Saturday, November 07, 2009

Living a Liturgical Life: Customs of Advent

It may seem strange, just on the heels of All Saints and All Souls, to be discussing the Season of Advent, the beginning of the liturgical year in the West, but in point of fact Advent is only three weeks away, beginning with the First Vespers of Sunday, Saturday evening, November 28th.

Accordingly, those of you who have taken in earnest the idea of living a liturgical life, you will want to begin to consider how you might manifest this, this coming Advent season.

The primary way to manifest this of course, as in all times of the liturgical year, is by way of the Mass and the Divine Office itself. By this, I am referring to going to Mass and praying the Divine Office of course. A further extension or supplement to this might also be found in the practice of prayerfully and meditatively lingering on the liturgical texts of the Proper, such as the introits or collects for instance.

Secondarily however, cultural and domestic customs can also be of importance for they can further tie us to the liturgical feasts and seasons in their own particular ways. Typically these are manifest through family customs of prayer and ritual, through special foods associated with the season and so forth. Advent is one of the times of the liturgical year which (like Christmas) has seen a number of rich customs and traditions developed around it, particularly within Northern Europe -- some of which have spread to other parts of the world as well.

Accordingly, it is our hope to pursue a consideration here in the coming weeks of at least some of these Advent customs and traditions, both for interest's sake, and also that it might be of some personal inspiration or use.

While the emphasis here is Northern Europe, those of you who would like to submit particular cultural customs associated with Advent from your own regions of the world, please do feel free to write in with them for consideration.

In the meantime, I am hopeful this will serve as a reminder that in establishing for ourselves or for our families a liturgical life, until habits and customs are firmly re-established, we need to make considerations and preparations for how we will approach this in our own circumstances, lest these opportunities and enrichments potentially slip by.

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