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Advent 2017 – Make a Plan

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What is Advent?


Advent is the period of roughly four weeks before the feast of Christmas. We take four weeks to commemorate the four thousand years between Adam and Eve and Jesus. They waited for four thousand years, we wait for four weeks. The purpose of the period of Advent is to prepare our hearts for Jesus each year so that we may know Him and love Him better and see if He is having the affect on our lives that He is meant to. Remember Jesus is here to make us the best version of ourselves and to discover and expose the gifts He has created in us. Advent gives us the time to ask our Lord, “How shall I prepare this year?” There is no mandated way to get ready only the command to get ready.

Catholics have traditionally used an Advent wreath to help them recall and prepare. The wreath is circular, reminding us of the unending love of God, and, usually, has evergreen branches to remind us of God’s never-failing love and that it is always fresh. The different colours of the candles remind us of preparation. Purple is a sober colour and it reminds us of waiting and darkness. Pink is a colour of joy and expectation. The candles are symbol of our Christian life that we are meant to use our energy to be a light in the darkness, the light of Christ.

It is important to plan to do something to get ready. A failure to plan is a plan to fail. In this area of our life, the good of our soul, failure is catastrophic. So, plan. I have given a simple Advent prayer that you can do each night. I would recommend that you also look over the readings for each Sunday at this time, maybe take a reading a day Discuss it, ask God how He wants to speak to you through this reading. You could read the meditation from the Word Among Us publication. Or say a decade of the rosary. There are a few other prayers I have placed on the sheet. You can sign up for Dynamic Catholics Best Advent Ever program at www.BestAdventEver.com
Other things we can do are the Corporal Works of Mercy:

  • To feed the hungry.
  • To give water to the thirsty.
  • To clothe the naked.
  • To shelter the homeless.
  • To visit the sick.
  • To visit the imprisoned, or ransom the captive.
  • To bury the dead.

These are listed in the Gospel of Matthew 25:31-46. The king said that what we do for the least of these, you do to me. Recognizing Jesus in the people around us is a great way to prepare for the coming of our Lord.

For couples you could renew your wedding vows. Your marriage is a sign of God’s covenant with us and a sign of God’s fruitful love in the world. Asking God for the grace to live your vows to God and each other is a great way to prepare for the King of Kings to live more actively in our lives.

None of us should fear Christ coming into our lives since He came into a stable as a child, and so there is no way we can say that our lives are too messy for Jesus to be in. He wants to part of the messiness in all of our lives.

Prayers


FIRST WEEK of Advent; one purple candle

Leader: 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.

All: Amen.

SECOND WEEK of Advent; two purple candles

Leader: 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.

All: Amen

THIRD WEEK of Advent; two purple, one pink candle

The joyful Sunday in Advent (known as “Gaudete”)

Leader: 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.

All: Amen

FOURTH WEEK of Advent; all four candles are lit.

Leader: 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.

All: Amen.

Other Prayers for Advent

Come, long-expected Jesus. Excite in me a wonder at the wisdom and power of Your Father and ours. Receive my prayer as part of my service of the Lord who enlists me in God’s own work for justice.

Come, long-expected Jesus. Excite in me a hunger for peace: peace in the world, peace in my home, peace in myself.

Come, long-expected Jesus. Excite in me a joy responsive to the Father’s joy. I seek His will so I can serve with gladness, singing and love.

Come, long-expected Jesus. Excite in me the joy and love and peace it is right to bring to the manger of my Lord. Raise in me, too, sober reverence for the God who acted there, hearty gratitude for the life begun there, and spirited resolution to serve the Father and Son.

I pray in the name of Jesus Christ, whose advent I hail. Amen.

Second Prayer

Lord God, may we, your people, who look forward to the birthday of Christ experience the joy of salvation and celebrate that feast with love and thanksgiving. We ask this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Wedding Vows for Married Couples
I ________ take you _______ to be my Husband/Wife
I promise to be faithful to you,
In good times and in bad,
In sickness and in health,
To love you and honour you all the days of my life.

