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December 01, 2006

Comments

Esau

I don't have verification that St. Francis referred to it as the "little Lent."

Above all, Francis advocated the flexibility that compassion demands. Regretting the severity he showed his own body, Francis often reinforces the importance of caring for the physical needs of the friars: "Those who are forced by necessity may wear shoes, " and "those who do not wish to keep the little Lent (the 40 days following Epiphany) are not obliged." "All friars will keep the Lenten fast of 40 days before the Resurrection," he charges, "but, " he says in the next sentence, "in all times of manifest necessity the friars are not obliged to corporal fasting" (Ch.3). Moreover, since he recognized that every situation and place is different, when Francis prescribes the regulation for the habit of probation he also adds, "unless at some time the minister may have to make other provisions" (Ck.2). Regarding the prohibition of riding a horse, Francis, a man who clearly appreciated this animal as a symbol of elevated social status, does not hesitate to shun a false preoccupation with external appearances when one of his brothers is in need; a friar should not ride "unless" forced by manifest necessity or infirmity (Ck.3). Even obedience "in all things" to a minister is tempered in case it becomes evident that he is no longer qualified for "the service and general welfare" of the community; then the friars are bound in the Lord to elect another (Ch.8).

charles R. Williams

I think medieval Latin Rite practice was closer to the Eastern practice regarding fasting and abstinence in Advent. The traditional foods served on Christmas Eve are holdovers of these customs.

While Advent is not penitential, I think it is appropriate to avoid partying and extravagance prior to Christmas, add to our rule of prayer, give alms and make a thorough confession.

Dan Hunter

Penance is always an apropriate preparation for a devout soul,and what better time time to cleanse the soul,through penance than the weeks prior to God's Incarnation.
God bless you all.

HokiePundit

Charles R. Williams,

Not to mention that it makes Christmas that much sweeter!

RyanL

My priest differentiated the purples by showing how the Lenten purple is deeper and darker, signifying penance, while the Advent purple is light, like the color of the morning sky just prior to the rise of the sun (Son).

I kinda' liked that. Perhaps that's the intention?

Greg Elsbernd

Advent is what I consider a penitential season of joyful anticipation. Obviously if we were alive before Jesus was born, we would be anticipating the coming of the Messiah, which would give us hope. Since his ascension, we now have the hope of the second coming of our Lord. In fact this is mentioned in the Mass.

"Deliver us, Lord, from every evil, and grant us peace in our day. In your mercy keep us free from sin and protect us from all anxiety as we wait in joyful hope for the coming of our Savior, Jesus Christ.

Since Jesus birth represents more than just his first coming, but also his victory over Death, and now we await His second coming, Advent is a good seacon for reflecting on this. Hence the joyful anticipation.

It is also penitential because we must keep in mind why He became incarnate. That reasons being our sins. That would be why the season is also penitential. Our sinfulness was the cause of His birth and death so a penitential frame of mind is also appropriate.

Anyway, that's why I consider it a penitential season of joyful hope.

It is a unique season liturgically to be sure.

Christine

The fact that the Advent wreath has both pink and purple candles has always been a good reminder for me.

To me, the purple is a symbol of repentance...and it is always proper to repent of our sins, especially in preparation for the birth of Christ.

The pink is a symbol of the joy we should feel throughout the season of Advent...the anticipation of the birth of Christ.

Christine
TheWorld..IMHO

franksta

Francis fasted all over the place. The original Third Order rule of 1221 mentions both the pre-Easter Lenten fast as well as the "St. Martin fast," the roughly 40 days between St. Martin's Day (11 Nov) and Christmas, exclusive of those days (as well as Sundays and solemnities). And it's believed that he received the stigmata during another 40-day fast from Assumption to Michaelmas.

francis 03

Although I know it's not allowed, I find the practice of using deep blue-- the color of the night sky just before dawn-- as the color for Advent very attractive. Blue, while not a facially joyful, party-hearty color, would differentiate the tone of the season from Lent in a way that seems to fit the actual differences documented here.

