The Advent Wreath is a great
tradition to implement in homes during the Advent Season. These prayers
accompany the lighting of the Advent Wreath candles. The prayers take just a
minute, but help us focus on dedicating ourselves to Christ during this season
Obscure in origin it is believed
that the Advent Wreath may have had its beginnings in the pagan fire wheel. In
Christian symbolism the wheel or wreath stands for eternity. Its use is
especially fitting during Advent the season of the anticipation of the coming
of our Lord.
Children love the beauty of the
simple traditional ceremony. Lighting candles in an Advent Wreath is a simple
way to start a tradition of family worship in the home. Those who participate
will cherish the experience all their lives.
The Advent Wreath Ceremony
The ceremony is simple. It starts at
the evening meal on the Saturday before the first Sunday in Advent with the
blessing of the wreath. (The head of the
household is the one designated to say the prayers following which various
members of his family light the candles. If the group is not a family then a
leader may be selected to say the prayers and others appointed to light the
For blessing the wreath the
following prayer is suggested:
Father: 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.
Then follows the prayer which is
said before the evening meal each night of the first week in Advent.
Father: O Lord, stir up Thy
might, we beg Thee, and come that by Thy protection we may deserve to be
rescued from the threatening dangers of our sins and saved by Thy deliverance.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen.
Each night the first purple candle
is lighted by the youngest child of the household and is left burning during
Father: O Lord, stir up our hearts that we may
prepare for Thy only begotten Son that through His coming we may be made worthy
to serve Thee with pure minds through Christ our Lord. Amen. (Then
the eldest child lights not only the first but a second purple candle. Both
candles burn during the evening meal as before.)
The joyful Sunday in Advent (known
as Gaudete) is represented by rose (or pink) instead of the penitential
purple color. Each night during the third week the mother of the family lights
the pink as well as the two previously burned purple candles after the
following prayer has been said.
Father: O Lord, we beg Thee incline Thy ear to our
prayers and enlighten the darkness of our minds by the grace of Thy visitation.
Through Christ our Lord. Amen. (The
three candles are extinguished immediately following the meal.)
The father of the household lights all four candles in
proper sequence during the fourth week after repeating the following prayer.
Father: O Lord, stir up Thy power, we pray Thee,
and come; and with great might help us, that with the help of Thy Grace, Thy
merciful forgiveness may hasten what our sins impede. Through Christ our Lord.
Amen. (Candles can be replaced as necessary during a particular Advent Season
without reblessing the wreath.)
Advent : For the Christmas Season which follows immediately after Advent,
candles and ribbons can be changed to white. If you wish, the wreath itself can
be freshened with new greens and decorated festively for use during the holiday
period. Lighting all four white candles to burn during the principal meal each
day of the Christmas Season is a customary and appropriate practice.
"Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom."
good thief met Jesus Christ on the "deathbed" of his cross and acted decisively with a choice for the Kingdom. We meet Christ in Word and Sacrament in the holy Mass which gives us the responsibility of also making a choice for or against Christ. There is no middle way.
And there will come a day when all kingdoms based on worldly power will cease and our choice will determine our destiny.
"Among the other things I said to him," recounted the arrested one "that whatever power there is represents violence against men, and that there will come a day in which there will not be any power of the Caesars, nor any other kind of power. Man will enter into a reign of truth and justice, where there will no more be need of any power."
In their religious behavior, however, men also display the limits and errors that disfigure the image of God in them: Very often, deceived by the Evil One, men have become vain in their reasonings, and have exchanged the truth of God for a lie, and served the creature rather than the Creator. Or else, living and dying in this world without God, they are exposed to ultimate despair.
-- CCC 844
What moves us to believe is not the fact that revealed truths appear as true and intelligible in the light of our natural reason: we believe "because of the authority of God himself who reveals them, who can neither deceive nor be deceived". So "that the submission of our faith might nevertheless be in accordance with reason, God willed that external proofs of his Revelation should be joined to the internal helps of the Holy Spirit." Thus the miracles of Christ and the saints, prophecies, the Church's growth and holiness, and her fruitfulness and stability "are the most certain signs of divine Revelation, adapted to the intelligence of all"; they are "motives of credibility" (motiva credibilitatis), which show that the assent of faith is "by no means a blind impulse of the mind".
-- CCC 156
Miguel Pro, S.J.: Viva Cristo Rey!
Martyrdom is the supreme witness given to the truth of the faith: it means bearing witness even unto death. The martyr bears witness to Christ who died and rose, to whom he is united by charity. He bears witness to the truth of the faith and of Christian doctrine. He endures death through an act of fortitude. "Let me become the food of the beasts, through whom it will be given me to reach God."
... like the sound of rushing water or a loud peal of thunder.
The sound I heard was like that of harpists playing their harps.
They were singing what seemed to be a new hymn before the throne,
before the four living creatures and the elders.
"The musical tradition of the universal Church is a treasure of inestimable value, greater even than that of any other art. The main reason for this pre-eminence is that, as a combination of sacred music and words, it forms a necessary or integral part of solemn liturgy." The composition and singing of inspired psalms, often accompanied by musical instruments, were already closely linked to the liturgical celebrations of the Old Covenant. The Church continues and develops this tradition: "Address . . . one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody to the Lord with all your heart." "He who sings prays twice."
He received all who came to him, and with complete assurance and without hindrance he proclaimed the Kingdom of God and taught about the Lord Jesus Christ.
-- Acts 28: 11-16, 30-31
Everything that happened during those Paschal days involves each of the apostles - and Peter in particular - in the building of the new era begun on Easter morning. As witnesses of the Risen One, they remain the foundation stones of his Church. The faith of the first community of believers is based on the witness of concrete men known to the Christians and for the most part still living among them. Peter and the Twelve are the primary "witnesses to his Resurrection", but they are not the only ones - Paul speaks clearly of more than five hundred persons to whom Jesus appeared on a single occasion and also of James and of all the apostles.
MCITL 10th Anniversary: The Catechism and Scriptures together in the Sunday homily
"The integration of elements of the Catechism of the Catholic Church with the readings from the Lectionary offers us an opportunity to demonstrate how the Word of God is able to animate our personal and communal life with Christ and, at the same time, articulate the Church’s faith that has been immeasurably enriched by the living tradition of twenty centuries."-- Archbishop Donald Wuerl, intervention at the Synod of Bishops on the Word of God