I would add: So help me God

 

NOTE: The following readings are from the Jerusalem Bible, which is used at Mass in most of the English-speaking world.

Mass Readings – First Sunday (Purple Candle)


First reading – Isaiah 63:16-17,64:1,3-8

You, Lord, yourself are our Father,
‘Our Redeemer’ is your ancient name.
Why, Lord, leave us to stray from your ways
and harden our hearts against fearing you?
Return, for the sake of your servants,
the tribes of your inheritance.
Oh, that you would tear the heavens open and come down!
– at your Presence the mountains would melt.
No ear has heard,
no eye has seen
any god but you act like this
for those who trust him.
You guide those who act with integrity
and keep your ways in mind.
You were angry when we were sinners;
we had long been rebels against you.
We were all like men unclean,
all that integrity of ours like filthy clothing.
We have all withered like leaves
and our sins blew us away like the wind.
No one invoked your name
or roused himself to catch hold of you.
For you hid your face from us
and gave us up to the power of our sins.
And yet, Lord, you are our Father;
we the clay, you the potter,
we are all the work of your hand.

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 79(80):2-3,15-16,18-19

Lord of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.
O shepherd of Israel, hear us,
shine forth from your cherubim throne.
O Lord, rouse up your might,
O Lord, come to our help.
Lord of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.
God of hosts, turn again, we implore,
look down from heaven and see.
Visit this vine and protect it,
the vine your right hand has planted.
Lord of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.
May your hand be on the man you have chosen,
the man you have given your strength.
And we shall never forsake you again;
give us life that we may call upon your name.
Lord of hosts, bring us back; let your face shine on us and we shall be saved.

Second Reading – 1 Corinthians 1:3-9

May God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ send you grace and peace.
I never stop thanking God for all the graces you have received through Jesus Christ. I thank him that you have been enriched in so many ways, especially in your teachers and preachers; the witness to Christ has indeed been strong among you so that you will not be without any of the gifts of the Spirit while you are waiting for our Lord Jesus Christ to be revealed; and he will keep you steady and without blame until the last day, the day of our Lord Jesus Christ, because God by calling you has joined you to his Son, Jesus Christ; and God is faithful.

Gospel – Mark 13:33-37

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘Be on your guard, stay awake, because you never know when the time will come. It is like a man travelling abroad: he has gone from home, and left his servants in charge, each with his own task; and he has told the doorkeeper to stay awake. So stay awake, because you do not know when the master of the house is coming, evening, midnight, cockcrow, dawn; if he comes unexpectedly, he must not find you asleep. And what I say to you I say to all: Stay awake!’

Mass Readings – Second Sunday (Purple Candle)


First Reading – Isaiah 40:1-5,9-11

‘Console my people, console them’
says your God.
‘Speak to the heart of Jerusalem
and call to her
that her time of service is ended,
that her sin is atoned for,
that she has received from the hand of the Lord
double punishment for all her crimes.’
A voice cries, ‘Prepare in the wilderness
a way for the Lord.
Make a straight highway for our God
across the desert.
Let every valley be filled in,
every mountain and hill be laid low.
Let every cliff become a plain,
and the ridges a valley;
then the glory of the Lord shall be revealed
and all mankind shall see it;
for the mouth of the Lord has spoken.’
Go up on a high mountain,
joyful messenger to Zion.
Shout with a loud voice,
joyful messenger to Jerusalem.
Shout without fear,
say to the towns of Judah,
‘Here is your God.’
Here is the Lord coming with power,
his arm subduing all things to him.
The prize of his victory is with him,
his trophies all go before him.
He is like a shepherd feeding his flock,
gathering lambs in his arms,
holding them against his breast
and leading to their rest the mother ewes.

