Program #0190 for Wednesday, November 30, 2011: Advent with the Brotherhood of Hope

November 30, 2011

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Today’s host(s): Scot Landry and Fr. Matt Williams

Today’s guest(s): Brother Rahl Bunsa, General Superior of the Brotherhood of Hope

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Today’s topics: Advent with the Brotherhood of Hope

Summary of today’s show: Put away your Christmas music for now and keep Advent in the season with “A Season of Hope”, a CD of Advent music from the Brotherhood of Hope. Br. Rahl Bunsa talks with Scot Landry and Fr. Matt Williams about Advent as the season of hope in the Coming of Christ to restore creation to what it was intended to be and to prepare our own hearts to receive Christ ourselves. Enjoy what may be the only musical album of purely Advent music for sale anywhere and enter into the season. There’s time enough for Christmas music once Christmas is here.

1st segment: Scot and Fr. Matt discussed the first two nights of the God of This City tour this week. He said the tour has grown bigger and bigger each year they’ve done it. (Our recent show on The God of This City tour is available for listening online or to download.) He described the talks on the two nights. Fr. Matt also mentioned that George Martell is telling the story of God of This City through photos on the Archdiocesan Flickr page.

2nd segment: Scot welcomed Br. Rahl to the show. He said getting into the Advent season usually starts with listening to the Advent CD. Scot said church music helps you enter into the liturgical CDs. He asked why the Brotherhood made their first CD about Advent. Br. Rahl said Advent was their favorite season of the year, because of the theme of hope. But also they noticed that everyone had Christmas music, but not Advent music and yet there is so much very rich Advent music. Scot said his oldest son gets very upset when he hears Christmas music too early. He asks himself why can’t we all wait until Christmas? As Catholics we shouldn’t jump the gun on Christmas. Advent is rich in messages for us and can enrich our spiritual life and deepen our longing for Jesus. Br. Rahl said our parents and grandparents would not have decorated their homes until Christmas Eve and would have used Advent to prepare with Advent calendars and the like.

Br. Rahl said of hope that all virtues are to grow in us and with hope, we are to grow in our confident expectation that Christ will come again in glory. And not just a future reality of the second coming of Christ, but also that the many promises of God in Scripture will be fulfilled, like the promise that as we grow in prayer, we will grow closer to God.

Scot asked what the difference is between hope and optimism or a positive nature. Br. Rahl said it’s the difference between natural hope and supernatural hope. Supernatural hope is attached the supernatural nature of God, regarding his promises and what he has said.

Fr. Matt said he loves the idea of preparing for Christ. In praying the new prayers of the revised Roman Missal this week, he was struck by the opening prayer that asked God to strengthen our resolve to go out to meet him at His coming, equipped with righteous deeds. He said our society has a lot of fear at the coming of Christ, but Christians want Christ to come and save us. It’s a hope-filled calling, that the Lord is faithful to his promises. He is unconditionally faithful.

Fr. Matt said many people are turning to pharmaceuticals because they are not living in hope. Br. Rahl said a traditional acclamation of hope is the Greek word Maranatha, which means “Come!”

Scot said there’s a nice quote in the CD cover that refers to the two-fold expectation of the coming of Christ. We prepare for the general coming of Christ at the end of time, and we also prepare for our own encounter with Christ at the end of our own lives. The first song on the CD is “Hills of the North Rejoice”. Scot then read his favorite verse from the song.

Br. Rahl said it was the first song on the CD because of the exuberance and joy of the song. When people think of Advent, they wanted people to think of the joy of the season. He said the range of the music is everything from contemporary to chant to gospel to regular church hymns. They also had one-third of the songs as ones they wrote, one-third as traditional songs, and then one-third of traditional songs with new accompaniment.

3rd segment: Scot said he learned reading through the prayer booklet with the lyrics from the CD that in Lift up Your Heads, Ye Mighty Gates, “heads” refers to the tops of the gates. Br. Rahl said he wanted to point out that they had professional musicians in the studio backing up the guitar and voices.

