Advent – A Penitential Season

In Day 1 of Fr. Robert Barron’s Advent Reflections – Our Tainted Offering, he says,

“We all know that Lent is a penitential season, a time when Christians get in touch with their sins. But Advent has a penitential dimension, too. It is the season in which we prepare for the coming of the Savior, and we don’t need a Savior unless we’re deeply convinced there is something to be saved from.”

At work yesterday, one of my co-workers and I was talking about the importance of prayer and penance in our daily lives, particularly we were talking about the prayers and offerings we can do for the souls in Purgatory. This then led us to the discussion that many have forgotten about the penitential nature of the Advent Season.

Like the Season of Lent, where we enter the desert with Jesus for 40 days, we should also enter a season of waiting for Jesus during Advent. This waiting for Jesus to come on Christmas can and should be done with the Blessed Virgin Mary. It is through Mary’s intercession, as our Advocating Queen Mother, that she will assist us in our relationship with Jesus Christ. Following the Church’s vision, we should go “to Jesus through Mary.”

Just like in Lent, where we Fast, Pray, and Give Alms, we should also fast more, pray more, and give alms more during this Season of Advent. Our Eastern (Eastern Catholics and Orthodox) brothers and sisters have not forgotten the penitential nature of this season for they mirror Lent during Advent every year. Although Advent may not be a “desert” for 40 days, we can still be sacrificial (we should always be sacrificing!).

I would encourage you during this Advent season, if you have not begun already, to do the same things you do for Lent – Fast, Pray, and Give Alms. So to give you a practical example of what you could do, I will share quickly my sacrifices.

Although I don’t eat meat on Fridays any longer (with a few exceptions), not eating meat will continue as a fast. I have also decided to fast from Facebook, going on only once a day (to highlight these posts and to post things on our parish page). I am going to spend time praying in front of Our Lord for 30 minutes in Eucharistic Adoration to increase my prayer life. For alms, I will donate a gift to the Christmas Giving Tree at my parish.

It’s my hope, since hope is another theme of Advent, that my relationship with Jesus Christ through the intercession of our Mother, the Blessed Virgin Mary will increase during this Advent Season helping me to give of myself more and more each day.

Let us pray, fast, give alms…wait with hopeful patience…and be JOYFUL!

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