Tuesday after the Third Sunday of Advent.—The Visitation.
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 Third Sunday of Advent.—The Visitation.
(Read Luke i, 39-56.)
CONSIDER FIRSTLY that Christ did not delay in beginning the work of redemption, but even before coming forth from His Mother’s womb went to sanctify St. John. He might have done this without leaving Nazareth, nevertheless it pleased Him to inspire His Mother to visit St. Elizabeth and through her to work a signal blessing in St. John. Thus we see that as she was the means of the sanctification of St. John and also of the first miracle wrought by Christ at the marriage feast of Cana, so for us likewise is she at all times the channel of all those spiritual and temporal graces which we can hope for from the divine liberality. Such is the will of Him Who has willed that we should have all things through Mary. (St. Bernard.)
APPLICATION. If you really grasped this great truth, how much more eager would you be to gain the protection of our Blessed Lady by your devotion to her and to have recourse to her in all your needs.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. God is wonderful in His saints. (Ps. 1xviii, 36.)
CONSIDER SECONDLY the promptitude with which the Blessed Virgin obeyed the inspiration: She went into the hill country with haste. (Luke i, 39.) Neither her love of solitude nor the quiet of contemplation could make her hesitate, nor the fear of those dangers which her Divine Son might encounter in such a perilous journey.
APPLICATION. And what is your manner of acting who either do not give ear to the inspirations of God, or are slow in responding to them by letting your self-love invent a thousand imaginary difficulties? If you knew what blessings you lose in thus making so little of inspirations from heaven, you would not be so careless in obeying the voice of God.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. I will hearken what the Lord shall say within me, for He will speak peace unto His people. (Ps. lxxxiv, 9.)
CONSIDER THIRDLY that the Blessed Virgin did not take this wearisome journey merely to pay a visit of ceremony, nor from curiosity to discover whether what the Angel had spoken about Elizabeth were verified, still less from vanity in order to parade her dignity as mother of the Most High. She went moved simply by obedience to the Divine Will, and in order to co-operate in the sanctification of the Precursor.
APPLICATION. You willingly accept the discomfort of some hard work, or the fatigue of some course of study, appointed by those who are over you. But what as to your motives? Is it purely for the service of God or rather in order to follow the natural bent of your own nature, to gain praise to yourself or to make parade of your talents? Would you be equally ready to give up your own convenience where there is question of doing some work for God’s good pleasure and where self-love would find no satisfaction? The workings of your heart are exceedingly subtle and very hidden. Examine therefore very carefully your motives of action, for upon them depends the solidity of your virtues.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Give me understanding and I will search Thy law; and I will keep it with my whole heart. (Ps. cxviii, 34.)
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.
Blessed are the peace-makers, for they shall be called the children of God (Matt. v., 9). Understand the grandeur of that name and the deep instruction which it contains. Peace is perfect order; and trouble, dissensions, discords, war, have entered into the world by the violation of order and by sin. Therefore there is no peace where sin reigns; no peace in the man whose thoughts, affections, and wishes are not in all things conformable to order, to truth, and to the will of God; there is no peace in the society, the doctrines and laws of which depart from the law and the doctrines revealed by God. No; peace is only for the children of God : they taste it in themselves and extend it to others; it runs, so to speak, from their hearts, like the rivers that watered the happy dwelling place of our first father in the time of his innocence. And when the last hour comes, it shall be still peace; for the kingdom of God is justice and peace (Rom. xiv., 17). Children of God, possess you the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world (Matt. xxv., 34) .—Thomas à Kempis—Imitation of Christ Bk II, Ch III, reflection.
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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