ADVENT REFLECTION
WEEK FOUR

ADVENT REFLECTION
WEEK Three

 

This week, we celebrated Gaudete Sunday - we are called to rejoice!!! As we await the celebration of the Incarnation, we invite you to spend some time with the Gospel we hear at Mass using "Lectio Divina" (Divine Reading). This traditional Benediction practice is meant to promote a fuller understanding of Scripture in our lives. If you are new to Lectio, know that there are several ways to utilize this form of prayer. The process below is merely one option, but it is a simple way to enter more fully into the Word of God.

Step 1: Lectio (Read)

Step 2: Mediatatio (Meditation)

Step 3: Oratio (Prayer)

Step 4: Contemplatio (Contemplation)

First Read Through:

Lectio: Read through the passage one time. Listen for a word or phrase that stands out to you.

Meditatio:  Spend a moment reflecting on that word or phrase, simply repeating it over in your mind.

Oratio:  Share, pray about, or journal the word or phrase that stood out to you, along with a brief reflection, if you have one.

Second Read Through:

Lectio:  Read through the passage a second time. Be attentive to any images that come to mind as you listen.

Meditatio:  Spend a moment reflecting on what images came to mind this time.

Oratio:  Share, pray about, or journal the image that you meditated upon and, if you choose, give a brief reflection.

Third Read Through:

Lectio:  Read through the passage a third and final time. Reflect on what you hear God speaking to you in the Scripture – it may or may not be something explicitly said in the passage.

Meditatio:  Spend a moment meditating on this message.

Oratio:  Share, pray about, or journal a brief reflection on what you feel God is calling you to do through this Scripture passage, or the message that Christ is speaking to you through it.

Fourth Read Through:

Contemplatio:  Take a few moments to simply be still in His presence and silently thank God for the gift He has given you in prayer.

 A Reading from the Gospel According to Matthew

When John the Baptist heard in prison of the works of the Christ, he sent his disciples to Jesus with this question, 
“Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?”
Jesus said to them in reply, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, 
the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. 
And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.”

As they were going off, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, 
“What did you go out to the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? Then what did you go out to see?
Someone dressed in fine clothing? Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces.
Then why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet.
This is the one about whom it is written:
Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; he will prepare your way before you.
Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there has been none greater than John the Baptist; 
yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.”

The Word of the Lord

 

 

 

Advent Reflection
Week Two

Our readings this week remind us of the amazing opportunities we are given. These weeks are a time of preparation, repentance, and reparation. John the Baptist calls the people out into the desert, away from the distractions of everyday life. It is there that the people are able to concentrate and focus on what needs to change. Although we recognize Lent as a dedicated season of the desert, it is easy to get caught up in the busyness of the holidays and forget to retreat. Our challenge this week is to prepare our hearts for the birth of Christ. Our challenge this week is to repent of the choices we have made against His will. Our challenge this week is to repair the brokenness in our lives. In short, we are specifically drawn to the Sacrament of Penance in this second week in Advent. If you have not gone to Confession in some time, we invite you back into the merciful gaze of our Father. While we are waiting for Him this Advent, He is waiting for you. 

Prayer for Advent
Lord Jesus, allow us today to marvel at your glory in a new way. 
Make our hearts awestruck at your power and at your mercy to us in the sacraments.
Grant us the humility to repent before you, allowing you to deliver us from our sin, and to glorify you alone and never ourselves.
We pray, Father, in thanksgiving for the sacraments and with confidence in your love. 
Amen.


Advent Reflection
Week One

Advent is an important time of anticipation. As we heard in our Gospel this Sunday, "So too, you also must be prepared, for at an hour you do not expect, the Son of Man will come." We prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus in several ways - Advent is a time of looking back on our choices, and asking forgiveness for those times in which we have not loved Him as we should. As such, our parish offers several opportunities for Confessions throughout this season. Advent is a time of loving those whom He has placed in our lives, and focusing on how we can best share that love with them. Advent is a time of awareness of those who have less or are struggling this season. The Church encourages all of us to be generous with our time, talent, and treasure to serve the needs of our neighbors. While we focus on all of these during Advent, one of the most visible reminders of the season is the tradition of the Advent wreath. As your family or household comes together to share meals this season, light the appropriate candle as a reminder of the Light of the World that we celebrate. If your Advent wreath has not been blessed, a blessing is provided below. This can be done in the house, and is normally led by a parent or head of the household.

All make the sign of the cross as the leader says:

Our help is in the name of the Lord.

Response: Who made heaven and earth.

Then choose one of the following Scripture passages to read:

A Reading From the Book of the Prophet Isaiah:

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light;
Upon those who lived in a land of gloom a light has shone.
You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing;
They rejoice before you as people rejoice at harvest, as they exult when dividing the spoils.
For a child is born to us, a son is given to us; upon his shoulder dominion rests.
They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.
His dominion is vast and forever peaceful, upon David’s throne, and over his kingdom,
Which he confirms and sustains by judgment and justice, both now and forever.
The zeal of the LORD of hosts will do this!

The Word of the Lord

OR

A Reading From the Book of the Prophet Isaiah:
For you are our father.
Were Abraham not to know us, nor Israel to acknowledge us,
You, LORD, are our father, our redeemer you are named from of old.
Why do you make us wander, LORD, from your ways, and harden our hearts so that we do not fear you? 
Return for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your heritage.
Too long have we been like those you do not rule, on whom your name is not invoked.
Oh, that you would rend the heavens and come down, with the mountains quaking before you.

The Word of the Lord

OR

A Reading From the Book of the Prophet Isaiah:

While you worked awesome deeds we could not hope for, such as had not been heard of from of old.
No ear has ever heard, no eye ever seen, any God but you working such deeds for those who wait for him.
Would that you might meet us doing right, that we might be mindful of you in our ways!
Indeed, you are angry; we have sinned, we have acted wickedly.
We have all become like something unclean, all our just deeds are like polluted rags;
We have all withered like leaves, and our crimes carry us away like the wind.
There are none who call upon your name, none who rouse themselves to take hold of you;
For you have hidden your face from us and have delivered us up to our crimes.
Yet, LORD, you are our father; we are the clay and you our potter: we are all the work of your hand.

The Word of the Lord

Response: Thanks be to God.

With hands joined, the leader says:

Lord our God,
we praise you for your Son, Jesus Christ:
he is Emmanuel, the hope of the peoples,
he is the wisdom that teaches and guides us,
he is the Savior of every nation.
Lord God,
let your blessing come upon us
as we light the candles of this wreath.
May the wreath and its light
be a sign of Christ’s promise to bring us salvation.
May he come quickly and not delay.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.

Response: Amen.

The blessing may conclude with a verse from “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”:

O come, desire of nations, bind
in one the hearts of humankind;
bid ev’ry sad division cease
and be thyself our Prince of peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel.

- From Catholic Household Blessings & Prayers