To commemorate the first day and the beginning of Advent, here’s a cartoon by a genius Doctor Who artist depicting Daleks as the Three Kings. You can find his other work at Daily Dalek: http://www.tonecartoons.co.uk/blog/
Advent is a time of waiting and preparation for Christmas. The word Advent is from the Latin ‘adventus’ for “coming”. The first purple candle on the Advent wreath is lit as we wait for the coming of the Lord. This year, I’m putting up my own virtual wreath on this blog, just as a reminder.
It’s the time to keep vigilant, to be aware, to be alert. Mk 13:33. For Catholics, the mass has undergone a little change, in the usage of words. So being alert is something we’ll be doing. Instead of reciting the usual words I’ve known since I can remember, there are certain new words that have been replaced so the English mass so it reflects the Latin rite more closely.
For those of you who don’t know, there is a fixed liturgy to how a Catholic mass is done. First it’s the Opening Prayer, the Liturgy of the Word (which are the 3 readings from the Bible, one from the Old Testament, second from the New Testament (usually the Letters of St Paul or any Letters) and finally the Gospel), Liturgy of the Eucharist and the Closing Prayer. It’s the same formula every mass except the readings are different for every day. So, if you were a cradle Catholic, you’d know every posture, every prayer and every step in the mass by heart. You’d even be able to replace the priest (not that you could) because you’d know EXACTLY what to do with your eyes shut.
It’s hard for you to grasp it unless you’ve attended one before. Since the 2ndVatican Council, the Church authorities have been working on making a better translation from the traditional Latin mass (Tridentine mass) to the English mass (Novus Ordo). When I say Latin to English, I’m talking about the usage of the language. About 50 years ago, Catholics all around the world had to learn the mass by heart in Latin, because all the prayers were in Latin. But after the 2nd Vatican Council, the English translation of the mass was allowed so the normal people would be able to understand what they were saying and participate more fully (the Tridentine mass was never scrapped. People are lazy so they opted for the simpler English one). However in the rush of translating, many of the meanings in Latin were misrepresented by our feeble English words. The words we normally use didn’t fully reflect the true gist in the original Latin. So after many many years of working on it, we now have the new translation of the mass. Latin is back when it comes to many traditional prayers like the Gloria, the Kyrie Eleison, the Sanctus and of course, the Our Father aka the Pater Noster. I’m a complete geek when it comes to dead languages so I am very glad to have the Latin back. It seems cooler. More solemn songs are back so the focus of the mass is prayer and the Eucharist and not which choir is singing for the celebration. People are more aware of the postures now like bowing at the name of Jesus.
As you can imagine, after practicing a certain version of the mass (not that the old version was wrong, it was just not as correct as the new one), people are struggling with the new one. Some people may complain but it’s a good thing. It keeps you alert. It keeps you awake. You’d pay more attention to what was going on. I admit, before I was so accustomed to knowing when to stand and when to kneel, that I zoned in and out of mass, like many lukewarm Catholics. But now if you aren’t paying attention, you’d stick out like a sore thumb.
Anyway, back to being alert. Advent is a time to recognise what God wants us to do with our lives. We need to acknowledge where we are in His plan and where we stand in our relationship with Him. We usually ignore the signs and turn the other way when God draws near. Maybe it’s time, in this next 4 weeks leading up to the 25th, to draw closer to God. To be watchful, to be malleable to change. Be more vigilant to the people who are in our lives, to know where God wants to us to be, to learn from what they have to teach us. The season of Advent is for preparation not only for Christmas, not for when He returns but for the presence of God in our lives every day. I too, am taking time out to discover God in my life once again; to stay true to my faith and to renew my relationship with Him. I have been too far away from Him and it’s time to make my way back. In the world full of malice and corruption, it’s time we all journeyed back to the One who made us.
Oh readers, if you could, say a little prayer for me: Pray that my dad will go back to my mom’s hometown for Christmas this year. Please please please. It’s been almost 15 years since my dad has been back there. It would mean the world to my mom and her side of the family if this was made possible. Just do that for me, for Christmas okay? Thank you.
Edit on the 29th of Nov:
This video may help-