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Advent Service 2020

CND Associates

Written by Associates Alicia Parkinson (IL), Aline Tetreault (RI), Mary Jo Hoag (IL) and Gwen Hoffman (RI)


“Advent is concerned with that very connection between memory and hope which is so necessary to man. Advent’s intention is to awaken the most profound and basic emotional memory within us, namely, the memory of the God who became a child. This is a healing memory; it brings hope. The purpose of the Church’s year is continually to rehearse her great history of memories, to awaken the heart’s memory so that it can discern the star of hope…It is the beautiful task of advent to awaken in all of us the memories of goodness and thus to open doors of hope.”

- Joseph Cardinal Ratzinger, Seek That Which is Above, 1986

Gathering Song (suggestions):

 “O Come O Come Emmanuel”, vs 1 and 2 or

Immanuel-Our God is With Us by Michael Card

Opening Prayer:

“The Light came into the world, and the darkness has never overcome it.”

Gracious and loving God, like captive Israel, we long to be freed from the lockdowns and isolation caused by covid-19.  We strive to be that voice crying out in the wilderness of this virus and political division in our country and in our world. Grant us the strength, the hope and the courage to make straight the pathways to peace, raise up the valleys of despair, grief and poverty and bring down the mountains of oppression and inequality. May this Advent sharing today move us beyond the darkness of these days toward your light and truly make us into an Advent people, a people of healing and of hope, in the midst of the darkness.         Amen.

Opening Ritual (Option 1): (from Richard Rohr’s Daily Meditation on Julian of Norwich)

Julian wrote, “The fruit and the purpose of prayer is to be oned with and like God in all things.” Take a few minutes to let your heart and mind’s attention sink deeper into your body, to remember your being’s inherent oneness, through these simple words, postures, and intentions (the words are from the Order of Julian’s motto):

AWAIT (hands at waist, cupped up to receive): Await God’s presence, not as you expect, hope, or imagine, but just as it is in this moment.
ALLOW (reach up, hands open): Allow a sense of God’s presence (or not) to come and be what it is, without meeting your expectations.
ACCEPT (hands at heart, cupped towards body): Accept as a gift whatever comes or does not come. Accept that you are not in charge. Accept the infinity of God’s presence, present whether or not you are aware.
ATTEND (hands outstretched, ready to be responsive): Attend to what you are called to, actions that God invites you to from this stance of openness.

Optional Ritual (Option #2}: Lighting of the Advent Candles: (Author Unknown) Loyola Press Resources

1st Candle (purple): All-powerful God, increase our strength of will for doing good that Christ may find an eager welcome at his coming and call us to his side in the kingdom of heaven.

2nd Candle: (purple): God of power and mercy open our hearts in welcome. Remove the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy so that we may share his wisdom and become one with him when he comes in glory.

3rd Candle (rose): Lord God, my we, your people, who look forward to the birthday of Christ experience the joy of salvation and celebrate that feast with love and thanksgiving.

4th Candle (purple): Father, all-powerful God, your eternal Word took flesh on our earth when the Virgin Mary placed her life at the service of your plan. Lift our minds in watchful hope to hear the voice which announces his glory and open our minds to receive the Spirit who prepares us for his coming.

All: We ask all this through Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, forever and ever. Amen

Reader #1: First Coming by Madeleine L’Engle

He did not wait till the world was ready,
till men and nations were at peace.
He came when the Heavens were unsteady,
and prisoners cried out for release.

He did not wait for the perfect time.
He came when the need was deep and great.
He dined with sinners in all their grime,
turned water into wine.

He did not wait till hearts were pure.
In joy he came to a tarnished world of sin and doubt.
To a world like ours, of anguished shame
he came, and his Light would not go out.

He came to a world which did not mesh,
to heal its tangles, shield its scorn.
In the mystery of the Word made Flesh
the Maker of the stars was born.

We cannot wait till the world is sane
to raise our songs with joyful voice,
for to share our grief, to touch our pain,
He came with Love: Rejoice! Rejoice!

