Your Advent plans: What do you want from your Advent?

Advent remains a penitential season, but unlike that of Lent in many respects.  I think perhaps we can call Advent a season of penitential joy, or joyful penitence.  It is a time to prepare for the Lord’s Coming.. and He comes to us in many ways.  We should become reacquainted with our Christian watchword:  “wakefulness” … “vigilance”.

In this regard, I have a couple projects for myself during Advent, the beginning of a new liturgical year.

How about you?

What do you have planned for your Advent preparation?

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48 Responses to Your Advent plans: What do you want from your Advent?

  1. capchoirgirl says:

    A few ideas I have:
    1) Advent reading: Advent and Christmas With Pope John Paul II; Come, Lord Jesus: Advent and the Art of Waiting.
    2) daily Mass as often as possible.
    3) Weekly Holy Hour

  2. archambt says:

    Advent is hard as a student, since classes and finals serve to disrupt one’s focus upon the season.

    But, besides the Daily Office w/LotH Readings, I’m thinking of going through the Magnificat Advent Companion. And, with our Eastern brethren, joining in their fasting (but less intensely) with adding meatless Wednesdays to Fridays.

    I do like the penitential seasons best, I think.

  3. Non sum dignus says:

    Happy New Year!

    Four years ago, I quit smoking on the 1st Sunday of Advent and haven’t taken a puff since – Deo gratias!

    I’ve been struggling lately with different things. So I went to Confession today in an attempt to start the new year on the right foot. I’m hoping to grow stronger in those areas where I’ve been struggling – spiritually (overcoming doubts/despair/temptations), and physically (lose the extra lb’s I began gaining 4 yrs ago).

    I’ll be eternally grateful to anyone who could offer an extra Ave for the cause.

    May God shower His Graces upon us all and give us the courage to accept them.

    Buon Natale!

  4. prairie says:

    Daily reading/praying. No wine/beer/etc. til Christmas Day. Clean up the house a bit. Figure out where to put the tree (there is NO place for it).

  5. Supertradmum says:

    If possible, imitate the Byzantine Catholics, who do a variation of the following fast, which is called the Phillipian or St. Philip/s Fast.”The present liturgical pre-Nativity season was finally established at the Council of Constantinople (1166). The Council decreed that the fast would begin on November 15 and last until December 24 inclusive. Thus, there was created another 40 day fast.

    The pre-Nativity fast is often called “Phillip’s Fast” because it begins on the day after the feast of St. Phillip. The fast was introduced to prepare the Church for a worthy celebration of the great and holy day of the Birth of Christ. The regulations for the fast were far more lenient than the Great Fast before Pascha. Only Monday, Wednesday, and Friday were days of strict fasting without meat, dairy products or oil (in Slavic countries). On Sundays fish was permitted. Lay people were at first permitted to eat fish on other days, too, until the monastic rigoristic influence prevailed. It is interesting to observe that the famous 12th century Byzantine canonist Balsamon expressed the opinion that it would be enough if the lay people fasted only one week before Christmas. In 1958 a modern Greek author, Christos M. Enislides, welcomes Balsamon’s suggestion and believes that the best solution would be for the Church at large to abstain from meat and dairy products for 33 days. During the last seven days of the fast everybody should observe the strict fast. ”

    What we did in the Canadian Byzantine Church, was not to eat meat on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and no dairy on Tuesday and Thursday. I think that it is confusing for Latin Riters to get into the habit of this, but a variation would be useful and a reminder of the penetential part of this season. In the Byzantine Rite, Sundays are not fast days, and alcohol is not considered a fasting drink. As we no longer live in that community, I forget about St. Philip’s Day too easily. But, as we are Latin Rite, (temporarily had permission to be Byzantines because of where we lived, by the bishop), any variation is worthwhile anyway.

