What Makes Advent Different from Lent

Fr. Mark-Mary talks about the differences between Advent and Lent, and the beauty that comes out of each season.

If you haven’t yet, make sure you check out Fr. Mark-Mary’s last video on how to find more time to pray during Advent. In the video Father offers some practical tips for filling your day with more prayer to help prepare our hearts for the coming of Christ at Christmas. The extra minutes may seem small at first, but over time they can cause radical changes to our faith, trust in God, and peace of heart. 

Today however, Father jumps into the differences between Advent and Lent, and how to take advantage of any season the Church has to offer. The main difference is the focus: while Lent is a time for following Jesus in his Passion, Advent is a time of waiting with Mary, expecting

Lent is the period of 40 days when Jesus freely chose to fast in the desert at the start of his ministry, and for Christians it’s a time of increased fasting, prayer, and almsgiving. In a way, the practice of Lent is a response to the goodness we’ve received from Christ’s Passion. We choose to express this gratitude for his sacrificial gift by following his journey in the desert, where he faced great temptations for the sake of forgiving our sins. This process can be uncomfortable, but it’s all for the purpose of diving deeper into our sonship and daughtership of God, and making practical changes in our lives to focus more on him, not on worldly goods. 

Advent, on the other hand, is much more focused on the coming of a Savior. It’s for those who are in crisis and in need of saving. During Advent, we adopt the phrase “Come, Lord Jesus” or “Maranatha” to show our longing for Christ. It’s just as much a cry of the poor as it is a recognition of our Savior who became poor for our sake. Our attention also focuses on Our Lady, who waits for the coming of her child, with full knowledge that he will be the one to save all those in need. 

One great way to adopt this focus in prayer during Advent is to pray the Rosary, which is the prayer of Our Lady. Try doing this prayer this Advent: pick up your rosary, think of all the parts of your life that need saving, offer them as intentions, and for every Hail Mary bead, just simply pray, “Come, Lord Jesus, set me free from this sin” or “Maranatha, save me from these struggles of heart.”

Whether you do one decade or the entire rosary, just offer up those struggles in your life to the Lord, and focus on the coming of Christ, who is the Light born into the darkness of the world.

Meet Fr. Mark-Mary

Father Mark-Mary was ordained as a Franciscan Friar of the Renewal (CFR) in 2018 and lives at a friary in the Bronx.

The mission of the CFRs is to wholeheartedly embrace Jesus through fidelity to the Church and her Sacraments. Paired with their commitment to prayer, contemplation, and study of Sacred Scripture, the CFRs serve those around them, especially the poor, in the footsteps of Christ.

Discover beautiful music from the CFRs and Fr. Mark-Mary’s book Habits for Holiness: Small Steps for Spiritual Progressboth available from Ascension.