Advent is a packed season, to state the obvious. In semi-random order, the liturgical calendar has
7 days of O Antiphons (Dec, 17 -24),
4 days honoring Doctors of the Church (St. John Damascene on Dec. 4, Ambrose on Dec. 7, St. John of the Cross on Dec. 14, and St. Peter Canisius on Dec. 21),
3 Marian-related days: Immaculate Conception,on Dec. 8, St. Juan Diego on Dec. 9, and Our Lady of Guadalupe on Dec. 12,
2 days of others mentioned in the Roman Canon (Eucharistic Prayer I): the apostle Andrew (Nov. 30) and martyr Lucy (Dec. 13),
1 day honoring the “missionary second to St. Paul”: St. Francis Xavier (Dec. 3), and
1 day honoring the original St. Nick (St. Nicholas, Dec. 6).
Most concentrated is the week in the middle that begins on Dec. 8 with the solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, a reflection of Mary’s unique role in salvation history; continues with Our Lady of Guadalupe, patroness of the Americas (this year option of celebrating it on Dec. 11 or 13); and bookended by the memorial of St. John of the Cross, whose Ascent of Mt. Carmel and Dark Night of the Soul are a large part of Carmelite spirituality.
Also on Dec. 14, this year marks the 25th anniversary of Catherine Doherty’s death, a reminder of the profound impact on me by the Madonna House apostolate. People wondered what would happen to Madonna House when she died. She said if it was of God, it would survive. The current edition of the Madonna House newsletter Restoration has an issue remembering Catherine Doherty and I’ll link to it later.