Happiness of having been born after the Redemption and in the True Church.

Happiness of having been born after the Redemption and in the True Church.

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.

Happiness of having been born after the Redemption and in the True Church.

Ubi venit plenitudo temporis, misit Deus Filium suum . . . , ut eos qui sub lege erant, redimeret.

“When the fulness of the time was come, God sent His Son . . . that He might redeem them who were under the law.” Gal. iv. 4.

I.

How thankful should we not be to Almighty God for having caused us to be born after the great work of man’s redemption was accomplished! This is what is meant by the fulness of time, a time blessed by the fulness of grace, which Jesus Christ obtained for us by coming into the world. Miserable should we have been if, guilty as we are of manifold sins, we had lived on this earth before the coming of Jesus Christ.

II.

Oh, what a miserable state were all men in before the coming of the Messias; the true God was hardly known even in Judea, and in every other part of the world idolatry reigned, so that our forefathers worshipped stones, and wood, and devils; they worshipped innumerable false gods, but the true God was neither loved nor known by them. Even now, how many countries are there in which there are scarcely any Catholics, and all the rest of the inhabitants are either infidels or heretics! and all these are certainly in the way to be lost. What obligation do we not owe to God for causing us to be born, not only after the coming of Jesus Christ, but also in countries where the true faith reigns!

I thank Thee, O Lord, for this. Woe to me if, after so many transgressions, it had been my lot to live in the midst of infidels or heretics! I know, O my God, that Thou wiliest that I should be saved; and I, miserable wretch, have willed so many times to damn myself by losing Thy favor, Have pity, my Blessed Redeemer, on my soul, which has cost Thee so much.

III.

God sent His Son that He might redeem them that were under the law. 1 The slave therefore sins, and by sinning gives himself into the power of the devil, and his own Lord comes and ransoms him by His death.

O immense love, O infinite love of God towards man! O my Saviour, if Thou hadst not redeemed me by Thy death, what would have become of me? Of me, who so many times have deserved hell by my sins. Oh, if Thou, my Jesus, hadst not died for me, I should have lost Thee forever, and there would have been no hope for me of recovering Thy grace, or of seeing Thy beautiful face in paradise. My dearest Saviour, I thank Thee; and I hope to come to heaven, there to thank Thee for all eternity, I regret above every evil that of having despised Thee in times past. In future, I purpose to choose every trouble, every kind of death, rather than offend Thee. I beseech Thee, my Jesus, let me never do so; “never let me be separated from Thee, never let me be separated from Thee.” I love Thee, O infinite Goodness! and I will always love Thee in this life, and in all eternity. O my queen and advocate, Mary, keep me always under thy protection, and deliver me from sin.

—St. Alphonsus Ligouri

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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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.

Exert, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy power and come; that by thy protection we may be freed from the imminent dangers of our sins, and be saved by Thy mercy; 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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