There is an Advent calendar on our website 'Home' page and also in the 'Youth' section for children.
Advent is a time when we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus at Christmas and when we renew our desire for His second coming at the end of time. We should be praying to God for the theological gift of hope that comes from of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and the renewal of that gift in our lives. Hope is essential to the Christian life – it gives us joy, energy, enthusiasm; it makes us smile; it puts a spring in our step; it assures us that with God the impossible can be possible, that obstacles can be overcome, that the gloom can be transformed into light. More, it is hope that enables us to glimpse the joy of our true home in heaven. The weekly reflections below can help us on our journey of faith.
WEEK 1 OF ADVENT
Wassily Kandinsky, “The Last Judgment,” 1912
Arts and Faith invites you to take a deeper look at the Scriptures through artwork. Reflect, during Advent, from some of the work of great artists. At the start of Advent, the Gospel calls us to vigilance - to watch and be ready for the Lord of the house, awaiting his return. During Advent, we light the Advent wreath to prepare the way for the Light of the World, Jesus Christ. Let us pray to the Lord to guide us in our prayers and lives during Advent. Lord Jesus, you are welcome in our lives, but sometimes it is hard to open the door. Please give us strength to be open and welcoming, to see beyond the darkness, and to let the light into our own lives.
WEEK 2 OF ADVENT
Mattia Preti, “St. John the Baptist Preaching,” circa 1665
The voice of John the Baptist crying out in the wilderness and gathering great crowds invites us into the Second Sunday of Advent. We too are called to look beyond and see ourselves as part of a body of people who are gathered by the Good News. Like John, we are also sent to share the Good News so as to help open the horizon of possibilities that lead us all into God’s eternal love. Let us pray this week that the Holy Spirit will guide and strengthen us so that we can be true witnesses to Christ in the way that we live our lives. We do not simply hear about the prophet John; in hearing the Word ourselves, we are called to live prophetically and to prepare the way all around us.
WEEK 3 OF ADVENT
Domenico Ghirlandaio, “Preaching of St. John the Baptist,” 1490
On this third Sunday of Advent, we witness the prophetic call of St. John the Baptist to prepare the way of the Lord. St. John’s intercession is as intense as his preaching was - a voice that is still crying out with urgency, this time for the Lord’s Second Coming. His urgent voice comes before God filled with love for the Body of Christ, a love that seeks desperately to rouse this Body to readiness. When people ask us about Jesus or our faith, are we as passionate? How do we show our faith to others in our gestures, actions, and speech? Make way for the Lord, and let our hearts be filled with joyful expectation as he nears.
WEEK 4 OF ADVENT
Henry Ossawa Tanner, “The Visitation,” 1909–1910
Henry Ossawa Tanner’s realist depiction of the Visitation invites us around Elizabeth’s table at her house, at the moment when Mary arrives and greets her. The meeting between Mary and Elizabeth teaches us about the holy, which we encounter holy in the everyday moments of our lives - an arrival, a homecoming, a table set for a meal. But while we find holiness in this world, it is not of this world, that finding holiness is a glimpse of God’s magnificent otherness that beckons us to draw close, but also fills us with wonder and awe. May we find and welcome holiness in these last days of Advent as we await the light of Christ
John Singleton Copley, “The Nativity,” 1777
In this painting, Mary and Jesus’ immaculate presence contrasts with the roughness of the wool and hay, the sheepdog and the oxen, and the brightly clad shepherds surrounding them. In this, Copley offers us a visual reflection on the mystery of the Son of God taking on our messy, human flesh while remaining fully God. Our familiarity with the Christmas story often makes us forget about the difficult circumstances surrounding Jesus’ birth. Let us pray for people today who may experience circumstances like those found in the story of Jesus’ birth. Pray for those who are far from home, those who live in fear, and those who live in need.