4ddintx

My catechesis started in the Episcopal Church (as far as liturgical seasons go--I was raised Pentecostal). When we were attending a very high Church Anglo-catholic Parish, the priest did use blue for Vestments and candles during Advent. I asked him about it and he said that was the proper color in England, not purple.

Also, the thing that has stuck with me from my Confirmation class (also in the ECUSA, several years before my very weak RCIA class) was that Lent is a solemn, penitential time--preparing for the death of Jesus on Good Friday and the joy of Easter's Resurrection. Advent is also a time of preparation, but a quiet, joyful preparation as we await the birth of the Christ Child and his Second Coming. I always find it very meaningful when I am blessed to be pregnant during Advent and walk that road with Mary--waiting for our babies. The idea of two types of preparation for Lent and Advent and two types of waiting has always really made sense to me. There is overlap in making a thorough Confession and focusing on scripture and Jesus' life etc, but it's a different "feel" to it.

I'm glad to see that this part of my catechesis in the ECUSA was really Catholic. Thanks Jimmy!

4 ddintx --32 weeks pregnant and anticipating birth again, as the Blessed Virgin did.

Roman Sacristan

Adrian Fortesque has a little quip in his book "The Mass" when talking about the Gloria, "Advent was not considered a penitential season till about the XIIIth century. The omission of the Gloria in Lent and Advent is natural enough from its joyful character."
I would say some penitential aspect to Advent has organically developed in the West.
I would say that a spirit of penance is intrensic to that joyful expectation.
Similar to a all the work one would go through to clean the house and get everything tidy in preparation for friends and guests coming over. One can do penance and not be somber about it (don't we hear that on Ash Wednesday for even Lent?)
While the documents don't explicitly mention "penitental," there does seem to be some sign of it liturgically in the colors, lack of Gloria, and toned down music and decor of the church (which are mentioned in the documents).
Traditionally the vigils of major solemnities were penitential in terms of preparing oneself for the slolemnity.

Vox

Advent is definiteley penitential. And joyous. See Dom Gueranger's "The Mystery of Advent" here (toward the bottom of the page), if you like: Advent Overview (the liturgy referred to is the traditional Mass).

And there is this from my St. Andrew Daily Missal (pg. 6): "In the Middle Ages, the season of Advent, a time of preparation for Chrismas, assumed a penitential character something like Lent. This spirit of penance is still to be found given the expressions in some of the passages in the liturgy and in certain practices -- the violet vestments, the absence of flowers on the altar, the silene of the organ and the omission of the Gloria in excelsis at Mass. But the fact that the Alleluia verse continues to be sung at Mass on Sundays shows clearly that Advent is meant to remain a joyous season.. Originally it was so entirely, and so it has become once more with the very considerable reduction in fasting. This joy in approaching salvation increases as Christmas draws nearer. On the Third Sunday the altar adorned with flowers, the rose coloured vestments and the playing of the organ emphasizes the growing gladness. It bursts out in great antiphons at the Magnificat which are sung to the sound of the ringing bells on the last eight days before the great festival of our Saviour's birth. And the liturgy of Christmas Eve is one long exultant chant.

St. Jimbob of the Apokalypse

I think that the penitential aspect of Advent is more of a metanioa on a general scale. to recognize the fallen state of Humanity that necessitated the Incarnation to begin with. We are lost, and in the dark, without Christ. The darkness is lightening with the approach of the birth of Jesus, which may explain the pre-dawn purple of Advent to herald the rising of the Son.

This might be helpful:

http://www.intermirifica.org/advent/hisad.htm

James Maliszewski

I asked him about it and he said that was the proper color in England, not purple.

The blue (and yellow) vestments you sometimes see Episcopalian/Anglican ministers wearing are appropriations from the old Sarum Use, a local variation of the Roman Rite found in the south of England. The Sarum Use was never widespread throughout all of England, where the traditional Roman vestment colors were the norm. I have no idea when Anglicans decided to adopt these colors, though I suspect it'd have been in the 19th century, when many Anglo-Catholics, desperate to provide historical justification for the existence of the Church of England, fixated on any unique elements of the pre-Reformation English church they could find.

