Regína sacratíssimi Rosárii, ora pro nobis!

First Sunday of Advent—2 December AD 2018
Ave Maria!


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Mass Text - Latin
Mass Text - English
Blessing of the Advent Wreath


“When these things begin to come to pass …
behold, your redemption is at hand.”

    The Gospel for this first week of the Church's liturgical year is very much like the one read on the last week.  Both of them speak about the end of the world.  But there is an important note in today's Gospel, in that it reminds us to be mindful of our own particular judgment.  That is to say that while there will be a general judgment at the end of the world, each one of us will be judged individually by Almighty God for our lives here in this world.

    If the Gospel narratives of the end of the world seem frightening, we should remember that involve things that are generally external to ourselves.  They speak of roaring seas, and the sun giving no light.  They speak of wars and famine and pestilence.  But all of these things are outside of us.

    Far more frightening ought to be the possibility of our own personal judgment after an unholy life.  Far more terrifying than the moon giving no light ought to be the possibility of dying with no repentance for our sins.  Worse than the roaring of the sea ought to be the idea of having it on our conscience that we did nothing to repair the damage caused by our sins.  More than any famine, plague, or pestilence ought to be the realization that we simply neglected to receive the abundant graces God offered to us all through our lives, by failing to make frequent use of the Sacraments of Confession, and Communion, and the holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

    This possibility of dying an unprovided death—one for which we are unready, unprepared, and even frightened—is one of the reasons why the Church bids us to observe this season of Advent each year.  The Church is beginning to start over once again in its continuing presentation of the drama of our redemption.  We will once again relive the birth of our Savior, the events of His public life, His Crucifixion, Death and Resurrection.  And just as the Church year begins anew, we are reminded that it is time to begin our spiritual life anew.

    We know that to have a healthy spiritual life, we must continue to make progress closer and closer to God.  But we also know that we humans have a certain lethargy about us, a certain laziness and a tendency to lose focus and get off the path we are trying to follow.  A major purpose, then, behind the celebration of Advent, is to get back on the path to holiness with a fresh start.

    “Now is the hour for us to rise from sleep,” Saint Paul tells us.   “Our salvation is now nearer than when we first came to believe.”[2]

    It is “nearer,” of course, but is it any more certain?  That is what Paul is after when he tells us that it is time to for us to give up the pursuits and the corruptions of the world.  He is telling us that even though we may have come to believe in Christ years ago, we probably can stand to draw our behavior more into line with that belief.

    Advent is only 4 weeks in length—a short preparation for the joyous feast of Christmas.  Nothing like the 4,000 years that the Jewish people had to wait between the Fall of Adam and the coming of the Savior.

    Years ago Advent was observed like Lent.  You can see the similarity in things like the purple vestments and the absence of flowers on our altar.  There is no longer a Church law requiring us to fast or do penance, but perhaps we might all be willing to impose something on ourselves.

    This is often the season in which people make “New Year's resolutions.”  You might do the same as we begin this New Year of the Church—examine your consciences carefully;  determine if and where you are getting off the path to union with God, where you are lukewarm or even cold in demonstrating your love for Him.  Do a little extra praying, a little extra penance, in order to break the attachments we all have to the things of the world.

    “The night is passed, the day is at hand … cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light.”[3]  Start off the New Church Year, by starting once again on the path of Jesus Christ.



Dei via est íntegra

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