Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Advent Wreath - The Candles Have Names

After purchasing candles for my Advent Wreath, I read the following on the back of the box:

"For Christians, Advent is the joyous and solemn season of preparation for Christmas. It is the celebration of not only the anniversary of the first coming  of Christ, but also the hope and expectation of His second Coming. Advent begins on the fourth Sunday before Christmas and lasts for four consecutive weeks.

"The most popular of all Advent customs is the Advent wreath. Many families still celebrate Advent today with a traditional Advent wreath arrangement, made up of a circle of evergreen boughs and five candles - four around the circumference of the wreath and one in the middle.

"The celebration of Advent is marked by lighting a candle on each of the four Sundays. On the first Sunday of Advent, the purple Prophecy candle is lit, reminding us that Christ's Coming was revealed to us by God through the prophets.

The purple Bethlehem candle is lit on the second Sunday, in addition to the first purple, offering light and guidance through the bright Star of Bethlehem.

On the third Sunday, the pink (Rose) Shepherd's candle is also lit, bearing the joy and glad tidings of the coming birth.

The final purple candle is added to the lighting ceremony on the fourth Sunday. This is the Angel's candle signifying Christ's presence is near.

Finally on Christmas Day, we light a large white Christ Candle to celebrate His arrival, the Light of the World."

(This description was found on a box of candles from Root Candles, Medina, Ohio 44256. I do not think that they would have a problem with you sharing this with others.)

I have known how the colors of the candles followed the liturgical colors of the Advent Sundays; but I did not know that the candles were named. I find this to be a prefiguring of the names associated (in German) with the three Masses of Christmas: First Mass - Midnight - Mass of the Angels. Second Mass - Dawn - Mass of the Shepherds. Third Mass - On the Day - (not titled in German) the Mass of His Birth.

A blessed Advent to you all.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

St. Cecelia

From the Martyrology for 22 November:

St. Cecilia, virgin and martyr, who, on the 16th of September, purpled with her own blood, departed to her heavenly Spouse....

The collect for her festival would mark this as an early addition to the commemoration of the saints.

O God, which makest us to be glad with the yearly festival of blessed Cecilia thy Virgin and Martyr grant: we beseech thee; that as we do venerate her in our outward office, so may we follow the example of her godly conversation. Through....

Cecilia was early recognized as one of the most illustrious of virgin Martyrs. Therefore, along with Lucy, Agnes, and Agatha, her name is mentioned in the Gregorian Canon. But nothing can now be surely established concerning her, nor of her companions Valerian and Tiburtius, save that they were martyred and buried in Rome, in either the second or third century. The written Acts of St. Cecilia (on which this this Legend and the Propers of her Office are based) were probably compiled toward the end of the fifth century.