Saturday after the Third Sunday of Advent.—The Decree of Cæsar Augustus.

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December 20th O Antiphon:

O Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel, who openest and no man shutteth, who shuttest and no man openeth: come and bring forth from his prison-house, the captive that sitteth in darkness and in the shadow of death. – Isaias xxii. 22; Apocalypse iii. 7; Luke i. 79.

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Saturday after the Third Sunday of Advent.—The Decree of Cæsar Augustus.

PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.

My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.

Saturday after the Third Sunday of Advent.—The Decree of Cæsar Augustus.

(Read Luke ii, 1-5.)

CONSIDER FIRSTLY that from all eternity the Divine Father had decreed not only the time of the birth of Christ, but also the place, the manner, and all the circumstances of it, which had also been foretold by the prophets. Consequently it came to pass that at a given time, Cæsar Augustus in his pride and avarice issued an edict that the whole empire should be enrolled, and that a tax should be paid by each one, and all this in order to bring about that the Word Incarnate should be born not at Nazareth, but in a cave that served as a shelter for beasts of burden.

APPLICATION. And to you how often does that which is a most wise design of God seem to be merely the work of your fellow-beings? And consequently you are disquieted and disturbed, you revolt against trial that thereby you are put to. Happy indeed would you be, did you but know how to recognise the loving dispositions of God Who for your good sometimes makes use of the evil designs of others.

AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Let me know that this is Thy hand; and Thou, O Lord, hast done it. (Ps. cviii, 27.)

CONSIDER SECONDLY that the Blessed Virgin bowed her head in submission to the decree. She did not excuse herself from obedience by reason of her weakness, nor from paying the tribute because of her poverty. She recognised in the unjust decree of Augustus the most perfect will of God, conformably to that of the Apostle: Be obedient to them that are your lords according to the flesh with fear and trembling in the simplicity of your heart, as to Christ, not serving to the eye, as it were pleasing men, but as the servants of Christ doing the will of God from the heart. (Eph. vi, 5, 6.)

APPLICATION. You, who have so often bound yourself to obey those whom God has placed over you as superiors, in order to interpret for you the Divine Will, are you prompt in carrying out whatever is commanded you, even though it be difficult and unpleasant to you? Or do you not rather draw back and excuse yourself and show your repugnance? Oh how ashamed ought you not to feel of yourself, when you reflect upon the obedience of the Mother of God to this edict of Cæsar!

AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Teach me to do Thy will, for Thou art my God. (Ps. cxliii, 10.)

CONSIDER THIRDLY that the Blessed Virgin together with St. Joseph undertook this long and painful journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem in winter time, and with all the inconveniences of extreme poverty. Small account however did she make of these discomforts because she recognised therein that they were obeying the will of heaven, and because she carried her Divine Son with her in order that He might be born in a stable, according to the dispositions of Divine Providence.

APPLICATION. If you will but stay in the company of Jesus and by your love bear Him in your heart, every affliction will seem to you light in the hope of one day rejoicing in His presence.

AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Thou art the God of my heart, and the God that is my portion for ever. (Ps. lxxii, 26.)

PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.

My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.

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Of a pure Mind and simple Intention.

III. When a man begins to grow lukewarm he is afraid of a little labour and willingly takes external comfort.
But when he begins perfectly to overcome himself, and to walk manfully in the way of God, then he makes less account of those things which before he considered burthensome to him.——Thomas à Kempis—Imitation of Christ Bk II, Ch IV, pt. III.

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December Devotion: The Immaculate Conception.

Virtues to practice: Conformity to the will of God, divine love.

Come, let us adore the King our Lord, who is to come!


Hymn from the Office of Lauds for Advent

The solemn voice of the Precursor is heard, explaining the obscurity of the ancient figures; let our slumbers cease; Jesus is rising on our horizon.
Let the sluggish soul now rise, and stay no more upon this earth; a new star is shining, which will take all sin away.
Lo! the Lamb is sent to forgive us freely our debt; let us unite in tears and prayers, that we may obtain pardon.
That when He comes the second time, filling the world with fear, He may not have to punish us for our sins, but may protect us in mercy.
Power, honour, praise, and glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Paraclete, for ever and ever. Amen.

