Preparing the Way: Begin your Journey through AdventSaturday 26th November 2022
Another Church year has been and gone and Advent is upon us once again. But before we enter into this busy season of preparation, we’re taking a moment to reflect on what we really mean by preparation and what we are preparing for.
As we count down the weeks and days until Christmas, it can be easy to get swept up in the excitement of the season, but Advent offers us a beautiful opportunity to reflect on the past year, on our relationship with God, and to open ourselves up to His grace for a renewed life in Christ this Christmas.
Our Youth Ministry Team met with young people across the diocese for a prayerful retreat last month to explore this idea further and have shared their findings to help guide you on your own journey of preparation this Advent.
What is Advent?
During the Young Adults Retreat, youth chaplain Fr Richard Howard invited the group to reflect on a well-known story that is usually told after Christmas itself – that of The Magi.
Fr Richard explains: “I’d like to share a story that we’re all familiar with and have heard many times before, and I would like to suggest four things we might like to think about as we read the story in Matthew 2:1-12.
“Firstly, the Wise Men start off their journey with a fair amount of uncertainty. We don’t know exactly who the Wise Men were but the closest thing to a modern-day interpretation would perhaps be an astrologer. They had a background in understanding the night sky and they had recognised something in the star that was unusual. But they set off on this journey with uncertainty – they didn’t know the distance of the journey or how long it might take them.
“Secondly, the journey undoubtedly carried a degree of risk: it required them to leave their homes and travel to a foreign country without knowing what lay ahead.
“It presented controversy with the authorities. Their journey presented danger, particularly in regards to Herod and his advisers, creating tension with the authorities.
“But despite all of this, the journey brings them joy: “When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.” The Wise Men were rewarded for their efforts by finding the person they were looking for, but they also found joy in being able to give something precious of theirs away – by giving something of themselves.”
Fr Richard reminded the group that although the prophecy foretold a new King of the Jews, the Wise Men coming from a distant land are representative of all humanity, reminding us that Jesus came for all and calls each one of us to draw closer to him this Christmas.
So this Advent, we invite you to step into the shoes of the Wise Men, to open your hearts and minds, and to begin your own journey to a renewed, personal relationship with Christ.
Watch the video below to rediscover the story of the Magi and find questions from Fr Richard to help you reflect on this passage and how you can begin that journey today.
Begin the Journey: Resources to help you on your way
The Way of Hope
We are all familiar with the Way of the Cross in Lent but did you know that St Alphonsus Liguori wrote a set of Stations of the Nativity?
Inspired by this, our own Fr James Manock has written a new set of devotions called The Way of Hope – The Stations of Advent.
Click here to download your own copy now.
Pray as you Go
These daily meditations from the Jesuits in Britain are a fantastic addition to your daily prayer life. Click here to begin praying now!
Take a few minutes out each day to reflect and spend time in God’s presence. The Three-Minute retreats from Loyola Press are guided reflections to help you on your spiritual journey.
Advent Prayer Calendars
The Parish of St Vincent de Paul in Norden has created two wonderful prayer calendars for children and adults this Advent.
The Prayer Calendar for adults invites you to take a few minutes each day to reflect on different scripture passages and explore how the words may be speaking to you.
Meanwhile, the children’s version is a helpful guide through prayer, scripture, and acts of kindness help us better understand the true joy and peace of Christmas.
Arts & Faith: Advent
Discover a new way of exploring scripture this Advent through the study of beautiful artwork with Arts & Faith: Advent from Loyola Press. This powerful combination of video, prayer, and scripture invites you to approach this season’s readings in a new way this Advent.
Click here for more.
Preparing the Way for Advent with the Gospel of Matthew
Join us this Advent as we journey towards Christmas with Saint Matthew. On Sunday 27th November, we will begin reading one chapter of the Gospel each evening. The Gospel contains 28 chapters, meaning on Christmas Eve, you will have read an entire account of Jesus’ life, renewing the sense of why we celebrate Christmas within ourselves.