The Manner 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.
The Manner of the Incarnation.
And the Word was made flesh. (John i, 14.)
CONSIDER FIRSTLY that when the Eternal Father decreed that Jesus Christ should clothe Himself with our human nature in order to work out our redemption, Jesus Christ might have chosen a glorified body and that of a perfect man, without submitting Himself to the weakness and sufferings of infancy. Notwithstanding all this, He chose for our greater profit and advantage to be born an infant as we are: It behoved Him in all things to be made like unto us, so that we, seeing Him in this state of utter abasement and become like to one of ourselves in all things, might be the more easily moved to imitate Him and to become like Him.
APPLICATION. Upon this do you also ponder well, seeing that all your progress and perfection consist in, making yourself like to your Creator, Who was made like unto you in all things in order thereby to become your Redeemer.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. I have said: Ye are gods, and all of you sons of the Most High. (Ps.lxxxii, 6.)
CONSIDER SECONDLY that the first way in which you must imitate Him is by making yourself a little child: Unless you become as little children you shall not enter the Kingdom of heaven. If then in order to be saved you must needs become small, still more in order to arrive at the perfection of your state of life must you become a little child. What then does this mean, to become a little child? It means casting yourself into the arms of Divine Providence, and submitting entirely to the Divine Will, laying aside all anxiety and all thought of yourself like a babe nestling in the arms of its mother.
APPLICATION. Reflect for a moment, if at times you find it hard to be bound down by certain rules and regulations and to be dependent upon the will of others, how much harder it must have been for Jesus to remain for nine months enclosed in His Mother’s womb all the while endowed with feeling and the perfect use of reason. This was the first suffering that Jesus Christ bore for you. This reflection is the first step that you must take towards the perfection of your state.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. The declaration of Thy words giveth light; it giveth understanding unto little ones. (Ps. cxviii, 130.)
CONSIDER THIRDLY that Jesus Christ not only became a child, but that He willed to be born of a mother in order that being Himself our own flesh and our own brother, His Mother should become our mother also. In like manner as Eve was one with Adam in bringing about the fall of man, so for our salvation it was suitable that the Divine Son should co-operate also with His Blessed Mother. The Son was to be our head, the source of all our graces, the Mother the dispenser of these His gifts; the Son our Advocate with the Father, the Mother our Advocate with the Son. Oh, what tender proofs of our Blessed Redeemer’s immense love!
APPLICATION. Learn then how to profit in all your needs, by having recourse to and calling to your aid her who by becoming Mother of our Saviour is made the Mother also of your salvation. “In troubles and in dangers,” says St. Bernard, “call upon Mary, think about Mary; let not her name leave your lips nor pass away from your heart.”
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS, O look upon me and have mercy on me; give Thy command unto Thy servant, and save the son of Thy handmaid. (Ps. lxxxvi, 16.)
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.
O my most amiable Saviour! the life of my soul! the only object of my hope, and the assurance of my salvation! come, take possession of a heart which is already Thine, infuse into it the spirit of Thy mysteries, Thy interior dispositions, and the virtues which Thou didst practise. Grant that, animated by Thy spirit, living in and by Thee, and clothed, as it were, with Thy justice, I may become more Thine than my own. Amen.—Thomas à Kempis—Imitation of Christ Bk II, Ch I, prayer.
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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