The Advent season is a time of preparation that directs our hearts and minds to Christ’s second coming at the end of time and also to the anniversary of the Lord’s birth on Christmas. The final days of Advent, from December 17 to December 24, focus particularly on our preparation for the celebrations of the Nativity of our Lord (Christmas).
In addition, the Church teaches that “when the Church celebrates the liturgy of Advent each year, she makes present this ancient expectancy of the Messiah, for by sharing in the long preparation for the Saviour’s first coming, the faithful renew their ardent desire for his second coming. By celebrating John the Baptist’s birth and martyrdom, the Church unites herself to his desire: ‘He must increase, but I must decrease’.”
(Catechism of the Catholic Church 524)
First Sunday of Advent
“May the almighty and merciful God, by whose grace you have placed your faith in the First Coming of his Only Begotten Son and yearn for his coming again, sanctify you by the radiance of Christ’s Advent and enrich you with his blessing. Amen.
As you run the race of this present life, may he make you firm in faith, joyful in hope and active in charity. Amen.
So that, rejoicing now with devotion at the Redeemer’s coming in the flesh, you may be endowed with the rich reward of eternal life when he comes again in majesty. Amen.
And may the blessing of almighty God, the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, come down on you and remain with you for ever. Amen.”
Blessing at the end of Mass for the First Sunday of Advent
Second Sunday of Advent
“It is truly right and just, our duty and our salvation, always and everywhere to give you thanks, Lord, holy Father, almighty and eternal God, through Christ our Lord. For he assumed at his first coming the lowliness of human flesh, and so fulfilled the design you formed long ago, and opened for us the way to eternal salvation, that, when he comes again in glory and majesty and all is at last made manifest, we who watch for that day may inherit the great promise in which now we dare to hope.”
From the Preface I of Advent.
Third Sunday of Advent
who see how your people faithfully await the feast of the Lord’s Nativity,
to attain the joys of so great a salvation
and to celebrate them always with solemn worship and glad rejoicing.
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.
The Opening Prayer for Mass on the Third Sunday of Advent.
Fourth Sunday of Advent
Luke 1: 26-38
Listen to, and read about the Advent ‘O Antiphons’