Advent is a time of hope and prayer. On my first year living advent as a married person, me and my wife decided to continue on the tradition of the Advent Wreath, so every meal we light it and pray in preparation for Christmas.
For the meaning of the Advent Wreath I borrow the explanation of my friend on Isntagram the CatholicBarber:
What is the meaning of the Advent Wreath? Since circles have no beginning and no end, the circular shape of the Advent Wreath is used to symbolize God the Father and eternal life. The wreath holds four candles which are lit over the four weeks of Advent. There are three violet (purple) candles and one rose candle, each representing 1,000 years. Added together, the four candles symbolize the 4,000 years that humanity waited for the Savior. Violet is a liturgical color that is used to signify a time of penance, sacrifice, and prayer. During the first two and the last weeks of Advent we light violet candles.The Third Sunday of Advent is called Gaudete (Rejoice) Sunday. On this day we celebrate that our waiting for Christmas is almost over. Rose is a liturgical color that is used to signify joy, so we light the rose candle on the third Sunday of Advent. Traditionally, each of the four candles on an Advent wreath has their own meaning. These meanings are simply illustrated in The Four Weeks of Advent Pewter Advent Wreath. The first Sunday of Advent symbolizes Hope with the Prophet’s Candle reminding us that Jesus is coming. The second Sunday of Advent symbolizes Faith with the Bethlehem Candle reminding us of Mary and Joseph’s journey to Bethlehem. The third Sunday of Advent symbolizes Joy with the Shepherd’s Candle reminding us of the Joy the world experienced at the coming birth of Jesus. The fourth Sunday symbolizes Peace with the Angel’s Candle reminding us of the message of the angels: “Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men.” When Advent Wreaths are decorated the materials often have symbolic meaning. The use of evergreens reminds us of our eternal life with Christ, holly represents the crown of thorns from the Passion of Jesus, and pine cones symbolize Christ’s Resurrection. I hope you now know what the meaning of the Advent Candles represent. (his photo and explanation)
Let’s wait in joyful hope the coming of our Savior.
There are three things, my brethren, by which faith stands firm, devotion remains constant, and virtue endures. They are prayer, fasting and mercy. Prayer knocks at the door, fasting obtains, mercy receives. Prayer, mercy and fasting: these three are one, and they give life to each other. (Saint Peter Chrysologus)
The penitential days and times in the universal Church are every Friday of the whole year and the season of Lent. (Code of Canon Law 1250)
What is Fast?
“Properly speaking fasting consists in abstaining from food, but speaking metaphorically it denotes abstinence from anything harmful, and such especially is sin.” (IIa IIae, Q147, a.2 ad.1)
Why do we Fast?
According to Saint Thomas Aquinas for three reasons: ” First, in order to bridle the lusts of the flesh, wherefore the Apostle says (2 Cor. 6:5, 6): “In fasting, in chastity,” since fasting is the guardian of chastity(…) Secondly, we have recourse to fasting in order that the mind may arise more freely to the contemplation of heavenly things (…) Thirdly, in order to satisfy for sins: wherefore it is written (Joel 2:12): “Be converted to Me with all your heart, in fasting and in weeping and in mourning.””(IIa IIae, Q147, a.1)
Extracts of the Apostolic constitution Paenitemini (February 17, 1966)
“Abstinence is to be observed on every Friday which does not fall on a day of obligation, while abstinence and fast is to be observed on Ash Wednesday.” (Chapter III, II, 2)
“The law of abstinence forbids the use of meat, but not of eggs, the products of milk or condiments made of animal fat. The law of fasting allows only one full meal a day, but does not prohibit taking some food in the morning and evening, observing—as far as quantity and quality are concerned—approved local custom.” (Chapter III, III, 1-2)
A person who is to receive the Most Holy Eucharist is to abstain for at least one hour before holy communion from any food and drink, except for only water and medicine. (Code of Canon Law 919)
Fasting in the Old Testament:
in the aftermath of sin to placate the wrath of God
1 Sam. 7:6;
1 Kings 21:20-21, 27;
Jer. 3:3, 7, 9;
John 1:2; 3:4-5
on the occasion of grave calamities
1 Sam. 31:13;
2 Sam. 1:12; 3:35;
Baruch 1:2, 5;
when special dangers are imminent
Judith 4:8, 12; 8:10-16;
Esther 3:15; 4:1, 16;
2 Chron. 20:3
in any case to obtain benefits from the Lord
1 Sam. 14:24;
2 Sam. 12:16, 22;
external penitential practices are accompanied by an inner attitude of “conversion,”
1 Sam. 7:3;
Judith 8:16- 17;
Zach. 8:9, 21.
And Love once again prevails. He walks toward his destination, renews his arrival and reaffirms its permanence. And Love once again happens. He fulfills his mission, reaching who was far, nearing who was close by. And Love once again confuses. He puts the world upside down in his madness to go insane until the end. And Love once again reveals his name, his address, His way of love. And Love once again dies to give life, to heal the wound and proclaim victory over the pain. And Love once again shocks, shocks with the courage of not giving up, of trying once more and another time again. And Love once again rises, renews our hope and encourages us in the struggle of every day. It is the extraordinary Mystery allowing the experience of the ordinary. And Love once again restores, opens a new path and certifies our faith as true. And Love once again enters, reinvents, suffice, and faces the indifference of what was once lost. And Love once again defies understanding and thought, going beyond the limits of reason. The path has already been made, the doors have been opened, Love has been done and did it once again, so you are all welcome to the Holy Week of Love …
Some time ago I did one of those little quizzes from Facebook, asking: How Canadian are you, eh?” It asked me questions only Canadians would understand (I’m exaggerating but some answers are understandable only by those who spent some time on the great North).
Today I was asking myself, is it by knowledge we can consider ourselves Christians? Is it knowing about our faith and the dogma by heart that we can consider ourselves really Christians? What is “the example” of a Christian? asking myself this last question I realized the answer was simpler than I thought: Holiness.
Holiness as letting God be God in our lives. Holiness is not the contrary of a life of sin. We are sinners and we will always be, so as we’re not surprised to see an orange in an orange tree we’re not suppose to be impressed to see sins in a sinner. Let me explain myself, this is not a matter of letting go and let sin reign in our lives, it is a matter of fighting to live virtues. St Thomas Aquinas I don’t know where tells us exactly that , we should fight sin by virtue. Our battle is towards the good not against evil. One can put eyes on the goal or look at the stones on the way, but I can guarantee you the one who keeps looking to the goal will endure everything to get there, but he one who look only to the obstacles will loose courage one day or another.
So the thing is not to look at ourselves or to our sins or (what is worse) to our neighbors sins because we are going to fall into sin for the rest of our lives. Just know that those who look at Jesus and try to be as He is “gentle and humble in heart”(Mt11.29) “will sprout wings like eagles, though they run they will not grow weary, though they walk they will never tire” (Is 40.31).
Let us pray for each other.