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TODAY'S CATECHISM ON ADVENT


WE BEGIN OUR CATECHISM IN THE NAME OF THE FATHER AND OF THE SON AND OF THE HOLY SPIRIT,

AMEN


TOPIC: ADVENT

=> INTRODUCTION/DEFINITIONS

=> BRIEF HISTORY

=> ADVENT

=> SYMBOLISM OF ADVENT

=> TEN (10) THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ADVENT

=> CONCLUSION

=> REFERENCE


INTRODUCTION/DEFINITIONS

For many Christians unfamiliar with the liturgical year, there may be some confusion surrounding the meaning of the Advent season. Some people may know that the Advent season focuses on expectation and think that it serves as an anticipation of Christ’s birth in the season leading up to Christmas. This is part of the story, but there’s more to Advent.


Advent comes from the Latin word meaning "coming." Jesus is coming, and Advent is intended to be a season of preparation for His arrival. While we typically regard Advent as a joyous season, it is also intended to be a period of preparation, much like Lent. Prayer, penance and fasting are appropriate during this season.


BRIEF HISTORY

Scholars believe that during the 4th and 5th centuries in Spain and Gaul, Advent was a season of preparation for the baptism of new Christians at the January feast of Epiphany, the celebration of God’s incarnation represented by the visit of the Magi to the baby Jesus (Matthew 2:1), his baptism in the Jordan River by John the Baptist (John 1:29), and his first miracle at Cana (John 2:1). During this season of preparation, Christians would spend 40 days in penance, prayer, and fasting to prepare for this celebration; originally, there was little connection between Advent and Christmas.


By the 6th century, however, Roman Christians had tied Advent to the coming of Christ. But the “coming” they had in mind was not Christ’s first coming in the manger in Bethlehem, but his second coming in the clouds as the judge of the world. It was not until the Middle Ages that the Advent season was explicitly linked to Christ’s first coming at Christmas.


ADVENT


Advent is not as strict as Lent, and there are no rules for fasting, but it is meant to be a period of self-preparation. The purple color associated with Advent is also the color of penance. The faithful should fast during the first two weeks in particular and receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation.


The color of the Third Sunday of Advent is rose. This color symbolizes joy and represents the happiness we will experience when Jesus comes again. The Third Sunday is a day of anticipatory celebration. It is formerly called "Gaudete" Sunday; gaudete means "rejoice" in Latin.


The season of Advent lasts for four Sundays leading up to Christmas. At that time, the new Christian year begins with the twelve-day celebration of Christmastide, which lasts from Christmas Eve until Epiphany on January 6. Advent begins on Sunday that falls between November 27th and December 3rd each year)


SYMBOLISM OF ADVENT


Advent symbolizes the present situation of the church in these “last days” (Acts 2:17, Hebrews 1:2), as God’s people wait for the return of Christ in glory to consummate his eternal kingdom. The church is in a similar situation to Israel at the end of the Old Testament: in exile, waiting and hoping in prayerful expectation for the coming of the Messiah. Israel looked back to God’s past gracious actions on their behalf in leading them out of Egypt in the Exodus, and on this basis, they called for God once again to act for them. In the same way, the church, during Advent, looks back upon Christ’s coming in celebration while at the same time looking forward in eager anticipation to the coming of Christ’s kingdom when he returns for his people. In this light, the Advent hymn “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” perfectly represents the church’s cry during the Advent season:


"O come, O come, Emmanuel,

And ransom captive Israel,

That mourns in lonely exile here

Until the Son of God appears.

Rejoice! Rejoice!

Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel."


While Israel would have sung the song in expectation of Christ’s first coming, the church now sings the song in commemoration of that first coming and in expectation of the second coming in the future.


* TEN (10) THINGS YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT ADVENT


1. What Is the Purpose of Advent?


Advent is a season on the Church's liturgical calendar--specifically, it is as season on the calendar of the Latin Church, which is the largest Church in communion with the pope.

Other Catholic Churches--as well as many non-Catholic churches--have their own celebration of Advent.


According to the General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar:

Advent has a twofold character:

as a season to prepare for Christmas when Christ's first coming to us is remembered;

as a season when that remembrance directs the mind and heart to await Christ's Second Coming at the end of time.

Advent is thus a period for devout and joyful expectation [Norms 39].


We tend to think of Advent only as the season in which we prepare for Christmas, or the First Coming of Christ, but as the General Norms point out, it is important that we also remember it as a celebration in which we look forward to the Second Coming of Christ.

Properly speaking, Advent is a season that brings to mind the Two Comings of Christ.


