December 12 – Our Lady of Guadalupe, ora pro nobis!
Friday after the Second Sunday of Advent.—Mary’s Reply to the Angel Gabriel.
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.
Friday after the Second Sunday of Advent.—Mary’s Reply to the Angel Gabriel.
(Read Luke i, 29-38.)
CONSIDER FIRSTLY, that in this visit of the Archangel the Blessed Virgin made three heroic acts of humility. The first was when she heard herself praised as most blessed among women and declared full of grace. Thereupon she felt no complacency nor the slightest exaltation, but on the contrary, she was troubled at his saying, albeit that praise carne from the lips of a heavenly messenger from whom she could not fear any deception.
APPLICATION. Oh how quite other is your behaviour from that of this most humble Virgin! When you are praised you are at once elated, you often seek after such praise, and even at times you are not ashamed to praise yourself. On the other hand, when you justly are corrected for your faults you are troubled, and you grow indignant. Thus it is that your pride, one might almost say, strives to emulate the humility of the Blessed Virgin.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. It is good for me that Thou hast humbled me, that I may learn Thine ordinances. (Ps. cxviii, 71.)
CONSIDER SECONDLY, the second act of humility on the part of the Blessed Virgin, who directly she saw herself so exalted abased her own nothingness and declared herself to be the most lowly handmaid of that God Who was about to become her son and the fruit of her womb. Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done unto me according to Thy word. It was precisely this humility that merited for her so exalted a dignity: for He hath regarded the humility of His handmaiden.
APPLICATION. What feelings do you experience in yourself, when God visits you with any gift or specially favours you in time of prayer? If at such times you recognise your own unworthiness and animate yourself the more to serve Him faithfully, it is well with you. But if you exalt yourself and grow proud, fear with good reason lest you be deprived of these gifts and be severely humbled. God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Deal with Thy servant according unto Thy mercy; and teach me Thine ordinances. (Ps. cxviii, 124.)
CONSIDER THIRDLY, that the Blessed Virgin, most deeply versed in the holy Scriptures and instructed by God in the divine plan of our redemption, knew clearly beforehand all the sufferings and ill-treatment that her Divine Son would meet with during the course of His life and particularly at His death. Thus then in offering herself as His handmaid she understood well that she was offering herself as His inseparable companion in His labours and in His ignominy, accepting with equal readiness to participate resignedly in the sufferings of the Son of God as to be exalted to the dignity of Mother of God. Herein lay her third act of humility.
APPLICATION. You too must do likewise. The more our Lord favours you, the more faithful and ready should you show yourself in accompanying Him to Calvary. God grant that you may never be of the number of those servants who the more they are favoured by their Master become the more insolent and rebellious.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. What shall I render unto the Lord for all the things that He hath rendered unto me? (Ps. cxv, 12.)
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 Humble Submission.
O Lord, if Thou art for me, who shall be against me? If Thou art for me, I shall fear nothing that man can do. Yes, my God, Thou art with me in order to defend me; therefore I will despise my enemies; and, let them use what efforts they please for my destruction; I will remain tranquil in the midst of affronts, contempt, and bad treatment. I must become meek and humble of heart; must humble myself under Thy mighty hand; I must depend on Thee alone; I must await with patience the time and manner in which Thou hast resolved to deliver me; and these sentiments Thou alone canst bestow; refuse them not, then, I beseech Thee, O Lord. Amen.—Thomas à Kempis—Imitation of Christ Bk II, Ch II, 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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