Scot said of the hymn Lift Up Your Heads that the widening of the gates for the Savior of the world reminds us of the immensity of the Coming of Christ. So we should “widen” our hearts. Br. Rahl said we can pray to ask the Lord to deepen my heart, deepen my love for you. He also suggested entering into the Church’s liturgy ever more deeply and going to the Sacrament of Reconciliation to experience the Lord’s rich forgiveness. Meditating on Scriptures is a great preparation. Many of the songs are direct or indirect references to Scripture. He suggested praying to the Lord to teach us to see his vision and the things of heaven before the things of this world.

Fr. Matt said we’re reminded how quickly time passes us by. In the midst of it, we are reminded of our mortality which then points us to our destiny and the things of eternal life. Prayer refocuses us so we remember we were made for more than this earth.

Br. Rahl said the booklet for the CD was made to help people with their prayer life. It has meditations, catechesis, background, and lyrics to pray along with.

The next song is “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”. It is the most popular Advent hymn and perhaps the only one most people can name. It’s from the 9th century and people have been singing it for 1,000 years. The song on the CD transitions to another song called “Watchman, Tell Us of the Night”, which is the reference in the Scripture to the watchman looking for the coming of the king and the song is a dialogue between a traveler and the watchman. Scot said “Emmanuel” means “God with us”. We heard a clip from the second half of the song.

Br. Rahl said 10% of the net proceeds of this CD are donated to The Village of Hope, an HIV orphanage in Tanzania, Africa, while the remainder supports the Brotherhood’s work in campus ministry in Boston, New Jersey and Florida.

4th segment: It’s time to announce this week’s winner of the WQOM Benefactor Raffle.

Our prizes this week are *“A Season of Hope by the Brotherhood of Hope: Rediscovering our Advent Heritage” Audio CD, Gospel Champions PC game for Windows XP, and a $15 Mystic Monk Coffee gift card.

This week’s benefactor card raffle winner is Debbie & Chuck Papalia from North Andover, MA. Congratulation, Debbie and Chuck!

If you would like to be eligible to win in an upcoming week, please visit For a one-time $30 donation, you’ll receive the Station of the Cross benefactor card and key tag, making you eligible for WQOM’s weekly raffle of books, DVDs, CDs and religious items. We’ll be announcing the winner each Wednesday during “The Good Catholic Life” program.

5th segment: Scot said we heard a clip from “Revelation Canticle” which is the last song of the CD, which he said is his favorite. Br. Rahl said it comes from the Book of Revelation and has a particularly celebratory and victorious tone to it. He said when Christ defeats Satan and the last enemy, Death, he will raise the dead to new life. Four verse from Revelation make up the entire song, from Revelations chapters 11 and 12. Scot said when you get a song like this stuck in your head, it leads to praying throughout the day. Br. Rahl said he once heard from a religious sister that when she needs to grow in confidence in certain situations, she listens to the song “I am Confident and Unafraid.” They put Scripture to good music in order to get Scripture into people’s hearts and minds.

Fr. Matt recalled a monsignor he knew who said he once heard that a person becomes the song they sing. when we worship God, it changes our focus and our attitude and the environment around us. When you have beautiful lyrics tied into Scripture and Tradition, it gives a way to focus on what is really true and lifegiving.

Br. Rahl said he once heard from someone at the BBC who played their CD on BBC radio and told them it was a big hit. Many parents tell him that their kids enjoy the music too and even soothes troublesome children. It’s good for anyone seeking to get into Advent and mature into the Lord. He said he hasn’t seen any other exclusively Advent CD for sale. He thinks it’s because often Christmas overshadows Advent and it’s a short season and people don’t have as long of a chance to enter into it.

Br. Rahl said most of the songs were a regular part of the Brotherhood’s prayer life long before the CD was recorded. In order to get the prayer booklet that comes with the CD, you must order the CD, but it’s also available through iTunes and Amazon MP3.

Scot asked Br. Rahl why they included Alma Redemptoris Mater out of all CDs. They wanted to invoke the assistance of Mary under her title of Our Lady of Hope. She brought forth the Word and pondered the Word of God.

Fr. Matt said God is always faithful to his promises and in Advent we the Magnificat and the Canticle of Zechariah which proclaim God’s fidelity. These both point to hope. Br. Rahl said what he loves about Advent is that in the midst of the sadness of the world, the Lord will return and we long for that day. Advent is a season for longing for Christ to restore creation to what it was intended to be. For those interested in bulk orders, contact the Brotherhood directly via their website.

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