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.
Jesus said to the crowds:
“The kingdom of heaven is like treasure hidden in a field, which a man found and covered up; then in his joy he goes and sells all that he has and buys that field. Again, the kingdom of heaven is like a merchant in search of fine pearls, who, on finding one pearl of great value, went and sold all that he had and bought it.” (Mt 13:44-46)
Whenever I read this passage, I get strongly questioned. That Jesus is my pearl, I have no doubt. What wonder is if I’m ever selling my other goods to keep the One who’s good.
Yes, because it is past time that I had a sweet idea that you had to leave everything once for all. And at the beginning of the way, leave everything to God is so exciting! An almost certain consequence of an inflamed heart by the first love.
But when time passes and the Pearl begins to give us treasures and the challenges to stay on the path becomes very concrete and leaving all is no longer something that is only driven by emotion, reason gained more weight and the heart, that has been tested and proven by the fire of purification, seems a little more weak …
So I ask myself today: Would I sell it all again to be with Jesus and all that His holly Will chose for me? At this time, I remember what St. Teresa of Avila said, “If I had a thousand lives, Lord, you give a thousand lives.” But today, would I sell everything? would I leave everything? Would I resume the search for the Single Treasury?
Of course! No more through my strength, no longer driven by the lure of first love, no longer by persons or structures, no longer up for the benefits received by him on the way …But only for Him
Because until now, everything is gaining a price, a value, a weight. It seems that time has its ways of giving parameters and value to what we have. But today, the only priceless thing, countless and invaluable in my life is still God. The Pearl.
Today the decision costs more. It is less flowery. But it is more concrete. And even firmer. Even more impressive is that the crushed heart and reason without illusions seem to love God, more today than yesterday. Funny the way that God uses to enchant, to conquer … It is even true Perl, nothing to do lose their luster. Neither time nor pain.
I know it’s been a long time since my last post… I need to be friends with the time… Once again a post without preparation or thinking ahead (If I do that I wont write).
Well what is this post about? I thought about making a difference in peoples lives. These couple weeks I’ve been deepening my friendships, opening my heart and trying to make a difference in the lives of people around me, and you know what? It’s working 🙂
Sometime ago on my birthday one of my friends spoke that one of my gifts to the circle of friends was that I make the difference into peoples lives, that it’s difficult for me to pass unnoticed. Well since then I was thinking and praying and a couple birthdays ago I’ve finally realized why was that. I let people make the difference in my life.
Actually I do that by putting myself in other peoples shoes, I put myself on that person’s place and I think: If it was me on that situation what would I do? Or: How would I like to be treated? What can I do to make sure he/she is feeling comfortable around me?
I’ve seen that some people don’t want you to solve their problems they just want you to listen to them. I’ve experienced true friendship, with girls. Yes it is possible for a man to have real friends of the opposite sex (I don’t like the definition but I’ll go with that). It’s true people talk, we were joking about bets of how long it was going to take or which one I was dating, I had to answer clearly to one of my friends (a man BTW) that I wasn’t dating one of them.
Denise and Juliana in Fortaleza and another Juliana in Vienna, they have been examples of good, healthy and godly friendships the Lord gave me to live. I am thankful for them in my life. When we’re together we just openheartedly share our experiences of prayer, of offerings, of humiliations for the Kingdom of God, of God’s love in our hearts this way just looking at each other we can know what we mean and we support each other in His ways…
Thanks for reading, the goal of this post was only to make you a little more open to listen to people, let them into your life, the make a difference in putting yourself in their places, letting them change the way you see them. You are going to change peoples lives in letting them change yours. Big challenge. God asks us big things through His love. I’ll be happy in making people happy. Believe me that’s the way I do.
God Bless you!
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.