Advent begins this Sunday.
Most of us have an intuitive understanding of Advent, based on experience, but what do the Church’s official documents actually say about Advent?
Here are some of the basic questions and (official!) answers about Advent.
Some of the answers are surprising!
Here we go . . .
1. What Is the Purpose of Advent?
Advent is a season on the Church’s liturgical calendar–specifically, it is as season on the calendar of the Latin Church, which is the largest Church in communion with the pope.
Other Catholic Churches–as well as many non-Catholic churches–have their own celebration of Advent.
According to the General Norms for the Liturgical Year and the Calendar:
Advent has a twofold character:
- as a season to prepare for Christmas when Christ’s first coming to us is remembered;
- as a season when that remembrance directs the mind and heart to await Christ’s Second Coming at the end of time.
Advent is thus a period for devout and joyful expectation [Norms 39].
We tend to think of Advent only as the season in which we prepare for Christmas, or the First Coming of Christ, but as the General Norms point out, it is important that we also remember it as a celebration in which we look forward to the Second Coming of Christ.
Properly speaking, Advent is a season that brings to mind the Two Comings of Christ.