December Triduum, 30 November-2 December

December Triduum, 30 November-2 December

Saint Cecilia Triduum of Prayer and Fasting

December 2023

30 Nov-2 December

This month’s triduum commences the same day as the annual novena of the Immaculate Conception. Advent is already a special time of Our Lady, as She is the one who, by her instant prayers and great desires, obtained the hastening of the coming of the Saviour. Our Lady is our first model when it comes to prayer and fasting. She knows how to pray, and her entire life was filled with the constant practice of self-denial. If these three days help to purify us, soul and body, and prepare us for to commemorate as worthily as we can her Immaculate Conception, they will have been well spent.

Advent also places before us the great figure of St John the Baptist, the Precursor of Our Lord. His austere life in the desert sets the tone for the Christian life in general, and especially for the time of preparation for the coming of Our Saviour at Christmas. It is one of the most tragic aspects of our modern western “culture” that the penitential season of Advent has been jettisoned in favour of a frenzied “ holiday season” of buying, selling and merrymaking. Let us remember that the merrymaking takes place AFTER Christmas, not before. The Church gives us twelve days to celebrate the birth of Our Lord, from Christmas to Epiphany. Let’s make good use of them. They will be all the merrier if prepared by some serious prayer and penance.

Finally, Advent is a time of patient waiting. We learn during this time to mortify our innate desire for a quick solution to our problems. Really, there is only one solution, and that solution is Jesus Himself. But Jesus is not at our beck and command. He does not come and fix everything whenever we want it. He wants us to learn to wait for the gift, to receive it from His bounty. If we live Advent in this spirit, it will train us to look at the entirety of our life as a more or less long wait for His coming at the hour of our death. In this way, Advent appears to us as it really is: an image of our brief life on earth, that concludes with the coming of the Eternal Bridegroom. Let’s make sure we are ready when that time comes, and as we do not know when it will be, let us be prepared everyday, awaiting with the love of the Immaculate Heart of Mary for the One who alone can satisfy all our desires.