  6. Supertradmum says:

    apologies for spelling errors-trying to type with a blanket over my shoulders and arms is very hard….lol

  7. Jack Hughes says:

    1) Starting Divine Intimacy by Father Gabrial of St Mary Magdalen OCD
    2) Starting the Immitation
    3) Thinking about buying the Immitation of Mary
    4) joyful penitence by not eating coke, cakes, chocolate and crips (the last one after seeing a friend I haven’t seen in a long time )

    5) a job would be nice.

  8. Rose in NE says:

    In the homily today our Pastor encouraged us to give special attention to our daily examination of conscience during Advent. If we have not been making one, it’s a good time to start. If we have been making one, make it better. Zero in on a particular fault and make a concrete plan to correct this fault. Good advice.

  9. Mandrivnyk says:

    I’ve been asked to spend the next few weeks (well, indefinitely for all of the future, but especially now) reaching out to fallen away Ukrainian Catholics throughout our region, inviting them to consider returning to our parish this Christmas. So – lots of prayer, penance and planning lie ahead of me this season.

  10. JohnE says:

    I am doing a Jesse tree this year with my kids along with activities from HolyHeroes.com. It’s also a way to evangelize my non-Christian wife.

  11. Jack Hughes: 1) Starting Divine Intimacy by Father Gabrial of St Mary Magdalen OCD

    Great idea. I have it and will begin it now.

  12. RichR says:

    Learning a new prayer method (Divine Office in the EF). I hope Baronius Press will get its Breviary printed soon so I don’t have to keep grabbing my Latin dictionary and pocket bible.

  13. marthawrites says:

    Well, thanks Rose of NE, for suggesting daily examination of conscience, a habit I’ve never had and will add to my list which included increasing my daily early morning adoration time, serving more than two meatless dinners per week, no Sunday donuts, more spiritual reading at home than usual, filling gift requests on parish Advent giving tree, and–hardest of all–reducing my intake of Pepsi One.

  14. Mike says:

    Hmm. That’s tough. I think I will try more contemplative prayer, really speaking with Our Lord, close up, friend to friend, keeping in my mind his immense humility and his infinite grandeur.

    Also:

    *more intercessory prayer
    *less worry about things I have zero control over
    *more work done prayerfully

  15. benedetta says:

    I am networking with faithful Catholics locally to find peers for my family with similar values and vision; also I am going to feed my 10 year old son’s burgeoning interest in the ways of the knights and chivalry with more books on the subject and some evening read-alouds.

  16. marthawrites says:

    No to be forgotten: a family tradition of saying 15 x’s daily the Prayer to Obtain Favors, “Hail and Blessed be the Hour in which the Son of God was born of the Most Pure Virgin Mary at Midnight in Bethlehem in the Piercing Cold. In that hour vouchsafe, O my God! to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.” My mother taught me that prayer years ago and I’ve passed it on to our five children, all of whom say it during Advent, as well as my husband and I. It unites us wherever we are; I hope they are praying it aloud with their spouses at least some of the times. We start Nov. 30th and conclude Christmas Eve. I keep copies in various rooms throughout the house to refresh my memory and so that I say each prayer with meaning rather than rattle off five at a time. Reciting this slowly provides a lovely way to fall asleep at night, also.

  17. Fr. Andrew says:

    Continue praying my Rosary in reparation for the sins of priests and my own sins as a priest.
    Return to blogging: at least my homilies.
    Penitential cleaning.

  18. Dr. Eric says:

    My kids and I are doing a Jesse Tree. I said Vespers and Compline lat night from the app on my iPad. I hope to keep doing this throughout Advent.

    As an aside, we are putting chocolate coins in the kids’ shoes for St. Nicholas Day as well as singing “O Khto Khto” (St. Nicholas Hymn.). For St. Lucy’s Day I have finally convinced my wife to make eyeball cookies. I hope to be partaking in the St. Lucy Ember Days as well. I hope to figure out when they are before the Tuesday of that week.

