Catholic Candle note: Catholic Candle normally examines particular issues thoroughly, at length, using the teachings of St. Thomas Aquinas and the other Doctors of the Church. By contrast, our feature CC in brief, gives an extremely short answer to a reader’s question. We invite readers to submit their own questions.
CC in brief
Q: A Catholic friend (who considers herself conservative) told me that “we should not do penance during Advent because it is a time for rejoicing”. Is she correct?
A: There is a grain of truth in what your friend says, but she is “more wrong than right”. Advent is a time of anticipation (and preparation) for the joyful time of Christmas. We see this in the Church’s hymns: Advent is the time of Oh Come, oh Come Emmanuel, not the time of Joy to the World.
So, there is an element of spiritual longing and a spiritual joy prominent on Gaudete Sunday. However, Advent is a time of penance to prepare for the coming of Our Infant King. Purple, the color of penance, is the liturgical color. In Her liturgy, the Church emphasizes St. John the Baptist, with his calls for penance and preparing our hearts.
Like the secular world, the conciliar church seeks feasting with no fasting. All of us, Traditional Catholics included, do much less penance than we should. So, although Lent is a more penitential time than Advent, we should generously embrace Advent’s penitential spirit.
Lastly, we note that it is unfitting to have our Christmas parties during Advent instead of Christmastide, or to put our Christmas decorations up well before the Christ Child comes.