Jim Cole

St. Francis' original Rule for lay associates, the Rule of 1221, mentions the pre-Christmas fast, which begins the day after St. Martin's feast (i.e., begins on Nov. 12). Article 9 of that Rule says, "9. They are to fast daily, except on account of infirmity or any other need, throughout the fast of St. Martin from after said day until Christmas, and throughout the greater fast from Carnival Sunday until Easter." There are a few associations of the faithful that have adapted the Rule of 1221 for modern life, and they follow the St. Martin's fast. (Two of them are the Brothers and Sisters of Penance of St. Francis and the Confraternity of Penitents, both of which have Web sites.)

The Eastern Catholic as well as Eastern Orthodox Churches observe a similar fast, St. Philip's Fast, which lasts from November 15 through Christmas Eve. (The rules of fasting for Eastern Churches are different than those for the Latin Church with which we are familiar.)

Jim Cole

Romulus

If we are waiting for a Savior, it must be that we sense something lacking in our fallen state. To sense this infirmity is to be led to humility. To know humility is to live in penitence. Despite all the happy talk, it's impossible to separate penitence from Advent without emptying Advent of its meaning.

Esau

Penance is always an apropriate preparation for a devout soul,and what better time time to cleanse the soul, through penance than the weeks prior to God's Incarnation.
God bless you all.

DAN HUNTER:
Thanks for that!

I think Dan has got it right here.

Being that we are getting ready for the commemoration of the birth and the anticipation of the return of the King, as Jimmy had mentioned above;

What's more appropriate than preparing our very souls, the Temple of the Holy Spirit, for his arrival into our hearts by such penance and cleansing!

Dan Hunter & John (jtnova),
In spite of our differences of opinion in the past concerning Vatican II, I do admire those traditional values that seems to have been conveniently tucked away in certain areas of today's brand of Catholicism.

Thanks for reminding us of their virtue!

Hopefully, in the future, we can also re-capture the piety that once was in the Catholic Church!

John Lilburne

The Rite of Marriage Introduction seemed to consider days of Advent as days of Penance:
"11. ... When a marriage is celebrated during Advent or Lent or other days of penance, the parish priest should advise the couple to take into consideration the special nature of these liturgical seasons."
The decree for this is dated 19 March 1969. So perhaps there was a change between 1969 and the 1983 Code of Canon Law.
(Reference: The Rites Volume One, Liturgical Press, 1990, ISBN: 0-8146-6015-0, page 11).

My Cat's Name Is Lily

"The blue (and yellow) vestments you sometimes see Episcopalian/Anglican ministers wearing are appropriations from the old Sarum Use, a local variation of the Roman Rite found in the south of England. The Sarum Use was never widespread throughout all of England, where the traditional Roman vestment colors were the norm. I have no idea when Anglicans decided to adopt these colors, though I suspect it'd have been in the 19th century, when many Anglo-Catholics, desperate to provide historical justification for the existence of the Church of England, fixated on any unique elements of the pre-Reformation English church they could find."

I think it had to be earlier than that;we Methodists have always, so far as I am aware, used blue for advent. That would put us back at least as far as the 18th century....presumably the practice of the Wesley brothers, carried over from the Church of their birth, ordination, & let us add, the Church in which they remained all their lives. (Myths to the contrary not withstanding).


Kirk

There seems to be a quite fascinating and fluctuating history about Advent. However, the question is not about local or historical practices or the apparent appropriateness of penance during this time. The question is about what is the Church's mind, as expressed in her offical documents, meant to bind the faithful the worldover, concerning how Catholics are to live Advent.

There appears to be no such document that requires Catholic to engage in penance (fasting or abstinence from food or anything else) during Advent. Therefore, it seems that the general call to penance that we all always and everywhere are called to is applicable, but not penance above and beyond the general call, as so exists in Lent.

