Monday after the First Sunday of Advent.—The Sin of the Angels.
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.
Monday after the First Sunday of Advent.—The Sin of the Angels.
Depart from me, you cursed, into everlasting fire which was prepared for the devil and his angels. (Matt. xxv, 41.)
CONSIDER FIRSTLY how extremely rigorous was the justice of God against the rebel angels, who for one sin—and that of thought only—were all included in one common sentence of eternal damnation and in a moment were cast down into the depths of hell. Exceeding great on the other hand was the mercy which God wished to show towards mankind, in order the better to manifest the splendour and glory of His Divine attributes. He could have repaired our ruin in other ways, as for example by the simple forgiveness of our sins or by taking upon Himself an angelic nature. But He wished to redeem us by becoming man, because only one who was both God and man could fully satisfy the Divine justice for our debt; and He desired to raise human nature from the depths of its miseries to the height of the right hand of the Divine Father.
APPLICATION. If you find not in yourself how to praise and thank God worthily for all these blessings, then unite your praise with that of the angelic spirits who, overawed at the glory of God which is so singularly resplendent in this sublime mystery, cry out incessantly before His throne: Holy, Holy, Holy, heaven and earth are full of Thy glory.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. I will praise Thee, O Lord, with my whole heart, for Thou hast heard the words of my mouth. I will sing praise unto Thee in the sight of the angels. (Ps. cxxxvii, I.)
CONSIDER SECONDLY that God after having manifested His justice against the rebel angels, would also make manifest His mercy towards all mankind, who by the original sin of Adam, and still more by their own personal sins lay under sentence of eternal death. Thereby He would teach us that He is both merciful and just.
APPLICATION. Will you not then love the divine goodness which so disinterestedly condescended to show towards mankind such infinite mercy, the fruits of which you now enjoy? What loss would God have suffered had a miserable creature like yourself perished together with the whole human race, when His happiness remained unimpaired by so many hosts of angels being cast into perdition? At least thank Him from your heart that His redeeming mercy towards all mankind has been also extended to you personally, just as if in the whole world there had been no other to redeem excepting yourself.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Praise the Lord, all ye nations, praise Him, all ye people; for His mercy is confirmed upon us. (Ps. cxvi, 1-2.)
CONSIDER THIRDLY that, after God has shown such extreme mercy towards mankind, He will not fail to exercise rigorous justice towards those who unworthily abuse it, and all the more so as it has been given them more fully to experience the effects of His mercy.
APPLICATION. To you God has granted to know this great mystery by the clear light of faith. He allowed you to be born in the noonday sun of Christianity, and by many inspirations has invited you to the school of Christ as a disciple and as a follower. If then you do not profit by these blessings which have been denied to so many others far better than yourself, then at least have a dread of the rigours of His justice, for not to fear them is to stand in very great danger.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Convert us, O God our Saviour; and turn away Thine anger from us. (Ps. lxxxiv, 5.)
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.
Of Interior Conversation.
VII. He to whom all things relish as they are, that is, in God, who is the very truth, not as they are said or esteemed to be, he is wise indeed, and taught rather by God than men.
He who knows how to walk internally, and to make little account of external things, is not at a loss for proper places or times for performing devout exercises.
An internal man quickly recollects himself, because he never pours forth his whole self upon outward things.
Exterior labour is no prejudice to him, nor any employment which for a time is necessary; but as things fall out, he so accommodates himself to them.
He that is well disposed and orderly in his interior, heeds not the strange and perverse carriages of men.
As much as a man draws things to himself, so much is he hindered and distracted by them.—Thomas à Kempis—Imitation of Christ Bk II, Ch I, pt. VII.
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.
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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