Advent comes from the Latin “adventus” and means “coming”. During this season we prepare our hearts to celebrate Christ’s coming into our world to redeem us. We also use this time to prepare for Christ’s Second Coming which we await in longing and great expectation.
There are many ways to spend the Advent season in preparation for the celebration of Christmas. The best way is to do some spiritual exercises that will aid and deepen the understanding of this beautiful season.
One good exercise would be to study, pray for and practice the virtues mentioned in a previous post, humility and simplicity. These were exemplified in the Blessed Mother and this season is certainly a season that includes her.
Another practice, that would put the soul in the spirit of Advent while staying attuned to Holy Mother Church, would be to pray the Collects for the Sunday Masses during Advent while lighting the Advent wreath candles:
I. First Sunday of Advent
Stir up thy power, O Lord, and come,that by thy protection we may be rescued from the dangers that beset us through our sins; and be a Redeemer to deliver us; Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit,ever one God, world without end.
May be said while lighting the first Advent Candle
II. Second Sunday of Advent
Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to prepare the paths of thine Only-begotten Son: that we may worthily serve thee with hearts purified by His coming: Who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
Often said while lighting the second Advent Candle
III. Third Sunday of Advent
We beseech thee to listen to our prayers, O Lord, and by the grace of thy coming enlighten our darkened minds: Thou who livest and reignest with God the Father in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God forever and ever. Amen.
May be said while lighting the third advent candle
IV. Fourth Sunday of Advent
Pour forth thy power, O Lord, and come: Assist us by that mighty power, so that by thy grace and merciful kindness we may swiftly receive the salvation that our sins impede: Who livest and reignest with thee in the unity of the Holy Spirit, ever one God, world without end. Amen.
May be said while lighting the fourth Advent Candle
One more beautiful practice during Advent would be to meditate on the richness of the words found in the Preface that opens the Eucharistic Prayer during the Mass. Read each slowly, reflecting on the words and their meaning. Let these enrich your spiritual life.
Come, Lord Jesus!