At the beginning of the liturgy, the first Advent candle is lit.
Entrance and Advent Wreath Ceremony Following the opening hymn and greeting:
Celebrant: As we come together today to continue our Advent journey, let’s enter into the quiet of our spirits… acknowledging the deep divisions that wound our nation… that wound and scar so many nations and communities around the world… Praying to be Peacemakers….
Our Loving God, we thank you for giving us Jesus, our Prince of Peace, to reveal to us Your vision of peace and to show us in his life and teaching, his death and resurrection the Way to bring about Your peace on Earth.
With the lighting of the first Advent candle last week, we embraced again our mission to be peacemakers in Christ for our time and place in history.
Our scriptures today keep before us Your vision for creation, a vision in which kindness and truth shall meet, where justice and peace shall flourish, where the great awesome Mystery that is You will be revealed and all people, on all sides of our divisions, shall see Your glory together.
Our mission is to prepare the way for Your coming in glory. You are sending us today to comfort people, to speak tenderly, to no longer judge or condemn. It is a mission of smoothing out the rough ways that have developed over time to divide us, a mission of gentling the sharp divisions, preparing the way for You to come in and heal us all.
Second Voice: We thank you, our loving God, for the witness of our sister and brother Dominicans in bitterly divided Ukraine. We celebrate the ways they have found to bring children out of the constant danger, fear, hatred and tension of war zones for short periods to places of shelter and safety. We see in their ministry the healing power of safety … relaxation … kindness … counseling … prayer together … play … companionship. We see in the children, comforted and touched by gentleness, resilience and hope for Your peace taking a little firmer root in their spirits.
[Acolyte takes the flame from the Paschal candle and proceeds to the Advent Wreath.]
As we light our second Advent Candle, we pray in solidarity with them for the fruitfulness of their ministry. And we pray for the light of wisdom to see opportunities for extending simple kindnesses and comforting human experiences across our own painful divisions. We pray for the ability to speak tenderly and respectfully, to listen with care and openness, to seek the dialogue that can prepare the Way of the Lord and make straight the Way for Your healing work of Peace.
[The second candle is lit as we sing the Kyrie.]
Celebrant: May almighty God have mercy on our sisters and brothers in Ukraine and on us, forgive us all our sins, and bring us together to the fullness of life in peace. Amen
Celebrant: And we continue our prayer: Our loving God, We pray that You will unite us in spirit, prayer and hope with our sisters and brothers in Ukraine and around the planet. Together we need solidarity, healing of our communities, justice for all, and peace.
With tender comfort and transforming power, come into our midst, God of mercy and might. Make ready a way in our harsh wilderness, clear a straight path in our fearful and defensive hearts, and form us into a repentant people, that the advent of Your Son may find us watchful and eager for the glory he reveals.
Give us the strength to grow in love, that the dawn of Christ’s coming may find us rejoicing in his presence and welcoming the light of his truth in peace.
We ask this in the name of Jesus our brother who came to guide us into Your peace, and in the power of Your Holy Spirit where we live and move and have our being, now and forever. Amen.
James E. Hug, SJ