The weather has officially changed and we are now in the next season, autumn. Speaking of season changes, we about to enter a new season in the liturgical calendar next month. On Dec, 3rd, the season of Advent begins. What a great time of the year! What was once green for a long time changes to purple, I get to wear purple at mass, the decorations for Christmas start appearing tin the church h as will we in the world around us. There might even be some snow at some point.
The best part of Advent is that it culminates at Christmas, the Feast of the Incarnation (which is interestingly exactly 9 months after we celebrate the Annunciation of the Lord on March 25). "Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May if be done to me according to your word" ~Luke 1:38.
I like to think of Advent as a min-Kent. I suppose it isn't traditional in our part of the world to take on some sort of mortification or sacrifice during a joyful time of year like we are coming into, when we are anticipating the birth of Christ, but we could all use a little Lent in our lives more often than just in the spring.
in the past, both the Eastern and Western Churches practiced fasting of some sort during Advent. Around the 8th century, Christians would double-down on their preparations for Christmas. There was a beautiful "fast before you feast" attitude in hearts of the early Christians. While we are not under any obligation to fast during Advent, it is a tradition that we may find spiritually helpful as we prepare for the great feast of Christmas.
Drawing form the example of Christ and the disciples, early Christians saw fasting as a way to increase closeness with God through denial of self. Fasting breaks the enslavement to material objects (in this case, food) and :helps us acquire mastery over our instinct and freedom of heart", as the Catechism of the Catholic Church describes.
I would encourage everyone to consider an Advent fast to help better prepare the body and the soul for the feasts to come and direct our gaze toward the eternal feast of heaven.
Father Matt Humerickhouse