Prayers from the Office and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for Advent

V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.
Almighty Lord and God, who hast brought us to the beginning of this day, let thy powerful grace so conduct us through it, that we may not fall into any sin, but that all our thoughts, words, and actions may be regulated according to the rules of thy heavenly justice, and tend to the observance of thy holy law. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
V. Incline unto my aid, O God.
R. O Lord, make haste to help me.
Lord God, and King of heaven and earth, vouchsafe this day to rule and sanctify, to direct and govern our souls and bodies, our senses, words, and actions in conformity to Thy law, and strict obedience to Thy commands; that by the help of Thy grace, O Saviour of the world! we may be fenced and freed from all evils. Who livest and reignest for ever and ever. Amen.

V. O Lord God of hosts, come and deliver us.
R. Show Thy face, and we shall be saved.
V. Show us, O Lord, thy mercy.
R. And grant us the Saviour, whom we expect from Thee.
V. The Lord shall rise upon thee, O Jerusalem!
R. And His glory shall be seen upon thee.

Bend Thine ear, O Lord, we beseech Thee, to our prayers, and enlighten the darkness of our minds by the grace of Thy visitation; who livest and reignest God, world without end. Amen.

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Novena for Advent

Hail and blessed be the hour and the moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, O my God! To hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of His blessed Mother. Amen.

(It is piously believed that whoever recites the above prayer fifteen times a day from the feast of St. Andrew (Nov. 30th) until Christmas will obtain what is asked.)

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Copyright © 2013 – 2014. Holy Cross Publications. All rights reserved.

Friday after the Third Sunday of Advent.—Expectation of the Nativity.

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December 19th O Antiphon:

O Root of Jesse, who standest for an ensign of the people, before whom kings shall keep silence, and unto who the Gentiles shall make their supplication: come to deliver us, and tarry not.  – Isaias xi. 10.

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Friday after the Third Sunday of Advent.—Expectation of the Nativity.

PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.

My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.

Friday after the Third Sunday of Advent.—Expectation of the Nativity.

It came to pass that her days were accomplished. (Luke ii, 6.)

CONSIDER FIRSTLY the ardent desires of the ancient Fathers to see the promised Messiah. Listen to their sighs and prayers through the long ages. Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just. (Is. xlv, 8.) It pleased God that this His coming should be so long deferred, because the more intense is the desire the more ceaselessly does it make us plead and pray, and earnest prayer is the surest means of gaining all that God has ordained to bestow upon us.

APPLICATION. If you do not feel a real longing for Jesus to be born spiritually within your heart, you will not be worthy to receive Him. Redouble therefore at this season your supplications as did the ancient Fathers, so that you may deserve to rejoice at His coming.

AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Stir up Thy might, and come and save. (Ps. lxxix, 3.)

CONSIDER SECONDLY the intense longing of the Blessed Virgin, to bring to the light of day her divine offspring. This desire was increased in her heart specially for two reasons. The first was in order herself to be able to worship and serve the Son of the Divine Father, Who had deigned to choose her as His Mother, the other in order to give to the world its Redeemer, for the salvation of mankind, and to rescue the human race from all its miseries.

APPLICATION. You too should desire that Jesus Christ may come to you spiritually, not only for your own advantage, but much more that you may offer Him your homage, and that you also may co-operate with Him in the salvation of others.

AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. O Lord God of hosts, convert us; and show Thy face, and we shall be saved. (Ps. lxxix, 20.)

CONSIDER THIRDLY the still more fervent longing of Jesus Himself. He had remained for nine months within the narrow limits of His Mother’s womb, offering to His Father on our behalf the keen suffering He underwent in that darksome prison. When however He saw the hour of His going forth approach, He rejoiced, not indeed to leave that straitened space, but from His longing to begin at once His journey from the cave to Calvary for the redemption of mankind. He hath rejoiced as a giant to run the way. (Ps. xix, 6.)

APPLICATION. How different are your desires and what quite other longings are yours. You are immediately displeased at some work that has been given you, you are vexed at being made subject to another’s will, because you wish to enjoy more liberty and greater ease, but if you really loved Jesus you would not grow weary of suffering some trifle for love of Him. Love never gets weary nor complains, nor in fact is there ever greater proof of love than when there is labour and suffering for the beloved. Only love Jesus truly and every suffering and all labour will seem to you easy and delightful.

AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. What have I in heaven but Thee, and beside Thee what do I desire upon earth? (Ps. lxxii, 25.)

PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.

My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.

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Of a pure Mind and simple Intention.