Then again, if any particular person wants to perform more penance during Advent, that is not prohibited and may even be very santifying. However, an issue to be careful about is placing burdens on oneself and on others that the Church herself does not place. That is not to say that the Church is placing before us the optimal situation when she binds us with certain laws. For example, she certainly does not mean to say we should only receive Communion once a year though technically that is all she requires.

It seems one first must know what the Church requires and then discern personally how to live that, with the help of the Church and her saints, and then discern how to live the further call to perfection in one's own life, again with the wisdom of the Church and her saints.

Roman Sacristan

True, there needs to be a specification on the question: What are we canoically (legally) obliged to do during Advent? and What is the nature of Advent?

I attempted to answer this:
http://romansacristan.blogspot.com/2006/12/is-advent-penitential.html

Michael

Your scholarship, Roman Sacristan, and your editorial refinement of this thread, back to its essential filament, Kirk, are deliciously liberating.(If you haven't been to R.S.'s site above, you're missing a chance to read the virtue of the above conversation entirely according to its original promise, and without its eventual detours and accidents.)

Thanks to you two (since now there's been "'nough said," and enough said about what's been said), I'm free to pursue the application of its principles, and even perhaps to generalize them for practicability's sake?

Might we suggest that, since Lent's penitential character is DIRECT-- urging us to SEEK the mortification of penance (all while showing a clean poker face); whereas Advent's penitential character is INDIRECT-- a by-product of our direct aim to celebrate Christ's present gift (incarnation) and prepare for his future gift (parousia)?

If so, then the INDIRECT quality Advent's penance should cause us not so much to SEEK the mortification of necessary penance, but to ACCEPT the mortification of(providentially) "accidental" penance.

An example of this distinction might be seen in Mary, (Jesus) and Joseph accepting the "accidental" mortification of traveling to Bethlehem at what seems like the worst of times, merely to render Caesar what was due Caesar, toward Christ's fore-known birth, all in preparation for the first Christmas; whereas Jesus later seeks the necessary mortification of traveling (through "Hosannas"), to Jerusalem, at what seemed like the best of times, toward his fore-known death, all in preparation for the first Easter.

As I sit here pondering the difference between the 2 holidays' penitential characters, eating mixed nuts, if I accidentally eat a Macadamia nut, I joyfully accept it as the epitome of Advent's penance; whereas Lent would have me SEEK them out and eat them only!

Thanks again, and cheers on St. Nicholas, the Immaculate Conception (especially if it's your birthday!) and Our Lady of Guadalupe! (All this anticipated cheer is getting in the way of my mortification!)

AnonnyMouse

Well Jimmy, I just quoted you on C A Forum and got someones feathers ruffled.
Thanks for blog. Just to show how silly I am....I always thought the purple meant royalty..even during Lent....King of the Jews...etc. Never equated to penitential/purple. Of course someone had the bright idea of buying a new BLUE vestment for our priest this year...so now it is blue and not purple. I know it isn't right but there are so many things not right that goes on in our parish, I have to pick my battles.
God Bless

Esau

Of course someone had the bright idea of buying a new BLUE vestment for our priest this year...so now it is blue and not purple.

Uhhhh... AnonnyMouse, I think you should refer to My Cat Lilly's:

"I think it had to be earlier than that; we Methodists have always, so far as I am aware, used blue for advent. That would put us back at least as far as the 18th century....presumably the practice of the Wesley brothers, carried over from the Church of their birth, ordination, & let us add, the Church in which they remained all their lives. (Myths to the contrary not withstanding)."

AnonnyMouse

Esau,
Yep, I know it isn't right but as I said I have to pick my battles. We are receiving much DISLIKE from our priest because of other corrections so I am laying low and cool for awhile. Maybe I will try bringing it up to someone else so they can run to him....hmmm.

Esau

AnonnyMouse,

You seem to be choosing the correct course of action at this point given the circumstances.

