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An outline of Adventus 30.

Updated: Dec 1, 2023




"Rorate Coeli Desuper et nubes pluant iustum" Is. 45.8


Drop down, ye heavens, from above, and let the skies pour down righteousness



Introduction


Adventus30 is a new way to live the Advent season, a penitential season, as the Church has lived it for centuries, but in our modern world.

It is important to recognise that while Advent is a penitential season it is not Lent, which is generally lived in a stronger penitential spirit. Advent, however, is also shorter, so in some ways there is no excuse not to ‘hit it hard’ so that you can then celebrate the Christmas Octave and 50 days of Christmas with great joy, having prepared yourself physically, penitentially and spiritually.

[For those who would like to do something more there is traditionally the St. Martin’s lent which you can find information here through the kind offices of Matthew Plese: https://acatholiclife.blogspot.com/2020/10/st-martins-lent-fast-of-advent.html)]

Furthermore, Catholics don’t fast every day or do penance every day during a Penitential Season. It is a fine Catholic practice to have a ‘day off’ on feast days of the Liturgical Year, and Adventus30 will reflect this.


In Adventus30 we will focus on four main considerations:


A. Prayer

B. Penance

C. Intention/Purpose

D. Accountability


A. Prayer


  1. Introduction

One of the key purposes of the Advent season is to pray more while meditating particularly on the Incarnation, the mystery that Our Lord became flesh and dwelt amongst us, and appeared first to us at midnight at Christmas.

The Church celebrates this feast not so much to recreate that event, but rather to focus on Our Blessed Lord coming to us in grace in human hearts. In this sense then, our Advent preparation is a ‘preparing of the stable of our human heart’ to receive the Just One who descends as the heavenly dew into our hearts.


To make the most of our prayer during this Season in Adventus30 we will commit to:

• Regular Morning Prayer Daily Meditation (usually within the context of the morning prayer)

• Evening Prayer

• Daily Rosary

• The St. Andrew’s Christmas Novena (a prayer traditionally prayed 15 times daily until December 24 for a particular intention)

• One hour of weekly adoration (where possible or a weekly hour of meditation).

  1. Meditation Guides

Every day (through the kind offices of the Iria Foundation) you can find on the website all the requisites for the programme. Search here: https://www.iriafoundation.org.au/adventus30


At the website (also available in a mobile-friendly addition) you can see a copy of each day’s Meditation during every day of Advent. [For those who wish to “detox” from peripherals and screens there will be available a simple PDF to print out the entire document as a book/booklet at your nearest Officeworks or similar].


Please use these meditations as a guide to meditating daily, the key focus of this entire programme. St. Theresa of Avila said once that meditation and mortal sin cannot exist together. If there is one, the other goes. So the true aim of this programme is to get us meditating which then allows us to begin in the spiritual life by overcoming, once and for all, mortal sin.


The Meditations are taken from Hamon’s Meditations [The texts are available in full here online: https://archive.org/details/alldaysoftheyear01hamouoft/page/n3/mode/2up or you may like to purchase the newly printed book here]. The aim is to have a concentration on the Mystery of the Incarnation and the Advent Season, but this does not have to be exclusively. The main idea is to be meditating daily on something of our holy faith, dedicating a specific amount of time, whether it be 5 or 30 minutes, to the practice of meditation, as a way to begin to include this in our prayer regime – if we don’t already – regularly throughout the year.


Basically, although slightly different, each of these “Meditations” will have a structure which involves taking up a point/theme, reading about that, then following with a pause (in time) to reflect on that theme(s)/point(s), followed then by what is called a Colloquy, or a direct conversation with Our Blessed Lord, the Most Holy Trinity, or Our Lady or the Saints, depending on the topic/theme.

  1. Morning and Evening Prayer

A set Morning and Evening Prayer is provided at the website link for Adventus (https://www.iriafoundation.org.au/Adventus30), as a suggested prayer regime for the period of Advent. Please use this, or alternatively your own. It is merely a guide to provide a structure to the process of prayer in the morning and the evening. It is not the Divine Office, or a specific formulary, so use it at will, or ignore it completely. You may like to print them out also.


The ideal would be to do your meditation in the morning (this is not in any way compulsory at that time, choose whatever is practicable time-wise) and so you can see that the meditation part can be inserted into the Morning Prayer formulary, quite easily, after the section “Ask God for the necessary graces”

  1. The St. Andrew’s Christmas Novena

Traditionally recited 15 times daily repeatedly from the feast of St. Andrew (30 November) until Midnight Mass of Christmas.


Hail and blessed be the hour and moment in which the Son of God was born Of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of His blessed Mother.

Amen

  1. The Martyrology and the Saints

On the page for Adventus30 posts will be made daily. In addition to the daily meditation, the text of the Martyrology will be posted. This ancient listing of the Saints who either were martyred on that day, or whose feast is celebrated that day, has continued to be read daily by priests and monks in their recitation of the Divine Office. It is a beautiful way to invoke the Saints’ witness daily, and, to realise how many of our forebears in the Faith suffered for it. This can encourage us in the practice of uniting our suffering/ penances/difficulties, with Our Blessed Lord, and the Martyrs and Saints.