II. If thou wert good and pure within, then wouldst thou discern all things without impediment, and understand them right.
A pure heart penetrates heaven and hell.
According as every one is interiorly, so he judgeth exteriorly.
If there be joy in the world, certainly the man whose heart is pure enjoys it.
And if there be anywhere tribulation and anguish, an evil conscience feels the most of it.
As iron put into the fire loses the rust and becomes all fiery: so a man that turns himself wholly to God puts off his sluggishness, and is changed into a new man.—Thomas à Kempis—Imitation of Christ Bk II, Ch IV, pt. II.

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December Devotion: The Immaculate Conception.

Virtues to practice: Conformity to the will of God, divine love.

Come, let us adore the King our Lord, who is to come!


Hymn from the Office of Lauds for Advent

The solemn voice of the Precursor is heard, explaining the obscurity of the ancient figures; let our slumbers cease; Jesus is rising on our horizon.
Let the sluggish soul now rise, and stay no more upon this earth; a new star is shining, which will take all sin away.
Lo! the Lamb is sent to forgive us freely our debt; let us unite in tears and prayers, that we may obtain pardon.
That when He comes the second time, filling the world with fear, He may not have to punish us for our sins, but may protect us in mercy.
Power, honour, praise, and glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Paraclete, for ever and ever. Amen.

Prayers from the Office and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for Advent

V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.
Almighty Lord and God, who hast brought us to the beginning of this day, let thy powerful grace so conduct us through it, that we may not fall into any sin, but that all our thoughts, words, and actions may be regulated according to the rules of thy heavenly justice, and tend to the observance of thy holy law. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
V. Incline unto my aid, O God.
R. O Lord, make haste to help me.
Lord God, and King of heaven and earth, vouchsafe this day to rule and sanctify, to direct and govern our souls and bodies, our senses, words, and actions in conformity to Thy law, and strict obedience to Thy commands; that by the help of Thy grace, O Saviour of the world! we may be fenced and freed from all evils. Who livest and reignest for ever and ever. Amen.

V. O Lord God of hosts, come and deliver us.
R. Show Thy face, and we shall be saved.
V. Show us, O Lord, thy mercy.
R. And grant us the Saviour, whom we expect from Thee.
V. The Lord shall rise upon thee, O Jerusalem!
R. And His glory shall be seen upon thee.

Bend Thine ear, O Lord, we beseech Thee, to our prayers, and enlighten the darkness of our minds by the grace of Thy visitation; who livest and reignest God, world without end. Amen.

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Novena for Advent

Hail and blessed be the hour and the moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, O my God! To hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of His blessed Mother. Amen.

(It is piously believed that whoever recites the above prayer fifteen times a day from the feast of St. Andrew (Nov. 30th) until Christmas will obtain what is asked.)

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Copyright © 2013 – 2014. Holy Cross Publications. All rights reserved.

Thursday after the Third Sunday of Advent.—The Trial of St. Joseph.

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December 18th O Antiphon:

O Adonai, and Leader of the house of Israel, Who didst appear to Moses in the flame of the burning bush, and didst give unto the law on Sinai: come and with an outstretched arm redeem us. – Exodus iii. 2, xx. I

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Thursday after the Third Sunday of Advent.—The Trial of St. Joseph.

PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.

My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.

Thursday after the Third Sunday of Advent.—The Trial of St. Joseph.

(Read Matt. i, 18-25.)

CONSIDER FIRSTLY that Joseph, who was so holy and so pleasing in the sight of God as to merit to be the spouse of the Mother of God and the guardian of the Word Incarnate, could never have contemplated that his espousals with Mary would have brought him such bitter sorrows. For so it was that the mystery of the Incarnation was concealed from him, although it had been clearly revealed to St. John and St. Elizabeth. But this is the ordinary way of Divine Providence, which afflicts those who are the most just in order to enrich them the more with merits, and that they may be examples of more heroic virtues. What an admirable example St. Joseph gave of prudence, of patience and of charity! Notwithstanding his knowledge of her condition, he does not condemn the Blessed Virgin, he does not inwardly complain to God or outwardly manifest his grief.

APPLICATION. When you imagine you have been in some way injured, you at once become disturbed and grow indignant. You instantly condemn the offender for what does not in fact exist or for more than there really is. You cry out and complain. Learn from Joseph patience in bearing the wrongs you may have to suffer, prudence in not noticing them, charity in concealing them.

AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Thou art my patience, O Lord; my hope, O Lord, from my youth. (Ps. lxx, 5.)

