Euchology for the First Sunday of Advent

During Ordinary Time the prayers for a given Sunday are typically used throughout the rest of the week, last week being a notable exception. During Advent, however, the Church gives us prayers which are proper to each day (unless different prayers are used as an option or because they take precedence). To help myself (and you) observe Advent in an intentional manner, I will offer brief reflections on these prayers. At this stage, I am thinking of only posting my reflections on the collects, but we will see what develops. Might consider making this a part of your Advent observance?

I hope each of you has a prayerful and hope-filled Advent as we await the Nativity of Our Blessed Lord.

Collect:

Grant your faithful, we pray, almighty God,
the resolve to run forth to meet your Christ
with righteous deeds at his coming,
so that, gathered at his right hand,
they may be worthy to possess the heavenly Kingdom.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

To resolve to do something means that one makes a firm commitment of the will to push forward until an end is achieved. Many trials, difficulties, and distractions can attack one’s resolve. For this reason, every person needs to focus his or her efforts on the thing sought. The image of a horse with blinders on comes to mind. These blinders serve to funnel the horse’s attention to what lies ahead. For us who want to be happy with Our Lord forever, a similar mechanism is needed. We can call this mechanism the firm disposition to remain steadfast in our living out of the faith. We must note that this prayer is not just an entreaty to “white-knuckle” it–this resolve is asked for from God. God gives us the gifts we need to do his work and attain our ultimate destiny.

Prayer over the Offerings:

Accept, we pray, O Lord, these offerings we make,
gathered from among your gifts to us,
and may what you grant us to celebrate devoutly here below
gain for us the prize of eternal redemption.
Through Christ our Lord.

I hope each of you had a great Thanksgiving. The night before Thanksgiving, I offered a sermon at the Interfaith Thanksgiving Service in Billerica, Massachusetts, the town where I serve. I noted in the sermon there is nothing that we possess that we did not first receive. The prayer over the offerings makes this clear because what God gives us gains us the reward of Heaven.

Prayer after Communion:

May these mysteries, O Lord,
in which we have participated,
profit us, we pray,
for even now, as we walk amid passing things,
you teach us by them to love the things of heaven
and hold fast to what endures.
Through Christ our Lord.

Everything that surrounds us is temporary. The particular arrangement of the material things in the world is never permanent. People come and people go. Throughout history, nations have come together and nations and nations have disappeared. Even our own nation, great though it may be, will one day come to naught. Surely, this is an unwelcome thought to one’s mind. But, we are made for the Eternal City so no earthly city can fully satisfy. May we remember to put our hope in divine–not political–promises!

I would love to hear your responses/thoughts to the prayers of the 1st Sunday of Advent, please share them in the comments.

Don’t forget to check back here everyday between now and Christmas for daily Advent reflections on the prayers of the Mass.

This is the Sixth post in the series, “Weekly Euchology.”

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