  19. Clinton says:

    Like Jack Hughes @ 12:58, I’ll be rereading ‘The Imitation Of Christ’. I also found a copy of
    ‘The Essential Pope Benedict XVI: His Central Writings and Speeches’ and have that on deck
    also. Let’s see if I make it through both by Christmas…

    I’m going through the house cleaning and clearing. There’s something appropriate
    in doing those chores I’m not keen on during a penitential season and ending up with a clean
    house at the end. In a similar vein, I’m volunteering to do much the same at my parish, where
    the ladies who do most of the maintenance work in the church building and parish school can
    always use a guy to do some of the lifting and toting. And I’ll be making more frequent
    Confession in Advent, as part of the cleaning/straightening up program.

    I’m making a few donations to charities, and working with a group that brings sack lunches to
    day laborers looking for work.

    I’m also working on a Christmas letter to my parish priests, telling them how I appreciate them.

  20. Aengus Oshaughnessy says:

    I mainly view Advent as a happy time to catch up with old friends and spread around the joy of the season. However: I own an old-fashioned wooden ship, which I spend most of my time on, she’s my pride and joy. . . But, alas, she’s a little dusty. So, in keeping with the penitential bit of Advent, I’m going to thoroughly wash the decks and scrub away all the dust that has accumulated. (Trust me, that’s some serious penance.)

  21. elaurier says:

    I’m really liking the activities planned by Clinton and hopefully he won’t mind that I’m going to copy a few, esp the “penitential cleaning” one. Something about making the paths straight and decluttering in my own soul and home really appeals to me. Getting ready for his coming. This will be the first Advent and Christmas season in the Church for us in many, many years. I’m so thankful to be back! I will also get to work on a Christmas letter to our parish priests thanking them for all the spiritual counsel they have given me in the past seven months and also just for all the hard work they do. We are lighting our first ever Advent wreath candle tonight, and I have downloaded The Imitation of Christ on my Kindle for spiritual reading. For the first time in years, I am really, really happy and at peace.

  22. torch621 says:

    1. Divine Office
    2. Daily rosary at night in reparation for sins
    3. Abstaining from sweets

  23. kallman says:

    Reading the Gospels in the Vulgate to try and brush up on my very rusty Latin

  24. AnnAsher says:

    Disciplining my life and ordering my days in prayer. I’ve noticed I lack the discipline I desire in my children. Going to make the 1.5 hour drive to TLM one extra time per week (at least). Will read The End of the Present World and Mysteries of the Future life. I hope to be ready and have my family ready, to greet Our Lord joyfully when He comes again!

  25. AnnAsher says:

    Oh- and on this First Sunday I went to Confession.

  26. theckel@yahoo.com says:

    I have committed to the rosary daily, primarily to purify myself, but also to ask the Blessed Virgin to intercede for me, and open my adult children’s minds and hearts to His word, will, love and eternal mercy. I have also committed to increased and regular fasting and the elimination of alcohol.

  27. theckel@yahoo.com says:

    Someone mentioned the Magnificat Advent Companion, which I will use again this year. I also like the suggestion from a few about expressing gratitude, in writing, to our priests. In my case, I have so much to be thankful for in that regard, having been blessed by three truly holy, thoughtful, prayerful, faithful, inspirational priests at my parish.

  28. Clinton says:

    elaurier @6:51 pm, of course I don’t mind–imitation is the sincerest form of flattery. So
    thank you, and welcome back! Have a fruitful Advent and a happy Christmas.

  29. Agnes says:

    Keeping the Divine Office going – I’m an aspirant with the Secular Carmelites (OCDS) and I’m fairly new at it. I would like to see it become like clockwork. Keeping up with Daily Mass and weekly ‘fessing up (due to a rotten memory and routinely bumbling and stumbling along the narrow way).

    Daily Rosary – one of my biggest failings, I’m afraid. This will be a main focus as the others just sort of… happen.

    Help with the food shelf. Help a friend who’s recovering from heart surgery. Try to keep myself and the kids sane through some big changes. Focus on God and others.

    Try not to eat to much chocolate.