CONSIDER SECONDLY that our Blessed Lady was well aware of Joseph’s intense affliction and of the thought he entertained of putting her away. Able as she was to calm this anguish in the heart of her spouse by discovering to him the mystery, she chose at all costs rather to keep silence about her great privilege and to leave to Divine Providence the defence of her innocence.

APPLICATION. Does not this make you ashamed of being so ready to publish whatever may redound to your own praise, and so quick to excuse yourself whenever you happen to be blamed? Let it suffice that God sees your innocence. Leave the care of defending you from calumnies to Him Who knows well how to turn them to your profit.

AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. In Thee, O Lord, do I put my trust; I said, Thou art my God. (Ps. xxx, 15.)

CONSIDER THIRDLY the consolation of St. Joseph, in finding himself delivered by the loving providence of God from his extreme anguish. Through the ministry of an angel there was revealed to him the mystery of the Divine Incarnation, and the incomparable sanctity of the Blessed Virgin. Thereupon he realised that he himself was no other than the spouse of the Mother of God, and the guardian on earth of the Son of God. Forthwith he would have exclaimed with the Psalmist: According to the multitude of my sorrows in my heart, Thy comforts have given joy to my soul. (Ps. xciii, 19.)

APPLICATION. So too will it be with you, if you know how to bear your afflictions in a truly Christian spirit, so as even in this life to enjoy a hundredfold of the divine consolations, and in the next to receive an eternal reward.

AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Oh let Thy mercy be my comfort, according unto Thy word unto Thy servant. (Ps. cxviii, 76.)

PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.

My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.

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Of a pure Mind and simple Intention.

I. With two wings a man is lifted up above earthly things; that is with simplicity and purity.
Simplicity must be in the intention, purity in the affection.
Simplicity aims at God; purity takes hold of Him, and tastes Him.
No good action will hinder thee, if thou be free from inordinate affections.
If thou intendest and seekest nothing else but the will of God and the profit of thy neighbour, thou shalt enjoy internal liberty.
If thy heart were right, then every creature would be to thee a looking-glass of life and a book of holy doctrine.
There is no creature so little and contemptible as not to manifest the goodness of God.—Thomas à Kempis—Imitation of Christ Bk II, Ch IV, pt. I.

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December Devotion: The Immaculate Conception.

Virtues to practice: Conformity to the will of God, divine love.

Come, let us adore the King our Lord, who is to come!


Hymn from the Office of Lauds for Advent

The solemn voice of the Precursor is heard, explaining the obscurity of the ancient figures; let our slumbers cease; Jesus is rising on our horizon.
Let the sluggish soul now rise, and stay no more upon this earth; a new star is shining, which will take all sin away.
Lo! the Lamb is sent to forgive us freely our debt; let us unite in tears and prayers, that we may obtain pardon.
That when He comes the second time, filling the world with fear, He may not have to punish us for our sins, but may protect us in mercy.
Power, honour, praise, and glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Paraclete, for ever and ever. Amen.

Prayers from the Office and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for Advent

V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.
Almighty Lord and God, who hast brought us to the beginning of this day, let thy powerful grace so conduct us through it, that we may not fall into any sin, but that all our thoughts, words, and actions may be regulated according to the rules of thy heavenly justice, and tend to the observance of thy holy law. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
V. Incline unto my aid, O God.
R. O Lord, make haste to help me.
Lord God, and King of heaven and earth, vouchsafe this day to rule and sanctify, to direct and govern our souls and bodies, our senses, words, and actions in conformity to Thy law, and strict obedience to Thy commands; that by the help of Thy grace, O Saviour of the world! we may be fenced and freed from all evils. Who livest and reignest for ever and ever. Amen.

V. O Lord God of hosts, come and deliver us.
R. Show Thy face, and we shall be saved.
V. Show us, O Lord, thy mercy.
R. And grant us the Saviour, whom we expect from Thee.
V. The Lord shall rise upon thee, O Jerusalem!
R. And His glory shall be seen upon thee.

Bend Thine ear, O Lord, we beseech Thee, to our prayers, and enlighten the darkness of our minds by the grace of Thy visitation; who livest and reignest God, world without end. Amen.

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Novena for Advent

Hail and blessed be the hour and the moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, O my God! To hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of His blessed Mother. Amen.

(It is piously believed that whoever recites the above prayer fifteen times a day from the feast of St. Andrew (Nov. 30th) until Christmas will obtain what is asked.)

