Yesterday night, Pope Benedict XVI celebrated the First Solemn Vespers of Advent. Last year, Pope Benedict XVI said, "I ask you all to prepare for Advent with spiritual fervor, drawing from the word of God and the Eucharist interior energy for welcoming the Lord who comes" (Source) Photo Source: REUTERS/Giampiero Sposito (ITALY)
This first week of Advent is themed on hope. This hope is entirely in Our Savior - no where else can we have hope. As the homily I heard today described, this world will pass away, but the Lord and all eternity will remain (Mark 13:31). We must be ready for His coming. I was out in the Christmas rush Friday and enjoyed the shopping; the sales were great. But, we must never let our lives secularize Christmas that we focus completely on "Santa" and presents but forget about our Lord's Birth. Christmas is the Birth of our Lord, the greatest hope of the human race. He chose to be born in a manager, in the cold instead of all the glory He deserved. Meditate on that love of Christ this week, He chose poverty. Let's pray that He may be our hope and we will chose Him.
Advent is like a mini-Lent, a time of penance and preparation. May this period of penance and preparation make you worthy to celebrate Christmas. Ask yourself this question now and then at the end of Advent, "Are you prepared now to stand before the Son of Man?"
For some Advent resources see the Advent & Christmas Compilation Post.
Fr. Lawrence Smith said:
Advent is the time to make ready for Christ to live with us. Lent is the time to make us ready to die with Christ. Advent makes Lent possible. Lent makes salvation possible. Advent is the time when eternity approaches earth. Lent is the time when time reaches consummation in Christ's eternal Sacrifice to the Father. Advent leads to Christ's life in time on earth. Lent leads to Christ's eternal Life in Heaven. The Cross -- through the Mass, penance, and mortification -- is the bridge connecting Advent and Lent, Christ and His Church, man and God.
Each of the Church's penitential seasons is a dying to the world with the goal of attaining new life in Christ.
Psalms 24: 1-3
To Thee, O Lord, have I lifted up my soul: in Thee, O my God, I put my trust; let me not be ashamed. Neither let my enemies laugh at me: for none of them that wait on Thee shall be confounded. Ps. Show, O Lord, Thy ways to me, and teach me Thy paths. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. To Thee...
COLLECT - Bestir, O Lord, Thy might, we pray Thee and come; That, defended by Thee, we may deserve rescue from approaching dangers brought on by our sins, and being set free by Thee, obtain our salvation. Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
Brethren, knowing the time, that it is now the hour for us to rise from sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we believed. The night is past, and the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and impurities, not in contention and envy; but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Psalms. 24: 3-4
None of them that wait on Thee shall be confounded. Show, O Lord, Thy ways to me, and teach me Thy paths.
LESSER ALLELUIA - ALLELUIA, alleluia. V. Ps. 84, 8. Show us, O Lord, Thy mercy: and grant us Thy salvation. Alleluia.
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, by reason of the confusion of the roaring of the sea and of the waves: men withering away for fear and expectation of what shall come upon the whole world. For the powers of heaven shall be moved; and then they shall see the Son of man coming in a cloud with great power and majesty. But when these things begin to come to pass, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption is at hand. And He spoke to them a similitude: See the fig tree, and all the trees; when they now shoot forth their fruit, you know that summer is nigh; so you also, when you shall see these things come to pass, know that the kingdom of God is at hand. Amen I say to you, this generation shall not pass away till all things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but My words shall not pass away.
To Thee have I lifted up my soul: in Thee, O my God, I put my trust, let me not be ashamed: neither let my enemies laugh at me: for none of them that wait for Thee shall be confounded.
SECRET - May, O Lord, these Sacred Rites enable us, whom by Thy mighty power Thou hast cleansed from sin, to come pure in heart before Thee who art their author. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.. .
PREFACE (Preface of the Most Holy Trinity) - It it truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God; Who, together with Thine only-begotten Son, and the Holy Ghost, art one God, one Lord: not in the oneness of a single Person, but in the Trinity of one substance. For what we believe by Thy revelation of Thy glory, the same do we believe of Thy Son, the same of the Holy Ghost, without difference or separation. So that in confessing the true and everlasting Godhead, distinction in persons, unity in essence, and equality in majesty may be adored. Which the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and Seraphim do praise: who cease not daily to cry out, with one voice saying:
Psalms 84: 13
The Lord will give goodness: and our earth shall yield her fruit.
POST COMMUNION - May we in the midst of Thy holy temple, O Lord, receive of Thy mercy, who seek with fitting honour to welcome the coming festival of our Redemption. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.