The Love that God has manifested to us in the Incarnation of the Word.
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 Love that God has manifested to us in the Incarnation of the Word.
Et Verbum caro factum est.
“And the Word was made flesh.”—John, i. 14.
God has created us to love Him in this life, and afterwards to enjoy Him in the next; but we ungratefully rebelled against God by sinning, and refused to obey Him, and therefore we have been deprived of divine grace, and excluded from paradise, and besides condemned to the eternal pains of hell. Behold us, therefore, all lost; but this God, moved by compassion for us, resolved to send on earth a Redeemer, who should repair our great ruin.
But who shall this Redeemer be? Shall it be an angel, or a seraph? No; to show us the immense love that He bears us, God sends us His own Son: “God sent His Son in the likeness of sinful flesh. “He sent His only-begotten Son to clothe Himself with the same flesh as we sinners, but without the stain of sin; and He willed that by His sufferings and His death He should satisfy the divine justice for our crimes, and should thus deliver us from eternal death, and render us worthy of divine grace and eternal glory.
I thank Thee, O my God, on behalf of all mankind; for, if Thou hadst not thought of saving us, I and all the world would have been lost forever.
Let us dwell here on the infinite love which our God has shown for us in this great work of the Incarnation of the Word, ordaining that His Son should come and sacrifice His life upon the Cross by the hands of executioners, in a sea of sorrows and of shame, to obtain for us pardon and eternal salvation. O infinite goodness! O infinite mercy! O infinite love! A God to become man and die for us poor worms!
I beseech Thee, my Saviour, make me know how much Thou hast loved me, in order that, at the sight of Thy loving-kindness, I may discover my own ingratitude. Thou hast delivered me by Thy death from perdition; and I, ungrateful that I am, have turned my back upon Thee, to ruin myself again! I repent with all my heart of having done Thee this great injury. O my Saviour! forgive me and save me in future from sin; do not suffer me again to lose Thy grace. I love Thee, O my dear Jesus; Thou art my hope and my love! O Mary, Mother of this great Son, recommend to Him my soul!
-St. Alphonsus Ligouri
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.
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.
Exert, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy power and come; that by thy protection we may be freed from the imminent dangers of our sins, and be saved by Thy mercy; 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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