Lighting the Second Candle
We light a candle today, a small dim light against a world that often seems forbidding and dark. But we light it because we are a people of hope, a people whose faith is marked by an expectation that we should always be ready for the coming of the Master. The joy and anticipation of this season is captured beautifully in the antiphons of hope from the monastic liturgies:
See! The ruler of the earth shall come, the Lord who will take from us the heavy burden of our exile
The Lord will come soon, will not delay.
The Lord will make the darkest places bright.
We must capture that urgency today in the small flame of our candle. We light the candle because we know that the coming of Christ is tied to our building of the kingdom. Lighting the flame, feeding the hungry, comforting the sick, reconciling the divided, praying for the repentant, greeting the lonely and forgotten – doing all these works hastens His coming.
The first and second candles (purple) are lighted.
Psalm 95: A Call to Praise God
Antiphon: Encourage each other while it is still today (Heb 3:13)
Come let us sing to the Lord,
and shout with joy to the Rock who saves us.
Let us approach him with praise and thanksgiving
and sing joyful songs to the Lord>
The Lord is God, the mighty God,
the great king over all the gods.
He holds in his hands the depths of the earth
and the highest mountains as well.
He made the sea; it belongs to him,
the dry land, too, for it was formed by his hands.
Come, then, let us bow down and worship,
bending our knee before the Lord, our maker.
For he is our God, and we are his people,
the flock he shepherds.
Today, listen to the voice of the Lord:
Do not grow stubborn, as your fathers did
in the wilderness,
when at Meriba and Massah
they challenged me and provoked me,
Although they had seen all my works.
Forty years I endured that generation.
I said, "They are a people whose hearts go astray
and they do not know my wayas."
So I swore in my anger,
"They shall not enter my rest."
Glory to the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit:
As it was in the beginning, is now, and will be forever.
Have courage, all of you, lost and fearful; take heart sing for joy; see how humbly your king comes to save you.
Reading (Romans 13: 11-12)
It is now the hour for you to wake from sleep,
for our salvation is closer now than when we first accepted the faith.
The night is far spent; the day draws near.
Let us cast off deeds of darkness
and put on the armor of light.
Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on us.
R. Christ, Son of the Living God, have mercy on us.
You are the one who is to come,
R. Have mercy on us.
Glory to the Father...
R. Christ, Son of...
Canticle of Zechariah
Ant. I am sending my angel before me to prepare the way for your coming.
To the Lord Jesus, who is the Christ, judge of the living and the dead, let us pray:
R. Come Lord Jesus!
Lord Jesus, you came to save sinners,
__ protect us in times of temptation.
You will one day come in glory and be our judge,
__ show in us your power to save.
Help us to keep the precepts of your law, infused with the strength of the spirit,
__ and to look forward in love to your coming.
You are praised throughout the ages; in your mercy help us live devoutly and temperately in this life,
__ as we wait in joyful expectation for the revelation of your glory.
Our Father. . .
Father in Heaven,the day draws near when the glory of your Son
will make radiant the night of a waiting world.
May the lure of earthly things not impede us from the joy
which moves the hearts of those who seek him.
May the darkness not blind us
to the vision of wisdom
which fills the minds of those who find him.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Being the second oldest of seven children, I spent a lot of time when I was growing up chauffeuring my younger brothers and sisters to various places for various activities.
Because one of my grandmothers also did not drive, I often would end up driving her to various events and activities as well. Now, I wish I could tell you my motives for being the family chauffeur were entirely altruistic, however it was simply the price my mother exacted if I wanted to use the car on weekends.
Now to be quite honest, chauffeuring my brothers and sisters around was no picnic. They were almost never ready to leave when they were supposed to be.
There were often unplanned stops and/or detours, and they were seldom ready and waiting when I arrived to pick them up. Worse, though, was the fact that their gratitude was almost non-existent — a fact I remind them of every so often, especially when I need a favor from one of them.
My grandmother, on the other hand, was different. She never failed to be ready when I stopped to pick her up and, in fact, was almost always waiting for me.
This same thing was true when I returned to take her home from wherever she had been.
Even in cold weather she would be standing either outside or close by the door waiting and watching for me so that I wouldn’t be delayed or kept waiting. And she never failed to express gratitude for the ride.
An Advent kind of person
My grandmother was truly an Advent kind of person. She knew how to be prepared and how to wait expectantly. Even when her timetable had to be adjusted, she never complained, realizing better than most, that time spent waiting does not have to be wasted time. It can be used for quiet reflection and interior preparation. It can be a time when anticipation grows and expectations develop. Or as in my grandmother’s case, it also could be used for a decade or two of the rosary for some of her errant grandchildren.
During the season of Advent, while the world around us seems to speed up and become busier than ever, the liturgies of this season call us to slow down and wait — to wait in joyful hope and faith-filled expectation.
And even though we know what it is we are waiting and preparing for, there is (or should be) a sense of newness and excitement about it. For the great miracle of the Incarnation did not happen once long ago only to exist now as a pleasant memory. Rather, it is an ongoing event.
God continues to touch the world with God’s grace and God’s love. At times, however, we can become so busy that this most basic fact can recede into the background of our lives, or worse, be forgotten altogether.
As modern day believers, we need to be reminded on a regular basis that the Incarnation — the Eternal Word becoming flesh — was and continues to be a wondrous event. The season of Advent serves as one of those reminders. It is a time of remembering, a time of quiet preparation, a time of waiting in joyful expectation, as we prepare to celebrate anew the birth of our Savior.
My prayer during the season of Advent is that it will be for all of us that special kind of time, that the dawn of Christ’s coming may find us welcoming him with love and open to his redeeming grace.
Father John Bauer is rector of the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis.
From The Catholic Spirit