The first Sunday in Advent, Dec. 2, 2012, ushers in a time of waiting for the birth of the Christ Child. What better time to relieve the stress of the season, deepen our spirituality and strengthen our faith in the Cross as our only hope than to reflect on His coming in the manager in Bethlehem some 2,000 years ago.
Apostolates of the U.S. Province offer a variety of Advent resources to assist with spiritual renewal for the next four weeks.
Family Rosary, sponsored by the U.S. Province as part of Holy Cross Family Ministries, is offering a free, new mobile prayer app for Advent. “Family Rosary Christmas: Advent Daily Reflections” provides Scripture, reflections and meditative music for the season. It is available at m.Familyrosary.org/Xmas for iPhone, iPad and smartphones.
Ave Maria Press, founded by Rev. Edward Sorin, C.S.C., in 1865, is a major Catholic publisher and a leader in Catholic high school religion textbooks, parish resources and books on prayer and spirituality. Ave Maria offers a number of Advent resources in print, including two from Holy Cross priests:
- The Unsheltered Heart: An At-Home Advent Retreat (Cycle C) by Rev. Ronald Patrick Raab, C.S.C. Fr. Raab, a Holy Cross priest who serves at St. André Bessette Catholic Church in Portland (Ore.), offers a daily retreat for Advent that includes a pattern of prayer, reflection and action.
- The Gift of Hope: Advent and Christmas Reflections in the Holy Cross Tradition, edited by Rev. Andrew Gawrych, C.S.C., offers a Scripture verse and brief reflection for Advent through Epiphany with themes of the Holy Cross Tradition.
- Exploring Advent with Luke: Four Questions for Spiritual Growth by Rev. Tim Clayton guides readers to rediscover the power of the events leading up to the birth of Jesus through the questions in Chapter 1 posed by Zechariah, Mary, Elizabeth and the people in the temple.
- Preparing for Christmas with Pope Benedict XVI: An Advent Novena: This Advent companion is brief enough that it can be used whenever the reader has a few minutes to spare.
- O Radiant Dawn: 5-Minute Prayers Around the Advent Wreath by Lisa M. Hendey. The daily prayer book was created for use around the Advent Wreath with 28 devotional services lasting about 5 minutes each.
- Advent and Christmas Bridge to Contemplative Living with Thomas Merton. Part of a series, this volume explores the theological themes of Advent and Christmas through the writings of Thomas Merton and five other spiritual masters. It’s meant as a small-group resource.
- Sacred Space for Advent and the Christmas Season 2012-2013 by the Irish Jesuits offers daily readings and prayers starters for those on the go.
- Stations of the Crib: A Journey from Advent to Epiphany: Reflections that lead readers through 15 Stations of the Cross from the manger to Christ’s mission beyond it.