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 84(85):9-14(Advent)

Let us see, O Lord, your mercy, and give us your saving help.
I will hear what the Lord God has to say,
a voice that speaks of peace,
peace for his people.
His help is near for those who fear him
and his glory will dwell in our land.
Let us see, O Lord, your mercy, and give us your saving help.
Mercy and faithfulness have met;
justice and peace have embraced.
Faithfulness shall spring from the earth
and justice look down from heaven.
Let us see, O Lord, your mercy, and give us your saving help.
The Lord will make us prosper
and our earth shall yield its fruit.
Justice shall march before him
and peace shall follow his steps.
Let us see, O Lord, your mercy, and give us your saving help.

Second reading – 2 Peter 3:8-14

There is one thing, my friends, that you must never forget: that with the Lord, ‘a day’ can mean a thousand years, and a thousand years is like a day. The Lord is not being slow to carry out his promises, as anybody else might be called slow; but he is being patient with you all, wanting nobody to be lost and everybody to be brought to change his ways. The Day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then with a roar the sky will vanish, the elements will catch fire and fall apart, the earth and all that it contains will be burnt up.
Since everything is coming to an end like this, you should be living holy and saintly lives while you wait and long for the Day of God to come, when the sky will dissolve in flames and the elements melt in the heat. What we are waiting for is what he promised: the new heavens and new earth, the place where righteousness will be at home. So then, my friends, while you are waiting, do your best to live lives without spot or stain so that he will find you at peace.

Gospel – Mark 1:1-8

The beginning of the Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. It is written in the book of the prophet Isaiah:
Look, I am going to send my messenger before you;
he will prepare your way.
A voice cries in the wilderness:
Prepare a way for the Lord, make his paths straight.
and so it was that John the Baptist appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. All Judaea and all the people of Jerusalem made their way to him, and as they were baptised by him in the river Jordan they confessed their sins. John wore a garment of camel-skin, and he lived on locusts and wild honey. In the course of his preaching he said, ‘Someone is following me, someone who is more powerful than I am, and I am not fit to kneel down and undo the strap of his sandals. I have baptised you with water, but he will baptise you with the Holy Spirit.’

Mass Readings – Third Sunday (Pink Candle)


First reading – Isaiah 61:1-2,10-11

The spirit of the Lord has been given to me,
for the Lord has anointed me.
He has sent me to bring good news to the poor,
to bind up hearts that are broken;
to proclaim liberty to captives,
freedom to those in prison;
to proclaim a year of favour from the Lord.
‘I exult for joy in the Lord,
my soul rejoices in my God,
for he has clothed me in the garments of salvation,
he has wrapped me in the cloak of integrity,
like a bridegroom wearing his wreath,
like a bride adorned in her jewels.
‘For as the earth makes fresh things grow,
as a garden makes seeds spring up,
so will the Lord make both integrity and praise
spring up in the sight of the nations.’

Responsorial Psalm – Luke 1:46-50,53-54

My soul rejoices in my God.
My soul glorifies the Lord,
my spirit rejoices in God, my Saviour.
He looks on his servant in her nothingness;
henceforth all ages will call me blessed.
My soul rejoices in my God.
The Almighty works marvels for me.
Holy his name!
His mercy is from age to age,
on those who fear him.
My soul rejoices in my God.
He fills the starving with good things,
sends the rich away empty.
He protects Israel, his servant,
remembering his mercy.
My soul rejoices in my God.

Second reading – 1 Thessalonians 5:16-24

Be happy at all times; pray constantly; and for all things give thanks to God, because this is what God expects you to do in Christ Jesus.
Never try to suppress the Spirit or treat the gift of prophecy with contempt; think before you do anything – hold on to what is good and avoid every form of evil.
May the God of peace make you perfect and holy; and may you all be kept safe and blameless, spirit, soul and body, for the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. God has called you and he will not fail you.

