andrew (30 November) until Christmas • Church‟s Liturgical “New Year” – The Lectionary for Mass, which cycles through three liturgical years (A, B, and C), changes to a new year at Advent – In Cycle A we read the Gospel of Matthew. In Cycle B we read the Gospel of Mark. In Cycle C we read the gospel of Luke – The Gospel of John focuses on the risen life of Christ, so it is read primarily during the Lent/Easter and Advent/Christmas seasons.
  8. 8. Origin of Advent • No evidence before end of the 4th cent., after the Feast of the Nativity was celebrated throughout the Church • Synod of Saragossa in AD 380 – Pre-Epiphany preparatory period mentioned • 5th cent. - homilies entitled “In Adventu Domini” • 6th cent. – homilies describing pre-Nativity preparations
  9. 9. Origin of Advent • 6th-7th cent. – St. Gregory the Great‟s homilies discuss Advent • 8th cent. Gelasian Sacramentary notes five Sundays for the season • 8th cent. – Greek Church observes pre-Nativity fast • 11th cent. - St. Gregory VII reduced Advent to four Sundays
  10. 10. Preparing for the Messiah • What does the Catechism mean by the following statements… – “The coming of God's Son to earth is an event of such immensity that God willed to prepare for it over centuries.” – “He announces him through the mouths of the prophets who succeeded one another in Israel. Moreover, he awakens in the hearts of the pagans a dim expectation of this coming.”
  11. 11. Preparing for the Messiah – “St. John the Baptist is the Lord's immediate precursor or forerunner, sent to prepare his way.” – “ „Prophet of the Most High‟, John surpasses all the prophets, of whom he is the last. He inaugurates the Gospel, already from his mother's womb welcomes the coming of Christ,… whom he [later] points out as „the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world‟.”
  12. 12. Preparing for the Messiah – When the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah – By sharing in the long preparation for the Savior's first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming. – By celebrating the precursor's birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his desire: He must increase, but I must decrease.
  13. 13. How Advent is Celebrated • "Each Gospel reading has a distinctive theme: the Lord's coming at the end of time (First Sunday of Advent), John the Baptist (Second and Third Sunday), and the events that prepared immediately for the Lord's birth (Fourth Sunday). The Old Testament readings are prophecies about the Messiah and the Messianic age, especially from the Book of Isaiah. The readings from an Apostle contain exhortations and proclamations, in keeping with the different themes of Advent." (Lectionary for Mass, "Introduction," chap. 5, par. 93)
  14. 14. How Advent is Celebrated • Advent is characterized by a penitential character (e.g. purple color) and joyful character (e.g. rose color) • “…each one, at a time known to God alone, will be called to account for his life. This involves a proper detachment from earthly goods, sincere repentance for one's errors, active charity to one's neighbour and above all a humble and confident entrustment to the hands of God, our tender and merciful Father.” - Pope Benedict XVI Angelus, 30 Nov 2008
  15. 15. How Advent is Celebrated • Gaudete Sunday – third Sunday of Advent – Gaudete is Latin for “Rejoice” – Break from the penitential character of the season – St. Paul teaches: "Rejoice in the Lord always.... The Lord is near" (Phil 4: 4-5). – Advent is a season of rejoicing because it revives the expectation of the most joyful event in history: the birth of the Son of God by the Virgin Mary – "Hail, full of grace, the Lord is with you!" (Lk 1: 28) - the angel's announcement to Mary is an invitation to rejoice
  16. 16. How Advent is Celebrated • Advent Wreath – Band or circle of green foliage surrounding four candles – Used in prayer - candles lit successively in the four weeks of Advent – Circular wreath represents God‟s eternity – Often present in the parish and at home – Four candles represent each Sunday of Advent • Three purple candles - the color of penitence and fasting as well as the color of royalty to welcome the Advent of the King • One rose candle – reflects a lessening emphasis on penitence and more toward rejoicing at the nearness of Christ
  17. 17. How Advent is Celebrated • Jesse Tree – Named for the father of David – Tree decorated gradually throughout Advent with symbols or pictures of biblical persons – Depicts the gradual coming of the Messiah • Advent Calendars – Use of stickers or opening a window each day during Advent to reveal a special picture, theme, Bible text, etc.
  18. 18. Questions?
  19. 19. Question • Why did God choose to send his son as an infant? – “[There was a] decisive moment at which God knocked at Mary's heart and, having received her "yes", began to take flesh, in her and from her.”1 – “In the Grotto of Bethlehem God shows himself to us as a humble "infant" to defeat our arrogance. Perhaps we would have submitted more easily to power and wisdom, but he does not want us to submit; rather, he appeals to our hearts and to our free decision to accept his love. He made himself tiny to set us free from that human claim to grandeur that results from pride. He became flesh freely in order to set us truly free, free to love him.” 2 - Pope Benedict XVI

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