Preparing for Advent

During this last week of the Church’s year, we prepare for Advent. Advent is itself a time of preparation, so you may be wondering why we are preparing to prepare, so to say. Partly, it is a response to the unpredictability of life. How often have plans to read/do something been thwarted by minor domestic crises or the arrival of unexpected visitors! Partly it is to allow the significance of the season to register properly, which takes time and planning.

This week we shall be trying to  tidy up several ‘loose ends’. We don’t do much in the way of Christmas shopping, but what we do will be mainly done this week. We shall try to catch up with the most urgent correspondence. I myself have an ever-diminishing hope of redecorating the kitchen for Christmas and I know that Quietnun has a few private schemes of her own. Then, on the first Sunday of Advent, we shall enter upon three days of as near-total silence as we can manage. The telephone will be switched to answerphone; Twitter, Facebook and this blog will have scheduled posts (written this week); email will be checked and answered on an ‘as need’ basis. The monastery will be silent, except for the times of the Divine Office. The silence will not be empty, for it is in such silence that the Word comes to those willing to listen; and Advent is above all a time for listening, of preparing a welcome for the Word of God.

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13 thoughts on “Preparing for Advent”

  1. Silence with planning and forethought – I suspect rare outside the monastic life. In our parish we too are planning; for a parish mission which seems to involve as much food and driving as Mass, prayer and services. Bacon rolls after 7am Mass, x 5; soup and coffee after 11.30 prayer 12.00 Mass x 6; tea and biscuits after evening service 7.30 x 4! All of this in the 3 churches of the parish, none of which are connected by public transport, so the drivers have an important job.
    Will there be silence? I doubt it but I hope and pray, and ask your prayers that there will be a reinvigoration of faith and community.

  2. Sr. your blog has inspired me to try something similar at home….prepare to prepare. Three days silence from Advent Sunday appeals but working in A hospital and sharing home with husband means I shall have to “think outside the box”…a challenge but May God use me creatively for his purpose.

  3. I always feel a sense of suppressed excitement on the lead up to Advent and the Nativity.

    Perhaps it’s that sign of new hope that it always brings. Hope that we will all welcome Christ into our lives and that his peace and blessing will be on everything and everyone.

    But it’s also a great festival of the church and I love all of the worship and liturgy that it entails. Not so fond of the partying and commercial side of things, but welcome the opportunity to be with family and friends at this visible Christian time.

    I just hope that I never encounter the naysayers who seek to spoil or the Winterval people who deny the Nativity.

    I hope that your preparation brings the blessings and insights and brings more people to meet your community which is so inspirational to many here online.

  4. Prepare to prepare, silence…
    Yes, I feel this way as well. Like Portia above, your post inspires me. Thank you.
    Next week will be our last week here before we return to stay with our children and grandchildren for a while. Workers are due to come to finish off projects. Still I will do my very best to join my silence to yours.

  5. Today it is my 1 year anniversary as a Benedictine Oblate of a monastery in another country.
    Sadly I cannot be with my monks for the renewal of Oblation, but I can come here to your blog to read about silence and preparation.

    Your words resonate with everything I have witnessed in “my own” monastery. I know that the community I belong to are preparing to prepare, just like you will be doing in the coming week.
    I will be celebrating my day by attending Vespers at a Benedictine convent, and am so pleased to have this blog to turn to to keep the Benedictine values before my eyes every day.

  6. I find myself without a car and alone in the house for four days. Like others who have commented above, I am inspired to make this into a time of preparation. Thank you for sharing, and thereby allowing us to share, this custom of monastic life.

    But please don’t be alarmed if the reader numbers for this blog drop over the next days; we will be computer-free!

  7. Recent posts – of putting things right, on the Solemnity of Christ the King, and this one on Advent, offer so much to hold in one’s heart there is little room for words. I am moved.

  8. Thank you Sister for that. I too adore Advent and one of
    my favourite services is the Advent Carol Service at the Cathedral. It is so poignant and a gentle remider to me of
    those monks who sang in the Cathedral and the Chants and Carols now sung appertain to them. Its also the start of the Churc h’s Year and every year I determine to go to
    the Cathedral more but I am now offering service to them and am so glad. The service always starts with Aspiciens a Longe and then Veni Redemptor Genium. It is oh so moving.

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