Gospel – John 1:6-8,19-28

A man came, sent by God.
His name was John.
He came as a witness,
as a witness to speak for the light,
so that everyone might believe through him.
He was not the light,
only a witness to speak for the light.
This is how John appeared as a witness. When the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, ‘Who are you?’ he not only declared, but he declared quite openly, ‘I am not the Christ.’ ‘Well then,’ they asked ‘are you Elijah?’ ‘I am not’ he said. ‘Are you the Prophet?’ He answered, ‘No.’ So they said to him, ‘Who are you? We must take back an answer to those who sent us. What have you to say about yourself?’ So John said, ‘I am, as Isaiah prophesied:
a voice that cries in the wilderness:
Make a straight way for the Lord.’
Now these men had been sent by the Pharisees, and they put this further question to him, ‘Why are you baptising if you are not the Christ, and not Elijah, and not the prophet?’ John replied, ‘I baptise with water; but there stands among you – unknown to you – the one who is coming after me; and I am not fit to undo his sandal-strap.’ This happened at Bethany, on the far side of the Jordan, where John was baptising.

Mass Readings – Fourth Sunday (Purple Candle)


First reading – 2 Samuel 7:1-5,8-12,14,16

Once David had settled into his house and the Lord had given him rest from all the enemies surrounding him, the king said to the prophet Nathan, ‘Look, I am living in a house of cedar while the ark of God dwells in a tent.’ Nathan said to the king, ‘Go and do all that is in your mind, for the Lord is with you.’
But that very night the word of the Lord came to Nathan:
‘Go and tell my servant David, “Thus the Lord speaks: Are you the man to build me a house to dwell in? I took you from the pasture, from following the sheep, to be leader of my people Israel; I have been with you on all your expeditions; I have cut off all your enemies before you. I will give you fame as great as the fame of the greatest on earth. I will provide a place for my people Israel; I will plant them there and they shall dwell in that place and never be disturbed again; nor shall the wicked continue to oppress them as they did, in the days when I appointed judges over my people Israel; I will give them rest from all their enemies. The Lord will make you great; the Lord will make you a House. And when your days are ended and you are laid to rest with your ancestors, I will preserve the offspring of your body after you and make his sovereignty secure. I will be a father to him and he a son to me; if he does evil, I will punish him with the rod such as men use, with strokes such as mankind gives. Your House and your sovereignty will always stand secure before me and your throne be established for ever.”’

Responsorial Psalm – Psalm 88(89):2-5,27,29

I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.
I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord;
through all ages my mouth will proclaim your truth.
Of this I am sure, that your love lasts for ever,
that your truth is firmly established as the heavens.
I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.
‘I have made a covenant with my chosen one;
I have sworn to David my servant:
I will establish your dynasty for ever
and set up your throne through all ages.
I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.
‘He will say to me: “You are my father,
my God, the rock who saves me.”
I will keep my love for him always;
with him my covenant shall last.’
I will sing for ever of your love, O Lord.

Second reading – Romans 16:25-27

Glory to him who is able to give you the strength to live according to the Good News I preach, and in which I proclaim Jesus Christ, the revelation of a mystery kept secret for endless ages, but now so clear that it must be broadcast to pagans everywhere to bring them to the obedience of faith. This is only what scripture has predicted, and it is all part of the way the eternal God wants things to be. He alone is wisdom; give glory therefore to him through Jesus Christ for ever and ever. Amen.

Gospel – Luke 1:26-38

The angel Gabriel was sent by God to a town in Galilee called Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the House of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. He went in and said to her, ‘Rejoice, so highly favoured! The Lord is with you.’ She was deeply disturbed by these words and asked herself what this greeting could mean, but the angel said to her, ‘Mary, do not be afraid; you have won God’s favour. Listen! You are to conceive and bear a son, and you must name him Jesus. He will be great and will be called Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David; he will rule over the House of Jacob for ever and his reign will have no end.’ Mary said to the angel, ‘But how can this come about, since I am a virgin?’ ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you’ the angel answered ‘and the power of the Most High will cover you with its shadow. And so the child will be holy and will be called Son of God. Know this too: your kinswoman Elizabeth has, in her old age, herself conceived a son, and she whom people called barren is now in her sixth month, for nothing is impossible to God.’ ‘I am the handmaid of the Lord,’ said Mary ‘let what you have said be done to me.’ And the angel left her.

