Advent and Christmas Reading

A peak into how some Dominican monastics keep Advent.

Starting with the prioress and then working down in Order of Profession each sisters lights the candles at the Magnificat at Vespers and the next day at the Alleluia at Mass. To watch the elder sisters light it one can only be reminded of the prophets waiting and yearning for the promised Messiah.

Advent is a penitential season, not quite the same as Lent but still penitential. We have the fast and abstain from meat on all days but Sundays and the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. All the goodies that come in as gifts are quickly stored away to be enjoyed during Christmastide.

The beautiful hymns of Advent are sung and the only Christmas music we hear are the pieces we are practicing for Midnight Mass. Most of us, if we need to go out to the doctors find the “muzac” Christmas music more than jarring. Our minds and hearts are filled with longing and expectation, silent and caught up in the great words of Messianic prophecies and then suddenly we hear, “Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer.” Brrrr.

A fun one here.

Mary asked, “What does my son’s birth have to do with snowmen?” “Snowpersons,” cried a young woman, changing the subject before it veered dangerously toward religion. Off to the side of the crowd, a Philistine was painting the Nativity scene. Mary complained that she and Joseph looked too tattered and worn in the picture. “Artistic license,” he said. “I’ve got to show the plight of the haggard homeless in a greedy, uncaring society in winter,” he quipped. “We’re not haggard or homeless. The inn was just full,” said Mary.

“Whatever,” said the painter.

Two women began to argue fiercely. One said she objected to Jesus’ birth “because it privileged motherhood.” The other scoffed at virgin births, but said that if they encouraged more attention to diversity in family forms and the rights of single mothers, well, then, she was all for them. “I’m not a single mother,” Mary started to say, but she was cut off by a third woman who insisted that swaddling clothes are a form of child abuse, since they restrict the natural movement of babies.

And, not really an Advent piece but it’s so rare to see, here is a Eucharistic Music Video.

And I just like this picture of Benedict XVI. Artful.

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