You might like to read this out daily either privately, or, alternatively – if you have a family – it can be read after the Evening prayer over the meal. In which case the formula might go something like this:


  1. The Angelus is recited or sung

  2. Blessing of the Food (both said standing) is said or sung

  3. Then everyone sits [except the reader] quietly (no-one begins eating) to listen to the reading of the Martyrology (which is of the following day). The Martyrology is read by the reader standing. “The Roman Martyrology for the Xth day of December, 2021”…

  4. At the end of the Martyrology all say “Deo Gratias” or “Thanks be to God” and make the sign of the Cross and ‘tuck in’ to the meal.


Also, during the Advent period, where a Saints’ day occurs, a short hagiography (description) of the life of the saint will also be available on the Adventus30 page. You might also like to read this out too at dinner, or during family prayer, for example.


B. Penance


To ensure that the period of Advent is lived penitentially, it is considered opportune to adopt the following penitential practices:

  • No Alcohol during Advent

  • Make your bed

  • Sacramental Confession Weekly (if possible)

  • No social media except Saturdays

  • No TV/Movies

  • Cold Showers

  • Fasting on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays of Advent

  • Fasting on Bread and Water on the Ember days (20, 22 and 23 December)

  • No snacking between meals

  • NB: No fasting (i.e. feasting instead and a relaxation from abstinence from alcohol) on Second Class Feasts and Above (Immaculate Conception 8 Dec, Sundays) and Freedom from Penances/Abstinences/Practices on those days.

  • Acts of charity

  • Regular accountability to the chaplain (discussing with him (usually by short text on the App or by email) dispensations and variations to any of these penances (adding/reducing).

C. Overall Purpose/Spirit of Adventus30


The principal aim of Adventus30 is to prepare us to have a focus on the the great mystery of the Incarnation of Our Lord, revealed to us as coming in flesh at Christmas, particularly in our prayer life. The penance we do, helps us to detach from the flesh and its demands, and make room for the spiritual.


The Advent period is composed of four Advent Sundays, so the amount of Advent days can vary from year to year. It is roughly about four weeks and will include three Ember days which this year fall on 20 (Wed), 22 (Friday) and 23 December (Saturday). With the Vigil of Christmas (24 December) being a fast day, in this particular year the preparation for Christmas feasting will be preceded by a good period of fasting.


Traditionally, also, the Church makes a more intense (final) preparation in the nine days before Christmas, known as the Christmas Novena. Some additional practices, and a Novena Prayer will be added to the practices we have already adopted. There will be also an (optional) Novena in preparation for the feast of the Immaculate Conception. {Ask any of the Sisters I know, Fr. Withoos loves his Novenas! I just have so many intentions!)


D. Accountability and the Chaplain


  1. A weekly Colloquy (Zoom Meeting)


Once a week Father will preside at a weekly Colloquy a 30 minute zoom session, which is entirely optional. These are held at the following times, with a link provided on the website (and if we get organised will be emailed to you), and a recording made of the exhortation for those unable to be present.


Men

Wednesdays 7.30pm (Qld) (8.30pm(East))

Thursdays 10.30 am (Qld) (7.30pm Wednesdays USA Eastern)


Women

Thursdays 7.30pm QLD/8.30pm (East)

Fridays 10.30am QLD/11.30am (East) [7.30pm Thursdays USA Eastern]


In this weekly meeting there will be a short spiritual exhortation (from the chaplain) for the week followed by an account by each of the participants (completely optional) to share a little of their spiritual insights/struggles/difficulties etc. for that week.


Each participant is encouraged to share for no more than a minute, and of course can opt not to do so. In our experience these meetings can be a great way to be encouraged to stick to our Adventus30 promises when penances or prayer is being weakened by the demands of our world, by listening to the struggles and insights of our brothers and sisters in the Lord.


  1. The Chaplain


The Chaplain, Fr. Withoos, is there for your spiritual assistance during this time. For spiritual matters, please do not hesitate to contact him through the App on the website text known as Direct Message (or DM). Please feel free to set up a time with him (again by DM) to chat a little if you felt that useful. If you would like to vary any of the elements of the programme, please be encouraged to contact Fr. Withoos to discuss this privately by DM.


The Advent season, in worldly terms, rather than a penitential season is quite the anticipated Christmas feasting period. As Catholics, though, we live in the world but are not of it. Nevertheless, the reality of living in the world may mean, for example, that you have a work Christmas party that occurs during this time. Please do not hesitate to contact Fr. Withoos who will be able to vary your penitential practices, or give you a dispensation for that day/evening or whatever time period you require. A simple text to Father can achieve this, and will ensure that you don’t have to suffer qualms about not doing the programme properly, or feeling that your preparation for Christmas, or the penitential nature of the season has been compromised. Keeping that accountability to the chaplain will ensure a certain sense of penance regardless.


E. Finally…


Please do not hesitate to contact Fr. Withoos (frwithoos@pm.me) or Dylan Shogren (dshog@hotmail.com) should you have any further queries (or even suggestions) about the programme. For matters pertaining to the App and website, or administrative questions, Dylan is ‘your man’.


We hope you can, by means of Adventus30, get the most out of this wonderful season of the Liturgical Year, thus being able to enter more fully, into the joy which is the celebration of the Incarnation of Our Blessed Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ, made flesh for us men, and for our Salvation. A Blessed Advent to all!


Fr. Withoos and

Dylan Shogren



 


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