Advent – Purple is for Preparation
The Church celebrates the liturgical year with ‘color’ themes. My granddaughter (now 10) taught me a simple little song that she learned about the liturgical colors at the age of 4 in Catechesis of the Good Shepherd. (If you haven’t been exposed to this exceptional program to help very young children learn religious values and God’s Joy, please check out Catechesis of the Good Shepard!). Anyway, the song goes “Purple and Green and Red and White are the colors of the year. Purple and Green and Red and White, lead us to the Light. Purple is for preparation….” And the song goes on.
There are two main times of the year that purple is the theme color: Advent, and Lent. Both are times the clergy wear the purple of preparation. Preparation for what? Many would say Christmas and Easter. And, that answer is on the surface correct. But if we go a little deeper, it is more than preparing for an event. We are really to be preparing to meet a person, Jesus Christ. The season takes on a whole different perspective when it is not about rushing around to make sure “things” are right for an event, versus making sure we are right for an encounter with our Lord.
During Advent and Lent, Catholic Cemeteries is available to help in this preparation by offering Wednesday night reflection and prayer in Holy Angels Mausoleum, from 6pm – 6:30 pm. Associated with the services, in Advent we have the Christmas tree of Remembrance, where petitions are written and hung, which adorn the tree like ornaments. During Lent, we have the cross, the tree of hope, where prayer petitions are nailed to the large cross and we pray the Stations of the Cross. And both Advent and Lent are guides to helping us prepare through the rest of our life, so that death is not an “event”, but a transition and an encounter with a person, Jesus Christ.
I pray that each of us prepare effectively during Advent, do the same during Lent, and then let the theme of ‘purple’, preparation, be part of our entire life. So that we one day experience a happy death, because it is not an event, but an encounter with a person for eternity. A person who we know and have been preparing to be with.