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Copyright © 2013 – 2014. Holy Cross Publications. All rights reserved.

The Immaculate Conception.

See our new Advent Craft Project instructions by clicking on this link: Advent Sacrifice Bead Box


The Immaculate Conception.

PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.

My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.

The Immaculate Conception.

Hail, full of grace. (Luke i, 28.)

CONSIDER FIRSTLY the privileges of the Blessed Virgin which are signified in those words of the Book of Proverbs: Wisdom hath built herself a house. The special home of the Word made man was the Blessed Virgin Mary, which abode the Divine Wisdom designed as His own dwelling place. Consequently He most assuredly would not allow that the demon should first dwell there and take possession of it. And if He would not that the arch-enemy should enter therein before His coming, still less would He permit it afterwards. Thus it came to pass that the Blessed Virgin was preserved from original sin in an especially privileged manner, by being forestalled by a grace which preserved her from all sin, and exempted her from the slightest inclination to it.

APPLICATION. You who by your misfortune have incurred the stain of original sin, and who also of your own fault have fallen into so many personal ones, pray earnestly to the Blessed Virgin that by the grace of this her great privilege, she may obtain for you from the divine mercy true contrition and the pardon of all your sins.

AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Behold, I was conceived in iniquities, and in sins did my mother conceive me. (Ps. 1, 7.)

CONSIDER SECONDLY that in order that the Blessed Virgin should be a worthy dwelling place of God, the Divine Wisdom was not satisfied merely to keep far from her any taint of sin, but enriched her at that first moment with a fullness of grace greater than that possessed by any of the greatest saints, even at the end of their lives: Her foundations are in the holy mountains, by which we are to understand that the foundations of this edifice of Mary, which was to be raised to so great a height and to be incomparably above that of any other of the saints, stood upon the summit of the perfection of them all. Where they indeed ended there she began.

APPLICATION. Rejoice then exceedingly with the Blessed Virgin in this her rich treasury of grace and beg of her, since she is the dispenser of graces, to obtain for you some assistance in your extreme poverty.

AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. As for me I am poor and needy, but the Lord is careful for me. (Ps. xxxix, 18.)

CONSIDER THIRDLY that the Blessed Virgin never allowed so rich a treasure to remain inactive but increased it every moment. Being free from the evil inclinations and resistance of corrupt nature, she performed every act of virtue with the utmost perfection of intention, so that throughout the whole course of her life she doubled her capital in her every act, and thus became richer in graces than all the inhabitants of heaven together. Oh, what an infinite treasure was hers!

APPLICATION. And you, who find yourself with an amount of grace so small and so miserable, why do you keep it so idle and so unprofitable? The poorer one is the more industrious he usually becomes, yet you act in the opposite way. All during your life what store of merits or of virtue have you laid up? Rouse yourself then once for all from this your sloth, if you do not want to hear at the hour of your death the reproof given to the slothful servant in the gospel, who, finding himself with only one talent, left it idle and buried in the earth.

AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. I said, now have I begun: this change is of the right hand of the Most High. (Ps. lxxvi, 11.)

PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.

My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.

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Of a good peaceable man.

Grant, O Lord, that, resigning myself in all things to thy blessed will, I may find peace and happiness in being, doing, and suffering whatever Thou shalt appoint. Amen.—Thomas à Kempis—Imitation of Christ Bk II, Ch III, aspiration.

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December Devotion: The Immaculate Conception.

Virtues to practice: Conformity to the will of God, divine love.

Come, let us adore the King our Lord, who is to come!


Hymn from the Office of Lauds for Advent

The solemn voice of the Precursor is heard, explaining the obscurity of the ancient figures; let our slumbers cease; Jesus is rising on our horizon.
Let the sluggish soul now rise, and stay no more upon this earth; a new star is shining, which will take all sin away.
Lo! the Lamb is sent to forgive us freely our debt; let us unite in tears and prayers, that we may obtain pardon.
That when He comes the second time, filling the world with fear, He may not have to punish us for our sins, but may protect us in mercy.
Power, honour, praise, and glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Paraclete, for ever and ever. Amen.