    Good ’nuff.

  30. Flambeaux says:

    What do I want? To know, love, and serve God in this life so as to be with Him forever in joy in the next. And to prepare my oldest for his First Communion while not neglecting the rest of the family.

    How am I going about it? In fear and trembling with the invaluable aid of my long-suffering wife.

    We sing Compline in Latin nightly, but the 3 year old and the 5 year old were most distressed by the disappearance of the Salve Regina last night (Saturday). So we’re reciting the Alma Redemptoris and then singing the Salve Regina. I trust the Blessed Mother will not be too scandalized by this deviation from the rubrics.
    And, while we’ve done the Litany of Loreto in October and prayers for the Poor Souls in November, I think for Advent we’ll sing or recite the Magnificat with its proper antiphons (in English) before singing Compline.
    We’re adding a family Rosary after sung Compline and adjusting the menu for nightly meals to take into account the various feasts and fasts on the 1962 Calendar.
    Advent Wreath, Advent Calendar, and Jesse Tree along with a tree trimming party on Gaudete Sunday.

  31. Mariana says:

    Pentitential cleaning here, too! That’ll keep me pentitentially occupied for the whole of Advent!

  32. Ame E. says:

    got to confession yesterday.
    work on a particular fault.
    reading book of Isaiah (through old Breviary)
    meatless Wednesdays and Fridays. Will probably add in Mondays.
    one retreat day
    one holy hour per week

  33. 1. Daily Mass
    2. Daily Office
    3. Daily devotion book provided by my parish
    4. Pray the St. Andrew Christmas Novena to help me quit smoking (I started again this fall after quitting for five years! ugh!)
    5. Overcome a few habitual sins – as another special intention for the St. Andrew Christmas Novena – and go to confession for the strength it provides.
    6. Work to repair a relationship with a relative.
    7. Not get caught up in all the trappings of the season but keep it simple and focused on the coming of the Lord.

  34. fizzingwhizbee says:

    1.) Divine Office
    2.) St Andrew Christmas Novena
    3.) Daily Mass
    4.) I finally picked up a copy of Pope Benedict’s “Jesus of Nazareth”, so I’m going to try and get through the whole thing.

    5.) I like the “penitential cleaning” idea too. :)

  35. JaneC says:

    Penitential cleaning here, too. We started last week, though, because of our other major Advent undertaking: having friends over to sing Sunday Vespers, and drink tea and cocoa and socialize afterward. Last night was a great start to the season for us–what could be better than praying and eating with friends? We are really looking forward to the next three Sundays.

  36. benedetta says:

    Also I have begun a series of meditations based on the writings of St. Pio compiled for Advent.

  37. rakesvines says:

    I plan to start the tradition of lighting an Advent wreath before the Sunday dinner. There is grace in celebrating this liturgical season. Also, it infuses the proper spirit of preparation and anticipation for Christmas. Look for pictures at http://divine-ripples.blogspot.com/ sometime next week.

  38. irishgirl says:

    Daily Rosary-I do it anyway, but during Advent (and ending on February 2 next year) I do the Joyful Mysteries every day.
    I find that music is a good prep for Advent. Yesterday I attended an ‘Advent Lessons and Carols’ service at the large Episcopal church in town. I also hope to go to a ‘Messiah Sing’ next month.

  39. Nathan says:

    In charity, could I please ask WDPRS-ers to add something to their Advent list? Today, November 29, Bishop Burbridge and the Diocese of Raleigh, NC, are starting a novena, leading up to the Feast of the Immaculate Conception, for Seminarian Philip Gerard Johnson, who is studying for the priesthood at St Charles Borromeo Seminary in Philadelphia and who is suffering from an inoperable brain tumor. The novena prayer is on the Diocese of Raleigh webpage: http://www.dioceseofraleigh.org/news/view.aspx?id=962

    Young Mr. Johnson is not only a good, holy seminarian who has helped serve at and promote the TLM, but is also someone who had to cut short promising career as a naval officer due to his illness.

