A Blessed First Sunday of Advent 2017

Image source: Archdiocese of Toronto

On the first day of Advent, Catholic families will set up Advent wreath — a wreath of greenery adorned by a set of four candles — typically, three violet-colored, and one rose-colored to match the priest’s vestments on each of the days the candles are lit. The wreath is either set upon a table (especially the dining room table), on the family altar, on pedestals, an end table, etc., or it can by suspended by ribbons from the ceiling, such as from a light fixture. The candles can be long, slim tapers, small votives, or wide pillars. There can be pinecones and such adorning the greenery, but because Advent is a penitential season, it should not be highly decorated with colorful ornaments.

The circular shape of the wreath is a symbol of eternity, and the greenery symbolizes hope and renewal. The colors of the typically-used violet and rose candles symbolize penance and joy, respectively.

Each candle also represents one of the four weeks of Advent, and one thousand years of the four thousand years that (at least metaphorically) passed between Adam and Eve to Christ’s coming.

The first candle also recalls the Patriarchs; the second candle recalls the Prophets; the third candle recalls St. John the Baptist; and the final candle recalls Our Lady.

If colored candles are used, the violet candles are lit on the first, second, and fourth Sundays of Advent, and the rose candle is lit on the third Sunday (“Gaudete Sunday,” when the priest also wears rose vestments at Mass), a day of rejoicing because the faithful have arrived at the midpoint of Advent and anticipate Christmas. In any case, whether colored or white candles are used, one more candle is lit each week at dinnertime, the progressive lighting of the candles symbolizing the expectation and hope surrounding our Lord’s first coming into the world and the anticipation of His second coming to judge the living and the dead. The candles are kept burning throughout the Sunday supper, and then are immediately blown out afterward (candles can be replaced and greenery freshened as needed).

At midnight on Christmas Eve, the Advent wreath is replaced by a white “Christ candle” that is suitably adorned with holly, or by being carved with symbols of Christ, etc. This Christ Candle is used until the Ephiphany or Candlemas, depending on the family’s particular Christmas customs. The greenery of the Advent wreath can now be decorated and turned into a Christmas wreath for use throughout the Christmas season.

Below is a prayer for the blessing of the wreath and the lighting of the candle for the First Sunday of Advent. We’ll include additional Sunday prayers prior to each Sunday of Advent. We give thanks to the excellent website of Fish Eaters¬†ūüė䬆for this and a fathomless wealth of information on our Holy Catholic Faith:¬†https://www.fisheaters.com.¬†Please do spend time searching through their site. You will find only clear and utterly trustworthy teachings on the Faith including many customs for you and your family!

Advent Wreath Rituals

The Day Before Advent
Blessing of the Wreath

Father or Oldest Son: O God, by whose word all things are sanctified, pour forth Thy blessing upon this wreath, and grant that we who use it may prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ and may receive from Thee abundant graces. Through Christ our Lord. Amen. 

First Sunday of Advent
As Mother lights the 1st candle

Scripture (John 1:1-5; Psalm 49:2-5, 71:2-8, 8-15):
Father: In the beginning was the Word: and the Word was with God: and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made. In him was life: and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness: and the darkness did not comprehend it.

Out of Sion the loveliness of his beauty. God shall come manifestly: our God shall come, and shall not keep silence. A fire shall burn before him: and a mighty tempest shall be round about him. He shall call heaven from above, and the earth, to judge his people. Gather ye together his saints to him: who set his covenant before sacrifices.

Give to the king thy judgment, O God: and to the king’s son thy justice: To judge thy people with justice, and thy poor with judgment. Let the mountains receive peace for the people: and the hills justice. He shall judge the poor of the people, and he shall save the children of the poor: and he shall humble the oppressor. And he shall continue with the sun, and before the moon, throughout all generations. He shall come down like rain upon the fleece; and as showers falling gently upon the earth. In his days shall justice spring up, and abundance of peace, till the moon be taken sway. And all kings of the earth shall adore him: all nations shall serve him. For he shall deliver the poor from the mighty: and the needy that had no helper. He shall spare the poor and needy: and he shall save the souls of the poor. He shall redeem their souls from usuries and iniquity: and their names shall be honourable in his sight. And he shall live, and to him shall be given of the gold of Arabia, for him they shall always adore: they shall bless him all the day.

Blessing:
Father: Stir up Thy power, we beseech Thee, O Lord, and come: that from the threatening dangers of our sins we may deserve to be rescued by Thy protection, and to be saved by Thy deliverance. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, world without end.

R. Amen. 

Father: Alleluia, alleluia. Ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam, et salutare tuum da nobis. Amen. (Alleluia, alleluia. Show us, O Lord, Thy mercy; and grant us Thy salvation. Alleluia.) 

Welcome to Our New Site

presentationBeloved, welcome to our new website! I have longed for us to have a live site through which we can grow together and encourage one another to love and good works (Hebrews 10:24). And I know that many of you have been waiting!

What is ahead is simply a start. We will continue to add articles, especially those pertaining to the restoration of the family – the core of our heart for this new congregation – and the strengthening of our faith against the many evils of our day.

Why the image to the left with Simeon and the Child Jesus in the Temple? Simply because it is one of my most beloved images and the heart from which our apostolate has grown.

To the right of the fuller image of the Presentation of Our Lord in the Temple (above), is the Canticle of Simeon. It is the night prayer of the Church, prayed by every priest and religious and lay faithful who pray the Office of Compline each night. And it has become not only Simeon’s Canticle, but ours:

Now dismiss Thy servant, O Lord, in peace, according to Thy word:
For mine own eyes have seen Thy salvation,
Which Thou hast prepared in the sight of all the peoples,
A light to reveal Thee to the nations
and the glory of Thy people Israel.

A further explanation of the Canticle is included in the Introduction to our Charism. For now, it is enough to say that there is nothing that is Christian – indeed, that is Catholic – that does not have its roots in Judaism, that is to say, in the Law and the Covenants which God made, first with Abraham and subsequently through Moses.

How blessed and how rich we are the more we know our heritage, our true identity as a People fulfilled in the Messiah of Israel, the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world, that we might have life – life in Him – and have it to the full, both now and in eternity.

All of time and eternity could not explain or even describe the unspeakable mystery of God’s love, nor the life He came to give. But with hearts overflowing with endless gratitude, we wish to give our all to and for Him who gave His all for us. And we pray you will join us in holding nothing back from God – while there is yet time – that He may be known and loved, and that the earth may be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea (Isaiah 11:9).

We pray you will visit our new site often and let us know what subjects and questions you would like covered, especially those that pertain to the family and religious life. Please feel free also to send us your prayer requests, as well!

Our love, gratitude, and prayers for you to stand tall, steadfast, and faithful in the fight against evil, and in the evangelization of all those who have yet to hear.

Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, O.S.B.

P.S. РOur first blog entry is our long-awaited newsletter below! If you are new to our site or apostolate, you are welcome to click on the Newsletter heading above for all of our past newsletters and mailings.