After all, they've already been purchased and perhaps cannot be returned.

When I had cursorily read your post, I could not help but think:

Great... Another Protestant Catholic Church!

Don't get me wrong. I've got friends who are Protestants and live devoted lives to God. There's nothing deliberately wrong with them living out the Faith in the manner they have deemed fit for the Lord.

Moreover, Protestants aren't the ones that give me reason for concern; it's actually the Catholics!

Catholics who compromise their Catholic faith so egregiously would only help to further the protestantization (if that's even a word) of the Catholic Church.

Though, presently, this may appear to occur at the local level; however, if you end up with more and more Catholic churches doing the same thing (e.g., indulging in Liturgical dances and the like -- not to mention, the other popular liturgical abuses not mentioned here that are occuring these days), what's to be left of the original Catholic Faith?

I just hope that the order for the blue vestments was actually an inadvertent error rather than a deliberate subversive act on the part of the one who ordered.

Esau

We are receiving much DISLIKE from our priest ...

AnonnyMouse:

Mt 5:12 Be glad and rejoice for your reward is very great in heaven. For so they persecuted the prophets that were before you.

AnonnyMouse

Esau,
Thank you.
We were thinking about a passing remark such as,
"Boy Father, Your vestaments sure are pretty. They remind me of what the Methodists wear. I wonder if when they come into communion with the Catholic Church if we could get a variation of the vestaments, maybe a blend to commenorate the "coming back".
Or maybe not. I liked the idea of putting a bug in someone elses ear and letting them get their head bit off. Why share all the glory. ;)

Esau

"Boy Father, Your vestaments sure are pretty. They remind me of what the Methodists wear. I wonder if when they come into communion with the Catholic Church if we could get a variation of the vestaments, maybe a blend to commenorate the "coming back".

Or maybe not. I liked the idea of putting a bug in someone elses ear and letting them get their head bit off. Why share all the glory. ;)


Actually, trying to broach the subject like that through innuendo, particularly, through someone who might carry some prevailing influence on that particular person may work.

But, if the saying "Birds of a Feather, Flock Together" gives any indication of the truth, that connected person might very well be as dissident as that very individual.

Best of Luck though and, more importantly, God Be With You, AnonnyMouse! ;^)

It's nice to know there are actually Catholics who exist out there!

Hallelujah!

David B.

"It's nice to know there are actually Catholics who exist out there!"


And you needed AnonnyMouse to confirm that suspicion? :-)

Esau

And you needed AnonnyMouse to confirm that suspicion? :-)

Brutha,
Put it this way, with some of the Catholic churches I have visited in the past, I didn't know whether I was coming into a Catholic church or a Protestant one.

Hearing about folks like AnonnyMouse, this makes me all fired up and say out loud:
"Thank ya, Jesus!"

God Bless!

David B.

You should come to my parish, BRUTHA! You would know that you entered a Catholic Church :-)

Esau

David:

I appreciate the invitation!
Curious, what parish do you actually attend and where, if I may ask?

Sounds like a good one! =^)

Fr. Stephanos, O.S.B.

Year/Cycle A of the Sunday readings was the only set of readings before Vatican II. The Advent Sunday Gospels of Year/Cycle A retain strong themes of repentance and the penitential figure of St. John the Baptist.
.

David B.

Esau,

"what parish do you actually attend and where, if I may ask?"

If I told you, I'd have to kill you. :-3)

Esau

Uhhh... David B.,

Just because you said "You should come to my parish, BRUTHA!", doesn't actually mean I'd go there!

The only parish I'd even attempt to go the distance is one that offered the Tridentine High Mass, as I had done in the past.

If it's merely a Novus Ordo, I'm very well satisfied with the parish I currently attend already.

David B.

The parish I attend offers the Mass in part Latin, part English.


I Love the beauty of the Tridentine Mass, but I'm not very good @ Latin, so I really find it better to attend a
Mass that I can understand more fully.

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