While Advent is the start of a new liturgical year, it has evolved to become many different things for different people. What is the real meaning of Advent? How can I allow this season to bring me closer to God? Am I doing it right? This is the perfect time to learn, reflect and prepare our hearts and minds for a deeper celebration of Advent.
The ShareLife Speaker Series returns with “What you need to know about Advent” featuring Deacon Michael El-Nachef, Jeremy Zou and Francesco Rampino, students of St. Augustine’s Seminary. This Zoom webinar will take place Thursday, December 1 at 7 p.m. To register, click here.
Below, the seminarians weigh in on the journey through Advent.
1. As we enter the Advent season, what is the “real meaning” of Advent?
Advent is a time of preparation for the coming of Christ. Our Lord comes to us in many ways, most evidently at the Incarnation during Christmas. Through prayer and expectant waiting, Advent helps us to have our hearts ready to receive Jesus, both during Christmas and throughout the year.
2. As Catholics, how do we prepare for Advent to make it a more meaningful celebration?
Catholics often see Advent (and Lent) as times where we must do something to show Jesus we are putting in an effort to make the season meaningful. While there is some truth to this, this mentality approaching these seasons is slightly off. The season isn’t meaningful because of what I do in my spiritual life; rather, it is meaningful because of what Jesus has done and still does for us.
Liturgical seasons like Advent, Christmas, Lent, and Easter are times of explosions of grace. Whereas Jesus is quietly at work forming our hearts unto His at every moment of the year, in these liturgical seasons he especially tries plumbing the deepest parts of our being for deeper conversion unto Him (since these seasons directly relate to the greatest mysteries of salvation – the Incarnation and His death and resurrection). Therefore, the Advent practices usually encouraged – Confession, charity towards the needy, more quiet time in prayer (either alone or before the Blessed Sacrament), light fasting – are not done for the sake of making Christmastime meaningful, but are ways we let ourselves rest before the Father to be loved, receive the deeper profound grace of the season, and let Him quietly work in our hearts the conversion we need.
Therefore, if there is anything one can do this Advent to prepare, Christ’s invitation is to change our mentality from what I am doing to make the season meaningful, to what He has done, is doing, and wants to do within my life to transform me more unto Love Himself.
3. What can we expect to take away from the webinar?
The speakers from St. Augustine’s Seminary will be talking about Advent in three parts: The First Coming (Christmas), The Second Coming (Eucharist), and the Third Coming (Preparing for Eternity). They will be sharing themes and practical tips for the audience to consider to make the celebration of Advent more meaningful.
St. Augustine’s Seminary is funded through your generous support of ShareLife.