December 01, 2007

ADVENT 1 AND ADVENT 2

TWO SEASONS IN ONE


Most Catholics, even priests, seem to be unaware that Advent really is a season to be observed in two stages, each stage having its own character.

The Mass marks these two separate stages by giving us two separate Prefaces, one for the first stage of Advent and a different one for the second stage of Advent.

The Second Coming
The first stage of Advent begins with the First Sunday of Advent and lasts through December 16. The Preface of the Mass for this first stage recalls that Christ “humbled himself to come among us as a man”, but it quickly invokes our hope for the day when “Christ our Lord will come again in his glory.” Here is the complete text of the Preface of the Mass for Advent I.

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give him thanks and praise.
Father, all-powerful and ever-living God,
we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

When he humbled himself to come among us as a man,
he fulfilled the plan you formed long ago
and opened for us the way to salvation.
Now we watch for the day,
hoping that the salvation promised us will be ours
when Christ our Lord will come again in his glory.

And so, with all the choirs of angels in heaven
we proclaim your glory
and join in their unending hymn of praise:
Holy, holy, holy….

The Approach of Christmas
The second stage of Advent begins on December 17 and lasts through the afternoon of December 24 (thus being an octave). It prepares us more specifically for the coming solemnity of Christmas. The Preface of the Mass for this second stage of Advent recalls the prophecies of Christ’s birth, his life in the womb of the Virgin Mother, and John the Baptist’s announcement of his coming. Then this preface speaks of the joy that Christ give us “as we prepare to celebrate.” Here is the complete text of the Preface of the Mass for Advent II.

The Lord be with you.
And also with you.
Lift up your hearts.
We lift them up to the Lord.
Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.
It is right to give him thanks and praise.
Father, all-powerful and ever-living God,
we do well always and everywhere to give you thanks
through Jesus Christ our Lord.

His future coming was proclaimed by all the prophets.
The virgin mother bore him in her womb with love beyond all telling.
John the Baptist was his herald
and made him known when at last he came.
In his love Christ has filled us with joy
as we prepare to celebrate his birth,
so that when he comes he may find us watching in prayer,
our hearts filled with wonder and praise.

And so, with all the choirs of angels in heaven
we proclaim your glory
and join in their unending hymn of praise:
Holy, holy, holy….


3 Comments:

Anonymous Bob Farrell said...

Thanks for the clarification.

In response to the perception of most of the folks (kids) I know, I emphasize Part I almost exclusively in class, but I'm glad you've shown a specific defining point between the two foci of the season.

8:24 AM  
Blogger elena maria vidal said...

Dear Father, thanks for the Advent thoughts.

6:00 PM  
Blogger Daughter of St. John said...

Hmmmm, I never knew that! Thanks so much for sharing. The richness of our faith never ceases to amaze me.

6:13 PM  

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