On the Eve of a New Liturgical Year

Today is a day of quiet excitement in the monastery. Everything in the oratory will have been burnished to within an inch of its life. Choir books will have been marked for the Advent liturgy, and there will be a rush to try to answer all urgent letters and emails before Vespers. Once Vespers has been sung, a great silvery silence descends, spreading like moonlight into every corner of the house. We are entering into a wilderness time, when we try to keep distractions to a minimum and concentrate on the Old Testament prophecies fulfilled in Christ. There is a luminous simplicity about everything which is at odds with the commercialism that often takes over at this time of year. It is a great privilege to be able to spend these few weeks apart from the maelstrom, but it comes at a price. Unless our withdrawal is for the sake of the Kingdom, unless we are genuinely seeking God and prepared to accept whatever he may ask of us, it is merely a form of self-indulgence. The old monks and nuns used to speak of ‘the Advent demon’ — the tendency for things to go wrong, for little typhoons in teacups to upset our peace and overturn our purposes. Let us pray that none of us is deflected from our purpose this Advent and that you and we together come to the safe haven of Christmas.

Please note:
In order to maintain a spirit of recollection during Advent, we try to keep correspondence/visitors to a minimum, so please don’t take it amiss if we fail to answer.


7 thoughts on “On the Eve of a New Liturgical Year”

  1. I love the Advent season! This year, I’m better prepared than in previous times, thus allowing prayer & focus for troubled relationships in my family.
    A blessed Advent to you all.

  2. My prayers will be with you as you start this time of waiting and preparation. May God give you a quiet time for your preparations for the festival of his incarnation.

  3. We, too, prepared our little home for Advent including the setting up the Advent candle wreathe and look forward to entering into the wilderness after going to Confession. This year our new priest will be offering Rorate Masses starting next Saturday morning at 6:30 a.m. We’ve never attended one before so this will be a special experience. May we be open to receiving the many blessings God offers us through Advent.

  4. First Vespers of such a great feast, I share your excitement. Such a beautiful antiphon, Missus est, and as difficult to sing as it is beautiful. Didn’t stop my spirits lifting though. Conditor alme siderum is my favourite hymn. Wonderful to think it dates back to the 7th Century, and of all those holy people who have sung this down the centuries. Hope you have a starry night too!

  5. Thank you for your reflection, and especially for the reminder to beware the Advent demon.

    I am holding you and your community in my prayers. Thank you for all you do.

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