Tag Archives: Advent

Our Advent observance

The scriptures tell us that there is a time and season for everything, for each particular event. There is a time of preparing for Christmas, and that is Advent, and then there is a time for Christmas itself. There is no doubt in my mind that the more serious we are about our personal Advent journey, the greater the joy we shall reap during our Christmas celebration.

It is a good practice to make concrete plans on how best to keep our Advent observance. Often, if no plans are made in advance, much of Advent goes unnoticed and wasted. Since Advent is basically a quiet time of waiting for the arrival of the Light at Christmas, it is good to start by trying to become more internally quiet during this rather brief season.

Above all, we must make the most of these moments of stillness by remaining calm, silent, and spending quality time with the Lord. The words from one of the psalms counsel us: Be still, and know that I am God. Monks always strive to preserve a more quiet recollected spirit during these lovely Advent days and thus enjoy the Lord’s intimate company.

There is no reason why others, in a monastery or elsewhere, could not do the same wherever they are. It is a question of resolving to do so and making the effort. The Holy Spirit will do the rest. Come, Holy Spirit.

A Monastery Journey To Christmas
Br. Victor-Antoine D’Avila-Latourrette, OSB

Preparing for the Messiah: patiently waiting in Advent

During these blessed Advent days, we, too, are called to imitate the Israelites by cultivating an attitude of strong hope, patiently waiting as they did, for the arrival of the expected Messiah. The reading and prayers in the liturgy, especially the psalms, encourage us to “relive” Israel’s eager waiting for the Savior, and to do this in peace and joyful expectation. From the depths of our being we pray for Emanuel to come be with us and to save us.

Through our Christian faith we know that the Messiah, the Christ, has already come once and that he will come again, a second time, at the end of time. It is not a coincidence that today both pious Jews and fervent Christians are still awaiting his coming. Indeed we both have much in common. We are both waiting for the same Person!

When he comes, his coming shall be a first time for the Jewish people and second time for the Christians. However, for both Jews and Christians, in fact for all people, this shall be his last and final coming. Thus is our Advent hope and why we find great consolation in our common waiting. Veni, Emmanuel!” Come, Emmanuel!

Br. Victor-Antoine D’Avila Latourrette, OSB
A Monastery Journey to Christmas

4th Sunday of Advent

visitationThe Psalm for today’s Mass has us singing: “Lord, make us turn to you; let us see your face and we shall be saved” (80). See in this verse what is happening between Mary and Elizabeth. Think of the baby Jesus leaping for joy in the womb of Mary at meeting of his cousin John. Have you been able to help others to experience, i.e., to see and to hear the Good News of Jesus coming into history this week? Have we made a place for Christ in hearts today?

A prominent Cistercian Father guides our reflection –Blessed Guerric of Iggy taught:

“’Be ready to go out to meet the Lord, O Israel, for he is coming…’ Do, Lord, rise up to meet me as I run to meet you. Since I have not the strength to scale your summits unless you stretch out your hand to me whom your hands have made, rise to meet me, and see whether there is any sinful way in me. If you find any sinful way in me at all, take it from me. Grant me the grace to live by your law and lead me in the ways of eternity, that is, in Christ who is the way by which we journey and the eternity which is our journey’s end: and undefiled way and a blessed dwelling place.”

Advent 2015

Nativity detail GDavid“How is it we are saved by you, O Lord, from whom salvation comes and whose blessing is upon your people, if it is not in receiving from you the gift of loving you and being loved by you? That, Lord, is why you willed that the Son of your right hand, the Man whom you made strong for your own self, should be called Jesus, that is, Savior, for he will save his people from their sins. There is no other in whom is salvation except him who taught us to love himself when he first loved us, even to death on the cross. By loving us and holding us so dear he stirred us up to love himself, who first had loved us to the end.”

―William of Saint-Thierry

Fourth Sunday of Advent

Mary of the AnnunciationFinally we arrive at the Fourth Sunday of Advent. The final Sunday is dedicated to the Motherhood of the Blessed Virgin. The opening prayer at Mass is the prayer used for Angelus. The Church, pointing to Mary points to the Savior.

St. Peter Chrysologus has something to say:

“’Who was born from the Holy Spirit.’ Precisely thus is Christ born for you, in such a way that he may change your own manner of birth… Formerly, death awaited you as the setting sun of your life; he wants you to have a new birth of life. ‘Who was born from the Holy Spirit of the Virgin Mary.’ With the Spirit begetting, and a virgin giving birth, everything carried on is divine; nothing of it is merely human.”

Indeed, nothing is merely human…

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT, follows the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, and is an Oblate of Saint Benedict, works as a monastery farmer and a keeper of honey bees. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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