While the world has already been celebrating a very secular "christmas" since before the Thanksgiving holiday, Christians ought not get caught up in the emptiness of it all. Easter is now about bunnies and Christmas about buying and giving extravagant, and sometimes mountains of gifts for others. Some will give to God what little time is left over, and other believers will give Him virtually not time at all. Wtihin moderation, there is nothing wrong with gift giving. But that should come secondary to something else.....
We must all ask ourselves if the practice of our faith revolves around our lives or whether our lives are revolving around the practice of our faith. If we truly believe that there is a God who created us, and that Jesus Christ is the Son of God, Savior of mankind, who truly was concieved by the Holy Spirit, born of a woman, and died on a cross for us, then ought not life revolve around the practice of our faith?
If so, then remember that it is still Advent, and we are anticipating Christmas which is about the birth of Our Lord and Savior.
Pray Vespers During Advent
There are two liturgies and the one most known to Catholics is the Mass (or Divine Liturgy for Catholics not of the Latin rite). There is also the Liturgy of the Hours (LotH), more commonly referred to as the breviary or divine office. The main prayers of the day are Lauds (morning) and Vespers (evening). Most secular orders, like secular Franciscans, Carmelites, etc., are required to pray these at a minimum with Compline (night prayer) often recommended. Many voluntarily read the Office of Readings, which is longer, but quite rich with it's two, more lengthy readings. Most often, the first reading comes from the Old Testament, following on a theme pertinent to the season. The second reading very often involves the wirtings of the Church Fathers, Doctors and Saints, as well as other writers. Sometimes the second reading is from an important Church document. That is what makes the Office of Readings one of my favorite parts of the LotH.
Many lay people are finding the beautfy of praying the LotH, or parts of it, and some organizations have made it easy for anyone to follow. For example, you can go to DivineOffice.org and click on the different hours of the day.
As with any prayer, it should never be about what we get out of it, or how it makes us feel. That is making prayer conditional on our comfort. Prayer is most precious to God when we pray, even when we just cannot get into it, or are tired, or quite busy and stop to give Him ten minutes. With that, I would encourage you to use what remains of Advent and pray some of the LotH, especially Vespers. Make it a family thing. It takes a mere 10 minutes, especially without having to jump from one section to another in the online version, as you would have to in the book itself.
The beautiful "O" Antiphons begin tonight. Father Z has up an excellent post on this, with an indepth look at today's antiphon: "O Sapientia" (O Wisdom, who came from on High...).
The Christmas Novena is also, already underway. It's never too late to join in.
Info recently posted about Assumption Grotto and the Christmas Season
- Christmas Season Mass and Confession Schedule at Assumption Grotto
- Schedule of Christmas Season Orchestral Masses at Grotto
- Fr. Perrone discusses his first Orchestral Mass composition, to be heard for the first time this season at Assumption Grotto.
For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog
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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church; it is the disobedient who are held captive by the world!
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