Prayers from the Office and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for Advent

V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.
Almighty Lord and God, who hast brought us to the beginning of this day, let thy powerful grace so conduct us through it, that we may not fall into any sin, but that all our thoughts, words, and actions may be regulated according to the rules of thy heavenly justice, and tend to the observance of thy holy law. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
V. Incline unto my aid, O God.
R. O Lord, make haste to help me.
Lord God, and King of heaven and earth, vouchsafe this day to rule and sanctify, to direct and govern our souls and bodies, our senses, words, and actions in conformity to Thy law, and strict obedience to Thy commands; that by the help of Thy grace, O Saviour of the world! we may be fenced and freed from all evils. Who livest and reignest for ever and ever. Amen.

V. O Lord God of hosts, come and deliver us.
R. Show Thy face, and we shall be saved.
V. Show us, O Lord, thy mercy.
R. And grant us the Saviour, whom we expect from Thee.
V. The Lord shall rise upon thee, O Jerusalem!
R. And His glory shall be seen upon thee.

Bend Thine ear, O Lord, we beseech Thee, to our prayers, and enlighten the darkness of our minds by the grace of Thy visitation; who livest and reignest God, world without end. Amen.

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Novena for Advent

Hail and blessed be the hour and the moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, O my God! To hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of His blessed Mother. Amen.

(It is piously believed that whoever recites the above prayer fifteen times a day from the feast of St. Andrew (Nov. 30th) until Christmas will obtain what is asked.)

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Copyright © 2013 – 2014. Holy Cross Publications. All rights reserved.

Tuesday after the Third Sunday of Advent.—The Visitation.

Tuesday after the Third Sunday of Advent.—The Visitation.

PRAYER BEFORE MEDITATION.

My God, I firmly believe that Thou art here present. I acknowledge that on account of my many sins I am utterly unworthy to appear before Thy sacred countenance. Yet, confiding in Thy infinite goodness and mercy, I venture to address Thee, to call upon Thy holy name, and meditate upon Thy commandments, in order that I may acquire a better knowledge of Thy holy will, and accomplish it with more fidelity. Wherefore enlighten my understanding that I may perceive what I ought to do or leave undone for the promotion of Thy glory and my own salvation; at the same time excite my will, that I may repent with my whole heart of my past sins, and resolve for the future to do all that Thou requirest of me. Grant me above all to know Jesus, my divine Teacher and Guide, more clearly, that I may love Him more dearly, and consequently labor, struggle and suffer with greater generosity and self-sacrifice in imitation of His example. Holy Mary, Mother of God and my Mother, show Jesus to me now, and let me study thy divine Son to the salvation of my soul. Holy Guardian Angel, keep far from me all distracting thoughts; my patron saint, come to my assistance. Amen.

Tuesday after the Third Sunday of Advent.—The Visitation.

(Read Luke i, 39-56.)

CONSIDER FIRSTLY that Christ did not delay in beginning the work of redemption, but even before coming forth from His Mother’s womb went to sanctify St. John. He might have done this without leaving Nazareth, nevertheless it pleased Him to inspire His Mother to visit St. Elizabeth and through her to work a signal blessing in St. John. Thus we see that as she was the means of the sanctification of St. John and also of the first miracle wrought by Christ at the marriage feast of Cana, so for us likewise is she at all times the channel of all those spiritual and temporal graces which we can hope for from the divine liberality. Such is the will of Him Who has willed that we should have all things through Mary. (St. Bernard.)

APPLICATION. If you really grasped this great truth, how much more eager would you be to gain the protection of our Blessed Lady by your devotion to her and to have recourse to her in all your needs.

AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. God is wonderful in His saints. (Ps. 1xviii, 36.)

CONSIDER SECONDLY the promptitude with which the Blessed Virgin obeyed the inspiration: She went into the hill country with haste. (Luke i, 39.) Neither her love of solitude nor the quiet of contemplation could make her hesitate, nor the fear of those dangers which her Divine Son might encounter in such a perilous journey.

APPLICATION. And what is your manner of acting who either do not give ear to the inspirations of God, or are slow in responding to them by letting your self-love invent a thousand imaginary difficulties? If you knew what blessings you lose in thus making so little of inspirations from heaven, you would not be so careless in obeying the voice of God.

AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. I will hearken what the Lord shall say within me, for He will speak peace unto His people. (Ps. lxxxiv, 9.)

CONSIDER THIRDLY that the Blessed Virgin did not take this wearisome journey merely to pay a visit of ceremony, nor from curiosity to discover whether what the Angel had spoken about Elizabeth were verified, still less from vanity in order to parade her dignity as mother of the Most High. She went moved simply by obedience to the Divine Will, and in order to co-operate in the sanctification of the Precursor.