    Bishop Burbridge is setting the example as a shepherd by having his entire diocese pray the novena to Our Lady of the Immaculate Conception for Mr. Johnson, and I would suggest that it wouldn’t hurt if we stormed heaven with prayer as well.

    Mr. Johnson’s blog is worth checking out if you want to learn a little more about him: http://philipgerardjohnson.blogspot.com/

    In Christ,

  40. Dave N. says:

    1) Daily lectionary reading, OT in Hebrew, NT in Latin.
    2) Confession
    3) Pray that our pastor’s bubble-gum pink chasuble has gone missing :)

  41. Aengus Oshaughnessy says:

    Torch621– You’re abstaining from sweets? (*gasp*!)
    Also, I forgot to mention that, though I pray the rosary daily throughout the year, I’m praying the Joyful Mysteries every day for Advent. And, I’m making an extra-special effort not to aggravate my sainted mother, who puts up with quite enough as it is.

  42. GirlCanChant says:

    For Advent, I am definitely making an effort to say Lauds and Vespers every day. Also, to pray the Rosary every day. I generally attempt this several times a year, but hopefully this time it will stick. No meat on Wednesdays, Fridays, or Saturdays – that should be interesting. Giving up chocolate isn’t happening, as my birthday is during Advent. Well, that and I just ate a ton of chocolate morsels. (Does that count as Confession?) ;-)

  43. VivaLaMezzo says:

    I am working through St. Louis de Montfort’s Total Consecration. As a former nonliturgcal protestant, some of this material is quite challenging. I didn’t think I had any Mary-phobias, but I still flinch at his unabashed expressions of love for our Blessed Mother. Anyway, my Day of Consecration is scheduled for 12/12/10. Prayers, please! Mortification – of any sort – is a struggle. I am trying to “do violence” to those desires of the flesh that plague me most. I am very much a creature of comfort…
    May you all have a blessed and fruitful Advent!

  44. smcollinsus says:

    Church music:
    1) Our DOM is busy working on new stuff for the season – more “chant-like” from his output over the last few years, so there’s work with cantors, etc.
    2) EF Mass goes on much like every year.
    Other music:
    1) My young lady piano student wants an organ lesson this Sunday, and I will give her some seasonal pieces to work on. She will also be performing in a “Christmas” choral concert in December at her school (public). I haven’t made it to one of her concerts yet, so it is my goal this season!
    Bell ringing:
    1) The group of visiting change ringers from the UK will be in town soon. I rang in a peal with them last year at this time, and they have invited me for another peal attempt at my church this coming Saturday.
    2) We don’t ring the bells at Sunday Mass during Advent and Lent, so we concentrate on practicing during these seasons.

    That all might not sound ultra-spiritual. But remember that good church musicians find meditation through music. The peal attempt, though not “liturgical”, requires 8 people to silently (except for the conductor) work as a unit (like a string quartet) for almost 3 hours non-stop.

  45. smcollinsus says:

    P.S. And while various diocesan and parish groups are planning “parties” during Advent, I suggested that we bell ringers wait till “little Christmas” (i.e. Epiphany) to have our annual dinner. The idea went over quite well, so we’re having it Friday night the 7th (which happens to be my 60th birthday!).

  46. green fiddler says:

    Thank you for so many wonderful ideas. I want to adopt them all, starting with daily examination of conscience and decluttering of my room as an Advent penance.

    Our traditional Advent wreath has been set up in its special place. Visual reminders are good. This Advent season I hope to stay focused and to spend more time in prayer. Also I’ve been trying to memorize some basic chants and will strive to add “Veni, Veni, Emmanuel” to my little repertoire.

    I’m very happy to have found Fr Z’s blog recently and look forward to reading more here.

  47. Taquoriaan says:

    I started my “Read The Bible in One Year” project, and after questions posted the first part of the planner on my blog. I also try to make a habit of posting daily reflections over there.

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