Tuesday after the Fourth Sunday in Advent.

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December 23th O Antiphon:

O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver, the expected of the nations and their Saviour, come to save us, O Lord our God. – Isaias vii. 14, xxxiii. 22.

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On the Dispositions wherewith the Most Holy Virgin Awaited the Birth of Our Lord.

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.

On the Dispositions wherewith the Most Holy Virgin Awaited the Birth of Our Lord.

To-day you are called upon, my soul, once again to contemplate the Blessed Virgin engaged in prayer in the quiet chamber she occupied in the house of her cousin Elizabeth, or seated in the garden in the shade of a spreading tree, absorbed in holy meditation and reflection upon the stupendous miracle already accomplished within her by God’s almighty power, and soon to be revealed to the whole world. Then consider:

1st. What must have been the feelings awakened in the Blessed Virgin’s mind when she realized the astounding fact: I am the Mother of God, and in consequence of this I am exalted not only above all mankind but even above all the angels of Heaven. Yet instead of this thought rendering her proud and haughty, she bows down immediately in profound and humble adoration before the inscrutable decree of the Most High, attributing all to His grace and extolling it alone in the beautiful words: “He that is mighty hath done great things to me” (St. Luke i. 49); and she knows no more ardent desire than this: to imitate the humility, the self-abasement of Him who took the form of a servant within her womb.

2d. Consider what Mary’s reflections must have been at the thought: I am the Mother of the Redeemer, the Mother of Him who out of pure love to us poor mortals became incarnate within me, assuming the nature of a man for no other object than this, by means of that human nature to redeem mankind from its iniquities. Well may the heart of the Mother, whilst meditating upon the charity of her Son, have glowed with the same love and the same compassion; and the flame thus kindled has never ceased to burn, for she, the Mother of our Redeemer, is at all times and under all circumstances our merciful Advocate, the Refuge of sinners.

3d. Consider how all these lofty and holy sentiments and thoughts that filled the soul of the Blessed Virgin were summed up and comprised in those touching words: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord.” In this character of handmaid she humbly accepts the graces of the wondrous maternity, whereby the pre-eminence above all women is given her, and at the same time she generously takes upon herself the sorrows and sufferings which, in consequence of the distinction conferred upon her, must necessarily pierce her soul like a sharp sword. And now, my soul, compare the thoughts that filled Mary’s mind while carrying Christ in her womb with the sentiments and emotions that you entertain when you have received Christ into your heart; ask yourself whether, like Mary, you participate in the humility of Jesus, who for our sakes took upon Himself the form of a servant; whether you participate in the love of Jesus for sinners, a love which shines as brightly in the mystery of His incarnation as did the star that guided the three kings to His crib; whether, finally, you participate in His perfect submission to His Father’s will, to which He was obedient from His birth in the manger until His death upon the cross.

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.

Meditations on the Life, Teaching, and Passion of Jesus Christ

(Nihil Obstat and Imprimatur: New York, December 31, 1900)

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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.

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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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Prayers for a Novena from the 16th to the 24th Day of Any Month

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