They’re here!! I love the O Antiphons of Advent. These ancient prayers are what make up the text to my favorite Advent hymn O Come O Come Emmanuel. I never get tired of it. The O Antiphons are used as part of Evening Prayer the last 7 days before Christmas Eve. So today is the first day:
O Wisdom of our God Most High,
guiding creation with power and love:
come to teach us the path of knowledge!
Each of these 7 days I’m going to be posting on the Daily Graces Facebook page which Antiphon is for their day as well as a short prayer that echoes the idea of that antiphon.
If you haven’t already, check out the page and be sure to “like” it so you get all the Antiphons. I’m purposefully not posting these daily in the blog in an effort to decrease email traffic during these last days of Advent. I don’t know about you but my email has been exploding the last two weeks with sales, promotions and gift guides. While one or two were genuinely helpful, it’s been a chore to go through and delete delete delete.
If you’re trying to spend time away from your computer or phone to help you better prepare your heart for Jesus’ birth, be sure to check out the USCCB page which has all the Antiphons listed. You can copy them down and pray them each day without needing any technology besides pen and paper! Or if you have access to Evening Prayer the Antiphons are listed there as well.
Well I’m not used to posting from my phone and accidentally published this before it was finished! I wanted to wish you all a blessed Gaudete Sunday, a Happy Advent and a very Merry (early) Christmas!
May peace and joy always reign in your hearts and your homes
Well not you specifically of course! But you might be surprised how many times I have said this to our dog, Max, over the years we have had him. Whenever Max gets muddy we try to wipe at least his paws down before letting him back into the house. 1. He is a white dog so the mud really stands out and 2. the kids track in enough, I don’t need extra muddy footprints to wipe up. Nearly every time I have to clean him off he tries to escape around the 3rd leg. This leads me to inevitably complain, “Don’t you know you have 4 legs?! Stand still!”
I was sharing this with Ben a few weeks ago. I said something to the effect of: “You would think that even Max should be able to understand something so integral and basic to his identity. He has 4 legs. Period. Even if he can’t count per say, shouldn’t he at least be able to recognize that not all of his legs got cleaned off yet.”
As I was complaining, a light bulb went off in my head. We are just like Max. Not in that we actually have 4 legs (wouldn’t that be awkward), but that there are realities so basic and fundamental to our existence which we fail to grasp. We are made in the image of God. We have God’s life in us, grace freely given to us at our baptism. We have the opportunity to become living tabernacles, hold Jesus within us and letting His goodness, mercy and love shine through us. But so often we get caught up in the day to day, the sin, the temptation, the hustle, the bustle, the good times and the not so good times. We, or at least I for sure, lose touch with who I really truly am – a daughter of God.
Today is the first day of the new Church year, the First Sunday of Advent. Advent is a unique moment in the year where we are preparing for the coming of the Savior, Jesus Christ. Jesus, the most incredible and abundantly generous gift of our loving God, is truly God and truly man. St. Irenaeus teaches:
“For this is why the Word became man, and the Son of God became the Son of man: so that man, by entering into communion with the Word and thus receiving divine sonship, might become a son of God”
Advent is our opportunity to enter deeply into communion with the Word, with God, so that we might become a son or daughter of God. There are many ways we can enter into communion with God, especially during Advent. We can commit to a daily Mass or weekly Confession. We can carve out time for a Morning Offering or daily Rosary. There are many reflection series, both online and in print, designed specifically for Advent. Advent is an excellent time to explore God’s Word in a more prayerful and intentional way – have you printed out your free Lectio Divina journal yet?
Advent is a time to step back and evaluate who we are in relation to who God is. Who are we, in our most basic and fundamental elements? The Catechism of the Catholic Church professes that we are:
Made in the image of God (355)
Capable of relationship with God (357)
Willed by God into being – both body and soul (362)
This Advent, what are you going to do to help you reconnect with these basic truths about your life? Why are they important? What impact do they have on your life and relationships? And, how will they bring you into deeper communion with God as we await the coming of the Savior?
Can you believe we are already seeing the sign-up promos and reflection books for Advent!?! The years continue to fly by and I guess this year is no different. I’ll be honest, I’m already starting to get excited about the new planners that are going to be out soon. =) As Advent is fast approaching, I began thinking and praying about whether or not to host a series of Advent reflections as I have the past 2 years. The more I thought about it, the more I realized the web is now inundated with these reflections. There are so many, you could probably spend all day just reading reflections and still not get through them all.
The more I prayed, the more I found myself to feel inspired in a new direction. My prayer was informed by two things.
First, the highly anticipated Every Sacred Sunday Mass Journal. In case you missed it, here is my promo post from a few months ago. I am thrilled it is almost November and I will soon have this journal in my hands.
Second, I have been mulling over the Daily Decalogue of Pope John XXIII. This is a set of 10 short prayers or commitments that Pope John XXIII prayed each day. I intend to delve into each one of these in greater detail, possibly even one post for each one. We’ll see. For now, the fifth is the pertinent goal:
Only for today, I will devote 10 minutes of my time to some good reading, remembering that just as food is necessary to the life of the body, so good reading is necessary to the life of the soul.
So, where was I being called? On one hand, I have this awesome new journal resource that really helps me to focus in on the Mass and Scripture. On the other, I have a challenge to 10 minutes of “good reading.” As the kids would say, “Their powers combined created!” A brand new Bible Journal! I’ve never done anything like this before, but it was so much fun! What I have created is a Bible journal that incorporates Lectio Divina, the practice of slowly reading a short passage or verse and meditating on it. Lectio Divina is one of the oldest prayer forms we have — learn more here.
What’s in this journal, you might ask? Let’s find out!
A reference guide for what Lectio Divina is.
How to use the journal
One journal page for each day of Advent, including the regular Mass on Dec. 24 as well as the Christmas Eve Mass, and Christmas Day.
Each page contains:
Space for intentions, how your day is going, what are your thoughts before beginning your Lectio
Space to write your Word
Ample space for reflecting and praying your response to your Word
(My favorite) space to action plan for how to take your reflections into the rest of your day and through the season of Advent.
A Scripture verse or passage for each day of Advent, prayerfully chosen from the liturgical readings of the day.
An additional blank journaling page that you may print as many times as you want. This way you can choose your own passages for Advent or continue the practice after Advent is over.
Even more exciting than all of that is that I give this as my gift to you this Advent Season. This journal is completely and totally free. It is yours to download as many times as you want, to print as many times as you desire. Pick one, pick both. Print 10 and share them with friends or your small group. The sky’s the limit! Maybe you and your spouse are looking for a way to connect in a meaningful way this Advent season. Maybe you are looking for a way to incorporate Scripture into your daily routine or with your kids over the dinner table. There are so many opportunities awaiting you.
Below are a few more images to let you get a feel for the two styles. One style is a bit more curly and doodly while the other is less frilly, more straight lines. The content is exactly the same in both journals.
All you have to do is click on the link beneath the picture of the journal you want below to choose your pdf file. Save it to your computer and print the whole thing, print one page, take your pick.
And in all honesty everyone, I would love feedback on these. The good, the not so good and the what on earth does that mean?. If this is something you love and you found useful, I would love to share that joy. If you liked the idea but it just didn’t work for you this time, tell me why. How can I make this better or different? If, and I’m crossing my fingers here, if this seems to work I am seriously considering making a Lenten Journal as well and who knows, maybe even expand the idea further as we go along.
This is what I felt called to make this year for Advent and I hope and pray that it brings you peace, solace and above all, helps you prepare your heart for the coming of our Savior. Because, dear friends, that is what the whole point is.