Reader #2 - Luke 1:46b-55

"My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit rejoices in God my Savior, for he as looked with favor on the lowliness of his servant. Surely, from now on all generations will call me blessed; for the Mighty One has done great things for me, and holy is his name. His mercy is for those who fear him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with his arm; he has scattered the proud in the thoughts of their hearts. He has brought down the powerful from their thrones, and lifted up the lowly; he has filled the hungry with good things, and sent the rich way empty. He has helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy, according to the promise he made to our ancestors, to Abraham and to his descendants forever.”

Silent reflection and sharing on the meaning of Advent for you this year.

Take a few moments of silence to reflect on the readings, prayer and song we have shared as well as your experience of darkness and light and waiting for Jesus’ birth in the midst of the Covid Pandemic. You will be invited to share a brief reflection by the moderator.

Intercessions/Prayer Circle:

“And then all that has divided us will merge
And then compassion will be wedded to power
And then softness will come to a world that is harsh and unkind
And then both men and women will be gentle
And then both women and men will be strong
And then no person will be subject to another's will
And then all will be rich and free and varied
And then the greed of some will give way to the needs of many
And then all will share equally in the Earth's abundance
And then all will care for the sick and the weak and the old
And then all will nourish the young
And then all will cherish life's creatures
And then all will live in harmony with each other and the Earth
And then everywhere will be called Eden once again.”

― Judy, Chicago

While we are not gathered in our usual meeting space to celebrate this Advent Season, we have become an Advent circle together during this Prayer service.  As we picture this caring circle of associates and sisters of the CND, let us bring our needs and concerns into our circle in prayer.  We will not speak aloud our intentions but will hold them in our hearts and prayers as we share a few moments of sacred silence together.

Advent Prayer

Lord Jesus, Master of both the light and the darkness, send your Holy Spirit upon our preparations for Christmas.

We who have so much to do and seek quiet spaces to hear your voice each day,

We who are anxious over many things look forward to your coming among us.

We who are blessed in so many ways long for the complete joy of your kingdom.

We whose hearts are heavy seek the joy of your presence.

We are your people, walking in darkness, yet seeking the light.

To you we say, "Come Lord Jesus!'


- Henri J.M. Nouwen

Closing Song (option 1): “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”, vs. 3 and 4

Closing Song (option 2): “Let the Valleys Be Raised”, by Dan Schutte

Closing Prayer (option 3): ‘Magnificat”, text and music by Mary Anne Foley, CND, from Ave: Songs of the Congregation of Notre Dame (CD)

Immanuel – Our God is With Us by Michael Card

A sign shall be given a virgin will conceive
A human baby bearing undiminished deity
The glory of the nations a light for all to see
That hope for all who will embrace His warm reality

Immanuel our God is with us
And if God is with us who could stand against us
Our God is with us

For all those who live in the shadow of death
A glorious light has dawned
For all those who stumble in the darkness
Behold your light has come

Immanuel our God is with us
And if God is with us who could stand against us
Our God is with us

So what will be Your answer? Will You hear the call?
Of Him who did not spare His son but gave Him for us all
On earth there is no power there is no depth or height
That could ever separate us from the love of God in Christ

Immanuel our God is with us
And if God is with us who could stand against us
Our God is with us

Immanuel our God is with us
And if God is with us who could stand against us
Our God is with us


Text and music by Mary Anne Foley, CND

Inspired by Mary’s Canticle (Luke 1:46-55)

Our being proclaims Your greatness, O God.  Our spirit finds joy in You.

For You’ve looked on us in our littleness: 

Now we are blest.

And You in Your strength do great things for us—Holy Your name.

Your mercy lasts from age to age

for those who seek your love.

The ways of Your power, O Holy One

confuse the proud of heart.

You put the mighty from their thrones,

raise up the little ones.

You fill the hungry with good things,

the rich go empty away.

For You’ve helped your servant Israel,

remembering Your love,

As You promised to Sarah and Abraham

and their children, love without end.





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