2. What Liturgical Colors Are Used in Advent?


Particular days and certain types of celebrations can have their own colors (e.g., red for martyrs, black or white at funerals), but the normal color for Advent is violet. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal provides:

The color violet or purple is used in Advent and Lent. It may also be worn in Offices and Masses for the Dead [346d].


In many places, there is a notable exception for the Third Sunday of Advent, known as

Gaudete Sunday:

The color rose may be used, where it is the practice, on Gaudete Sunday (Third Sunday of Advent) and on Laetare Sunday (Fourth Sunday of Lent) [GIRM 346f].


3. Is Advent a Penitential Season?


We often think of Advent as a penitential season because the liturgical color for Advent is violet, like the color of Lent, which is a penitential season.


However, in reality, Advent is not a penitential season. Surprise!

According to the Code of Canon Law:

Can. 1250 The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent.


Although local authorities can establish additional penitential days, this is a complete listing of the penitential days and times of the Latin Church as a whole, and Advent is not one of them.


4. When Does Advent Begin and End?


According to the General Norms:

Advent begins with evening prayer I of the Sunday falling on or closest to 30 November and ends before evening prayer I of Christmas [Norms 40].


This means that Advent begins on the evening of a Saturday falling between November 26 and December 2 (inclusive), and it ends on the evening of December 24th, which holds Evening Prayer I of Christmas (December 25th).


5. What Is the Role of Sundays in Advent?


There are four Sundays of Advent. The General Norms state:

The Sundays of this season are named the First, Second, Third, and Fourth Sundays of Advent [Norms 41].


We have already mentioned that the Third Sunday of Advent has a special name--

Gaudete Sunday. Gaudete is the Latin word for "Rejoice," which is the first word of the introit of the Mass for this day.

The Church ascribes particular importance to these Sundays, and they take precedence over other liturgical celebrations.


6. What Happens on Weekdays in Advent?


It is especially recommended that homilies be given on the weekdays of Advent. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal (GIRM) states:


On Sundays and Holydays of Obligation there is to be a Homily at every Mass that is celebrated with the people attending and it may not be omitted without a grave reason. On other days it is recommended, especially on the weekdays of Advent , Lent and Easter Time, as well as on other festive days and occasions when the people come to church in greater numbers [GIRM 66].


The General Norms also point out a special role for the weekdays of the week preceding Christmas:

The weekdays from 17 December to 24 December inclusive serve to prepare more directly for the Lord's birth [Norms 41].


This special role is illustrated, for example, by the Scripture readings used in the liturgy on these days.


7. How Are Churches Decorated During Advent?


The General Instruction of the Roman Missal notes:


During Advent the floral decoration of the altar should be marked by a moderation suited to the character of this time of year, without expressing in anticipation the full joy of the Nativity of the Lord. During Lent it is forbidden for the altar to be decorated with flowers. Exceptions, however, are

Laetare Sunday (Fourth Sunday of Lent), Solemnities, and Feasts [GIRM 305].


8. How Is Music Performed During Advent?


The General Instruction of the Roman Missal notes:


In Advent the use of the organ and other musical instruments should be marked by a moderation suited to the character of this time of year, without expressing in anticipation the full joy of the Nativity of the Lord. In Lent the playing of the organ and musical instruments is allowed only in order to support the singing. Exceptions, however, are Laetare Sunday (Fourth Sunday of Lent), Solemnities, and Feasts [GIRM 313].


9. Is the Gloria Said or Sung During Advent?


Neither. The General Instruction of the Roman Missal provides:

[The Gloria or "Glory to God in the highest"] is sung or said on Sundays outside Advent and Lent, and also on Solemnities and Feasts, and at particular celebrations of a more solemn character [GIRM 53].


10. What Private Devotions Can We Use to Grow Closer to God During Advent?


There are a variety of private devotions that the Church has recognized for use during Advent. The most famous is the Advent Wreath.


CONCLUSION

Christian theology also contains a belief that at the end of days, Jesus will return to set things right in the world, erasing death and suffering — a concept usually called the Second Coming. So in addition to being about the anticipation of Jesus’s birth (the first coming), Advent is also set aside as a time of quietness and austerity, meant to keep Christians from glossing over the brokenness of the world and to encourage the second coming.


REFERENCE


=> The Holy Bible


=> Catechism of the Catholic Church (CCC)





We have come to a conclusion on the topic ADVENT.

Thanks for your participation, support and contributions. May the God in his infinite mercy continue to be bless and grant you more understanding of his words; in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.

Amen


PLEASE WE ARE ENCOURAGE TO CONTRIBUTE AND ASK QUESTIONS IN REGARDS TO THIS GREAT TOPIC.


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