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The Liturgical Seasons

The Liturgical Year begins with the First Sunday of Advent, and runs thru the last Sunday in Ordinary Time, the Solemnity of Christ the King.  The Center, the Apex, of the Year is the Paschal Triduum, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter -the Easter Vigil and, as an extension of this, Easter Sunday and the Easter Season

Ordinary Time (Green Vestments) in our liturgical year is the time when we practice all the lessons, live out the conversions that we have assimilated during the seasons of Advent, Lent, Easter and Pentecost.
Advent  (Purple Vestments)
Stay Awake, prepare the way of the Lord!  Our God is always moving toward us, but wil he find us asleep or awake when he comes?  Advent has two parts, the first begins on the first Sunday of Advent and lasts until Decemer 16; it invites us to prepare for the Second Coming of Christ, the Parousia.  Christ will come on the clouds and all will see him, either at the end of the world or at the moment of our death, we are invited to prepare for this coming. The second part of Advent, the last nine days (novena), begins December 17 and goes to December 24,  it is a preparation  to celebrate the First Coming of Christ -Christmas.  He came the first time in humility and simplicity, born in a stable,  rejected and despised, persecuted.  And yet he is the truth. 
Christmas / Epiphany (White Vestments)
"And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us..."  We celebrate the Incarnation and the birth of Christ as one of us.  He is one person with two natures, he is fully God and fully human.  He is born to participate in everything we experience as human beings, except sin; in so doing his life, death and resurrection will undo the lie of the ancient serpent.  Christmas celebrates the fact that God is with us.  He will restore humanity to God's plan for creation.
The Epiphany celebrates the manifestation of this plan of God's love to all the nations, to all of humanity, represented in the Magi, who come not from the chosen people, but from the gentiles, those far away. It is not necessary to be of a certain race or origin to receive the gift of God himself to us.
Ordinary Time (Green Vestments)
The green vestments of Ordinary time represent hope.  What is Ordinary for Catholic Christians is that we are a people of hope.  It is very different to life with or without hope.  Pope Benedict XVI said hope is an 'habitus' -a stable disposition of the soul which allows the things we hope for to inform the life we life today, it allows the future to spill over into the present.  Eternal life, heaven, the Resurrection, already become part of our daily life and what we experience now.

Lent (Purple Vestments)
Lent, from the German 'Lentz' meaning 'Spring', is a preparation for the Paschal Triduum and the Easter Seaon.  Lent in itself has no meaning without the celebration of Easter.  Lent begins with the imposition of Ashes on Ash Wednesday and lasts until the Wednesday of Holy Week. Not counting Sundays, there are 40 days and nights in Lent. We are invited to prepare for the Easter by prayer, fasting, and almsgiving.  This preparation is meant to help us experience our fragility, our mortality (to mortify the flesh), to put ourselves in a condition that is able to then receive the gift of love and life offered to us by Christ in his Paschal Mystery.
Easter (White Vestments)
Christ is Risen, He is Truly Risen, Alleluia!  Christ has destroyed death.  Eternal Life is fully present in him, and is offered to all who want to receive it.
Pentecost (Red Vestments)
Ordinary Time (Green Vestments)