Saturday after the Second Sunday in Advent.

Through the Incarnation of Christ the Fervor of Man’s Love for God Reaches its Highest Pitch on Earth, and the Degree of Glory that Man Can Enjoy in Heaven Attains its Utmost Limit.

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.

Through the Incarnation of Christ the Fervor of Man’s Love for God Reaches its Highest Pitch on Earth, and the Degree of Glory that Man Can Enjoy in Heaven Attains its Utmost Limit.

Like a traveller who, having traversed a fine tract of country, stands still when he finds himself on its boundary, and casts one more look on the fair scene behind him, so we will fix the eye of our mind once more in meditation on the wondrously beautiful mystery of our Lord’s incarnation, and observe two more bright lights that appertain to it.

1st. Consider how through the incarnation of Christ the love man bears to God while on earth is kindled anew and fanned into a brighter flame. In order to understand this, represent to yourself two nations, one whose monarch is a native of the country, residing in it, and speaking its language, and another, the ruler of which belongs to another race, lives in a foreign land, and never allows himself to be seen by his subjects. Then ask yourself, which of these two sovereigns – all other circumstances being the same – will necessarily be most beloved by his subjects. The first, unquestionably. Now although from the beginning of creation God is the King and Lord of all His creatures, yet He was, so to speak, one of another race, invisible moreover, and incomprehensible, in His divine nature far removed from human sight or human ken; hence it came to pass that under the Old Dispensation mankind had but little love for and attachment to Him. Even the Jews, the chosen people of God, could only be restrained by fear and menaces from falling away like the other nations from the worship of the true God and obedience to His laws, and giving themselves up to the most degrading idolatry. But when this same God by His incarnation took upon Him our nature, He became one of ourselves, we had our King in the midst of us, our eyes beheld Him; what wonder then that from that time forward the love for this King, no longer unseen, was kindled anew in the hearts of His Christian people, and reached its climax in the saints. Alas! that any should still remain cold under such circumstances! For if it was a sacred duty to love God the Father as being our Creator, when He was comparatively unknown to men, unseen by them, reigning on high enthroned in the celestial courts, how much more is this incumbent on us now, since this invisible King has been made visible to us, since He, as the incarnate goodness and kindness of God towards men, appeared on earth amongst us in person.

2d. Consider how through the incarnation of Christ the glory reserved for us in Heaven reaches its highest degree. For it is not enough that the souls of the elect should enjoy the highest felicity in the beatific vision of the Godhead; their bodies also, in consequence of the incarnation of Christ, participate in the benefits resulting from it; they have an object corresponding to their own nature which affords them supreme happiness, and that is the sacred humanity of Christ, in the contemplation of which the glorified body will find more consolation, joy and delight than in the contemplation of all or any of the other saints. Oh, if it is a source of unspeakable bliss to the angels to gaze upon the infinite Deity, what happiness must it not be for man to behold his human nature united to the divine nature in inexpressible splendor in Christ! Was not St. Augustine right when he asserted that man would willingly, if it were necessary, endure the scorching flames of hell for a lengthened period, in order to be admitted to look upon Christ in His glory?

And now, my soul, if for awhile you take leave of this wondrous mystery of the incarnation of Christ, which has hitherto been the theme of your meditations, do not omit, this very day, before passing onward, to ask yourself what means you will employ in order, while devoting your attention to other sacred mysteries, to revert in thought from time to time to this mystery, so rich in graces; at any  rate see that you take the resolution to let your mind dwell with greater gratitude, with greater love than heretofore on the incarnation of our Lord every time that you repeat the Angelus.

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.

Meditations on the Life, Teaching, and Passion of Jesus Christ

(Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur: New York, December 31, 1900)

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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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