December 13th – St. Lucy, Ora Pro Nobis!
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Expectation of the Messiah.
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.
Expectation of the Messiah.
I say to you, many prophets and just men have desired to see the things that you see. (Matt. xiii, I7.)
CONSIDER FIRSTLY, that although God had decreed an adequate remedy for the sin of Adam by His promise of a future Redeemer, yet He delayed His coming on earth for more than five thousand years, during which the patriarchs and prophets and all His chosen people awaited the advent of the Messiah with incessant tears and fervent longings. And this for three reasons. The first was to teach us that, in order to obtain the graces which God intends to bestow upon us, we should ask and implore them of Him with ardent and persevering prayer.
APPLICATION. Here then is the reason why you do not obtain the graces that you need, because you are cold and inconstant in asking for them. If you find you are not heard at once, you get vexed and give up asking.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. O Lord, the God of my salvation: I have cried in the day, and in the night before Thee. (Ps. lxxxvii, I.)
CONSIDER SECONDLY, that the second reason of this delay was that as the human race was before the coming of Christ sunk in the corruption of vice, and lay miserably buried in the thick darkness of ignorance, the utter need and intense benefit of a Redeemer, in order to enlighten mankind and restore it to health, might be made all the more manifest.
APPLICATION. In a like manner does our Lord often deal with you. He delays to free you from some annoying temptation or from some troublesome work, in order that you may the better realise your own weakness, that you may humble yourself the more and that you may the more fully value His goodness when it shall be His good pleasure to set you free.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. With expectation I have waited for the Lord, and He was attentive to me. (Ps. xxxix, 2.)
CONSIDER THIRDLY another, and a last reason of this His delay, was because He willed to come at a time when the heart of His chosen people was wholly set on earthly things, and when they looked forward to the Messiah only in order to be liberated from the yoke of the Romans. Seeing Him then appear upon earth so poor and so despised they scorned Him, they persecuted Him, and they condemned Him to the death of the Cross, and it was by the merits of this His death He was to free us from the slavery of the devil and of sin, and to win for us the reward of His eternal kingdom.
APPLICATION. Oh what a precious lesson is this for you! Your heart often longs to do some good in your work or perhaps in your particular ministry, but you are disheartened at finding yourself ignored by your companions, mortified by your superiors, nay possibly persecuted by others. In consequence you draw back from doing the good you had at heart. But it should be just the opposite. Now is precisely the best time for you to exercise patience, humility and charity, and to work merely to please God and thus become richer in virtue and in merits. This is the way also to conform yourself more to the example of Jesus Christ.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. For my father and my mother have left me: but the Lord hath taken me up. (Ps. xxvi, 10.)
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 a good peaceable man.
I. Keep thyself first in peace, and then thou wilt be able to bring others to peace.
A peaceable man does more good than one that is very learned.
A passionate man turns every good into evil, and easily believes evil.
A good peaceable man turns all things to good.
He that is in perfect peace suspects no man; but he that is discontented and disturbed is tossed about with various suspicions: he is neither easy himself, nor does he suffer others to be easy.
He often says that which he should not say; and omits that which would be better for him to do.
He considers what others are obliged to do, and neglects that to which he himself is obliged.
Have therefore a zeal in the first place over thyself, and then thou mayest justly exercise thy zeal towards thy neighbour.—Thomas à Kempis—Imitation of Christ Bk II, Ch III, pt. I.
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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