Advent Hymns


O Come Divine Messiah

O come, Divine Messiah,
The world in silence waits the day
When hope shall sing its triumph,
And sadness flee away.

Refrain:
Dear Savior, haste! Come, come to earth.
Dispel the night and show your face,
And bid us hail the dawn of grace.

O come, Divine Messiah,
The world in silence waits the day
When hope shall sing its triumph,
And sadness flee away.

2 O come Desired of nations,
Whom priest and prophet long foretold,
Will break the captive fetters,
Redeem the long-lost fold. [Refrain]

3 O come in peace and meekness,
For lowly will your cradle be:
Though clothed in human weakness
We shall your God-head see. [Refrain]

O Come O Come Emmanuel

1 O come, O come, Immanuel,
and ransom captive Israel
that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear.

Refrain:
Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
shall come to you, O Israel.

2 O come, O Wisdom from on high,
who ordered all things mightily;
to us the path of knowledge show
and teach us in its ways to go. Refrain

3 O come, O come, great Lord of might,
who to your tribes on Sinai’s height
in ancient times did give the law
in cloud and majesty and awe. Refrain

4 O come, O Branch of Jesse’s stem,
unto your own and rescue them!
From depths of hell your people save,
and give them victory o’er the grave. Refrain

5 O come, O Key of David, come
and open wide our heavenly home.
Make safe for us the heavenward road
and bar the way to death’s abode. Refrain

6 O come, O Bright and Morning Star,
and bring us comfort from afar!
Dispel the shadows of the night
and turn our darkness into light. Refrain

7 O come, O King of nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind.
Bid all our sad divisions cease
and be yourself our King of Peace. Refrain

The Angel Gabriel from Heaven Came

1 The Angel Gabriel from heaven came,
his wings as drifted snow, his eyes as flame;
‘All hail,’ said he, ‘thou lowly maiden Mary,
most highly favoured lady.’
Gloria!

2 ‘For known a blessèd Mother thou shalt be,
all generations laud and honour thee,
thy son shall be Emmanuel, by seers foretold;
most highly favoured lady.’
Gloria!

3 Then gentle Mary meekly bowed her head,
‘To me be as it pleaseth God,’ she said,
‘My soul shall laud and magnify his holy name’:
most highly favoured lady.
Gloria!

4 Of her, Emmanuel, the Christ was born
in Bethlehem, all on a Christmas mom,
and Christian folk throughout the world will ever say
‘Most highly favoured lady.’
Gloria!

People Look East

1. People, look east. The time is near
of the crowning of the year.
Make your house fair as you are able;
trim the hearth and set the table.
People, look east and sing today:
Love the guest is on the way.

2. Furrows, be glad; though earth is bare,
one more seed is planted there:
give up your strength, the seed to nourish,
that in course the flower may flourish.
People, look east and sing today:
Love the rose is on the way.

3. Birds, though you long have ceased to build,
guard the nest that must be filled.
Even the hour when wings are frozen
God for fledging time has chosen.
People, look east and sing today:
Love the bird is on the way.

4. Stars, keep the watch. When night is dim
one more light the bowl shall brim,
shining beyond the frosty weather,
bright as sun and moon together.
People, look east and sing today:
Love the star is on the way.

5. Angels, announce with shouts of mirth
Christ who brings new life to earth.
Set every peak and valley humming
with the word, the Lord is coming.
People, look east and sing today:
Love the Lord is on the way.

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