Advent - the Mystical Monastic Season

I always thank God for my monastic vocation when the Liturgical season of Advent rolls around. We who are monastics are graced to have the time built into our schedules to relish the mystical reality of this time of waiting, pondering and pining for the Nativity. It is a wondrous and sacred time of preparation to worship the Creator in a cradle, the Word who has become wordless for us. Here are a few photos from our lighting of the Advent wreathe at First Vespers of the First Sunday of Advent that took place this past Saturday.

I pray that you our family and friends will make some sacred space to ponder anew the awesome mystery that will unfold in 3 weeks. I leave you with the holy words from a pastoral letter of Saint Charles Borromeo taken from Monday's Office of Readings.

Beloved, now is the acceptable time spoken of by the Spirit, the day of salvation, peace and reconciliation: the great season of Advent. This is the time eagerly awaited by the patriarchs and prophets, the time that holy Simeon rejoiced at last to see. This is the season that the Church has always celebrated with special solemnity. We too should always observe it with faith and love, offering praise and thanksgiving to the Father for the mercy and love he has shown us in this mystery. In his infinite love for us, though we were sinners, he sent his only Son to free us from the tyranny of Satan, to summon us to heaven, to welcome us into its innermost recesses, to show us truth itself, to train us in right conduct, to plant within us the seeds of virtue, to enrich us with the treasures of his grace, and to make us children of God and heirs of eternal life.
  Each year, as the Church recalls this mystery, she urges us to renew the memory of the great love God has shown us. This holy season teaches us that Christ’s coming was not only for the benefit of his contemporaries; his power has still to be communicated to us all. We shall share his power, if, through holy faith and the sacraments, we willingly accept the grace Christ earned for us, and live by that grace and in obedience to Christ.
  The Church asks us to understand that Christ, who came once in the flesh, is prepared to come again. When we remove all obstacles to his presence he will come, at any hour and moment, to dwell spiritually in our hearts, bringing with him the riches of his grace.
  In her concern for our salvation, our loving mother the Church uses this holy season to teach us through hymns, canticles and other forms of expression, of voice or ritual, used by the Holy Spirit. She shows us how grateful we should be for so great a blessing, and how to gain its benefit: our hearts should be as much prepared for the coming of Christ as if he were still to come into this world. The same lesson is given us for our imitation by the words and example of the holy men of the Old Testament.
Sound the trumpet in Zion! Summon the nations, say to the peoples, See, our God and Saviour is coming!
Tell it, proclaim it; cry aloud and say, See, our God and Saviour is coming!

Let us pray.
Give us the grace, Lord, to be ever on the watch for Christ your Son.
When he comes and knocks at our door,
  let him find us alert in prayer,
  joyfully proclaiming his glory.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
  who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
  one God, for ever and ever.