Tuesday after the First Sunday of Advent.—Decree of the Incarnation.
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 First Sunday of Advent.—Decree of the Incarnation.
God so loved the world as to give His only begotten Son. (John iii, 16.)
CONSIDER FIRSTLY how wonderful it is that God should love anything that is exterior to Himself, since within Himself He contains in an infinite degree all that there can exist of good outside of Himself. Still greater wonder is it, however, that from all eternity He has loved the world, that is the human race, with all the tender love of a father whilst therefrom He has met with nothing but the blackest ingratitude and the most abominable wickedness.
APPLICATION. Examine yourself and see whether you yourself are not the object of the greatest wonder, who possessing within you nothing of good and having received all from God, do not love Him Who so loved you, but only love yourself.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. What is man that Thou art mindful of him? or the son of man that Thou visitest him? (Ps. viii, 6.)
CONSIDER SECONDLY to what an excess the divine love towards you has urged Him. He so loved as to give His only-begotten Son. What greater gift could be conceived than this? To give you not a mere man, not an angel, nor a seraph, but His only-begotten Son, not an adopted one but His own Divine Son consubstantial with Him, one and the same with the Father in substance and only differing in person. In giving you Jesus Christ He has vouchsafed to bestow on you all the treasures that there are in Him as man, as God, and as both man and God: He that spared not His own Son: but delivered Him up for us all, how hath He not also with Him, given us all things? (Rom. viii, 32.)
APPLICATION. And will you not make sacrifice of even one sin or one fault for love of this Lord, Who with such infinite goodness has given you such marvellous proof of His love?
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Thou art the God of my heart, and the God that is my portion for ever. (Ps. lxxii, 26.)
CONSIDER THIRDLY how very great would have been the Father’s love for you, had He given His Son to reign on earth, to receive the homage of mankind, to give laws, and to make known to mankind His heavenly doctrine. But is it not a far more stupendous proof of His love, that He should have given Him to suffer and to die for the salvation of men? In order that you might become a partaker of the divine nature, He humbled the divine to the human. In order that you might be freed from the guilt of sin and from eternal punishment, He delivered up His only-begotten Son to death, the most painful and the most infamous death of the cross.
APPLICATION. And you, although you have seen this excess of love which passes all bounds and this so unutterable abasement of your Lord, can you still remain so proud that for love of Him you cannot bear the least slight upon your reputation?
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. It is good for me that Thou hast humbled me. (Ps. cxviii, 71.)
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.
VIII. If thou hadst a right spirit within thee, and wert purified from earthly affections, all things would turn to thy good and to thy profit.
For this reason do many things displease thee, and often trouble thee; because thou art not as yet perfectly dead to thyself, nor separated from all earthly things.
Nothing so defiles and entangles the heart of man as impure love to created things.
If thou reject exterior comfort, thou wilt be able to contemplate heavenly things and frequently to feel excessive joy interiorly.—Thomas à Kempis—Imitation of Christ Bk II, Ch I, pt. VIII.
[What important thoughts to meditate on and then practice as the world is putting so much emphasis and allurement on shopping and buying during this time of Advent when we should be spiritually preparing for our Lord’s birth! If we will prepare spiritually this Advent for His coming we will have the true joy of Christmas.]
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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