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Anticipation, Turn To The Lord | KFP Articles
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Saturday, 22 December 2012 17:19

What makes this time of year so great is how it enables us to live out the liturgical life of the Church.  Lived in its fullest the liturgical calendar for Advent produces a real longing for Christmas, a concrete manifestation of the Gospel story that generates the deep awareness of Christ's presence and the role of anticipation in Christian living.  There's too much that can be said for this time of year and all the theological themes that run through it.  For myself, Christmas takes on great importance such that living Christmas, and celebrating the Christmas vigil as a vigil of the nativity, in joyful anticipation of Christ's coming is something I won't compromise... for anything.  Could there be anything more important than preparing one's soul to anticipate the coming of Christ? 

Reflection on the O antiphons makes living the Advent liturgy a much better experience.  Thanks to Fr. Z and Dom Mark for their work on the O antiphons.  Here's a quote from Dom Mark's blog on O Oriens (from Dec 21st):

 Oriens was the name of the ancient Roman sun god, the source of warmth, energy, and light. At the same time, Oriens means the rising sun, the victory of light over the shadows of the night.

 From the earliest times, Christians at prayer have turned towards the East. Christ is the Dayspring, the rising sun who dawns upon us from high “to give light to those in darkness and in the shadow of death” (Luke 1:9). The eastward orientation of churches and altars is a way of expressing the great cry of every Eucharist: “Let our hearts be lifted high. We hold them towards the Lord.”

 Ad Orientem

 When, in the celebration of the liturgy, the priest faces the “liturgical east,” he is “guiding the people in pilgrimage towards the Kingdom” and with them, keeping watch for the return of the Lord. “This Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will come in the same way as you saw him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11). Pope Benedict XVI has reminded us that a powerful witness is given in the prayer of a priest and people who stand together facing eastward and giving voice to the same hope. “The Spirit and the Bride say, 'Come.’ And let him who hears say, 'Come’”

This is where I go during this part of Advent.  I truly feel that the participation in these days of Advent reflects the ad orientem of Catholic worship, that to anticipate Christ is to turn with others in anticipation of Christ's coming.  To compromise this reality with overly boisterous partying with coworkers, friends or even family, in my opinion, is an unfortunate distraction from the purpose of the season and our goal to prepare ourselves for Christ.  This antipon from Christmas Eve lauds says allot about our condition,"This day you shall know that the Lord is coming, and tomorrow you shall see His glory."  So, I'll approach this season as my opportunity to turn to the Lord in prayer and prepare my heart to live this anticipation in all circumstances. 

My family and I wish everyone a Blessed Advent and Merry Christmas!


Image from The New Liturgical Movement

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