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
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
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.