Advent 2014 has arrived and just like Lent its a perfect opportunity to study your faith. Particular focus can be spent on study of the arrival of the Messiah. Catholic Scripture Study International has recently released a new study in their growing number of resources. Advent: Preparing for Christ, Cycle B is a four week study to help up us in our Advent reflection this year. As noted in the introduction “Advent is a time to be more intentional in our relationship with Christ; to renew it and in turn have it renew us”.
If you are familiar with the other other studies by CSS you will be at home with this study, the only difference being the focus on Advent instead of a particular book of the Bible. The entire encompasses four lessons which is used for group study would be best followed one per week. Even if used for personal use spending the week with each section will be beneficial to the reader. In the introduction it is encouraged to follow the method of Lectio Divina. Briefly this is the practice of “praying the scriptures” as endorsed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2005. The steps are detailed well in the introduction but basically you will Read the reading, Meditate on what the text is saying to you on a personal level, allow your meditation to lead you to Prayer and listen to what God is telling you through his Word, Contemplate the text by utilizing the reflection questions including with each week’s study and take notes on any personal reflections, take Action on what you have learned and share with others or the group you are studying with.
Each of the week’s studies use the corresponding Advent Sunday readings from Cycle B. The readings are provided in the study guide as well as extensive Points to Ponder for the Old Testament, New Testament and Gospel readings. Additionally there are references in sections called “Catechism Connections” that point to relevant entries in the Catechism that relevant to that week’s study. Also included are selections from the Second Vatican Council documentLumen Gentium and Pope John Paul II’s “Reconciliation and Penance”.
Also available for use with the study guide is a DVD containing four lectures. These are presented by Father Mitch Pacwa. The combination of the lecture DVD with the study guide makes this pack a great resource for parish studies. Adult education coordinators really should take advantage of this.
Catholic Scripture Study International continues to release great resources for Catholics to use for individual or group Catechesis. This particular study allows us to refocus on the Advent season and put our secular distractions on hold as we refocus on Christ. As we watch and wait for his second coming our time is better spent preparing ourselves. “It is in the light of his Second Coming that we celbrate his First Coming. It is because of his First Coming that we can hope in the Second Coming and trust in his mercy and love”.
I received a copy of this set from the publisher, Catholic Scripture Study International.