APPLICATION. You willingly accept the discomfort of some hard work, or the fatigue of some course of study, appointed by those who are over you. But what as to your motives? Is it purely for the service of God or rather in order to follow the natural bent of your own nature, to gain praise to yourself or to make parade of your talents? Would you be equally ready to give up your own convenience where there is question of doing some work for God’s good pleasure and where self-love would find no satisfaction? The workings of your heart are exceedingly subtle and very hidden. Examine therefore very carefully your motives of action, for upon them depends the solidity of your virtues.

AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Give me understanding and I will search Thy law; and I will keep it with my whole heart. (Ps. cxviii, 34.)

PRAYER AFTER MEDITATION.

My God, I give Thee heartfelt thanks for all the graces and all the light Thou hast conferred on me during this meditation. Pardon me all the negligence and the distractions of which I have been guilty, and give me strength to carry out the resolutions that I have made. Fortify me, that from henceforth I may diligently practise this virtue . . . avoid this fault . . . perform this action . . . to Thy honor. Help me to do this, sweet Virgin Mary; and if I ever forget my good resolutions, I entreat my Angel Guardian to recall them to my memory. Amen.

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Of a good peaceable man.

Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called the children of God (Matt. v., 9). Understand the grandeur of that name and the deep instruction which it contains. Peace is perfect order; and trouble, dissensions, discords, war, have entered into the world by the violation of order and by sin. Therefore there is no peace where sin reigns; no peace in the man whose thoughts, affections, and wishes are not in all things conformable to order, to truth, and to the will of God; there is no peace in the society, the doctrines and laws of which depart from the law and the doctrines revealed by God. No; peace is only for the children of God : they taste it in themselves and extend it to others; it runs, so to speak, from their hearts, like the rivers that watered the happy dwelling place of our first father in the time of his innocence. And when the last hour comes, it shall be still peace; for the kingdom of God is justice and peace (Rom. xiv., 17). Children of God, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world (Matt. xxv., 34) .—Thomas à Kempis—Imitation of Christ Bk II, Ch III, reflection.

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December Devotion: The Immaculate Conception.

Virtues to practice: Conformity to the will of God, divine love.

Come, let us adore the King our Lord, who is to come!


Hymn from the Office of Lauds for Advent

The solemn voice of the Precursor is heard, explaining the obscurity of the ancient figures; let our slumbers cease; Jesus is rising on our horizon.
Let the sluggish soul now rise, and stay no more upon this earth; a new star is shining, which will take all sin away.
Lo! the Lamb is sent to forgive us freely our debt; let us unite in tears and prayers, that we may obtain pardon.
That when He comes the second time, filling the world with fear, He may not have to punish us for our sins, but may protect us in mercy.
Power, honour, praise, and glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Paraclete, for ever and ever. Amen.

Prayers from the Office and the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass for Advent

V. O Lord, hear my prayer.
R. And let my cry come unto Thee.
Almighty Lord and God, who hast brought us to the beginning of this day, let thy powerful grace so conduct us through it, that we may not fall into any sin, but that all our thoughts, words, and actions may be regulated according to the rules of thy heavenly justice, and tend to the observance of thy holy law. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
V. Incline unto my aid, O God.
R. O Lord, make haste to help me.
Lord God, and King of heaven and earth, vouchsafe this day to rule and sanctify, to direct and govern our souls and bodies, our senses, words, and actions in conformity to Thy law, and strict obedience to Thy commands; that by the help of Thy grace, O Saviour of the world! we may be fenced and freed from all evils. Who livest and reignest for ever and ever. Amen.

V. O Lord God of hosts, come and deliver us.
R. Show Thy face, and we shall be saved.
V. Show us, O Lord, thy mercy.
R. And grant us the Saviour, whom we expect from Thee.
V. The Lord shall rise upon thee, O Jerusalem!
R. And His glory shall be seen upon thee.

Bend Thine ear, O Lord, we beseech Thee, to our prayers, and enlighten the darkness of our minds by the grace of Thy visitation; who livest and reignest God, world without end. Amen.

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Novena for Advent

Hail and blessed be the hour and the moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, O my God! To hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of His blessed Mother. Amen.

(It is piously believed that whoever recites the above prayer fifteen times a day from the feast of St. Andrew (Nov. 30th) until Christmas will obtain what is asked.)

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Copyright © 2013 – 2014. Holy Cross Publications. All rights reserved.