Wednesday after the Third Sunday of Advent.-The Sanctification of St. John the Baptist..
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.
Wednesday after the Third Sunday of Advent.-The Sanctification of St. John the Baptist.
(Read Luke i, 39-56.)
CONSIDER FIRSTLY that at the first salutation of the Blessed Virgin to St. Elizabeth, St. John was endowed by the Infant Jesus with three special blessings. The first was to be cleansed from original sin by the infusion of sanctifying grace. The second was to receive by anticipation the use of reason so as to be capable of gaining merit. The third was clearly to understand the great mystery of the Divine Incarnation, and forthwith, even in his mother’s womb to rejoice and exult in it. All these blessings came to St. John by reason of and through the words of the Blessed Virgin. Similar blessings will she obtain for all those who have recourse to her, and who love to present themselves before her imploring her to be cleansed from their sins, to be assisted in the path of virtue, and to be enlightened in the divine mysteries.
APPLICATION. If you desire that the Divine Infant should enrich you with His gifts, do you also have recourse to the Blessed Virgin and beg of her to obtain for you that you may hear her words in your heart: Let thy voice sound in my ears. (Cant. ii, I4.)
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS, The voice of joy and salvation is in the tabernacles of the just. (Ps. cxvii, 15.)
CONSIDER SECONDLY how this salutation illuminated the soul of St. Elizabeth making her discern the dignity of Mary and the mystery of the Incarnate Word, break forth as she did into most exalted praises of the Blessed Virgin and extol her with the glorious title of Mother of God, Neither did she omit to thank her for having deigned to visit her and to have undertaken so perilous a journey: and whence is this to me that the Mother of my Lord should come to me?
APPLICATION. You too should excite in your own heart similar affections of praise and of gratitude, whenever you receive any grace through the Blessed Virgin, extolling her loving goodness in deigning from her exalted throne to look down with her eyes of mercy upon one so unworthy as you are, and yet how easily do you forget her in whose favours you so often rejoice.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. If I forget thee, O Jerusalem; let my right hand be forgotten; let my tongue. cleave to my jaws if I do not remember thee. (Ps. cxxxvi, 5-6.)
CONSIDER THIRDLY how the Blessed Virgin made no reply to all these praises, but all aflame with love of God set herself with her most glorious canticle to magnify the Lord and to humble herself: My soul doth, magnify the Lord, because He hath regarded the humility of His handmaiden.
APPLICATION. How far different are your sentiments when you are praised! Instead of acknowledging and thanking the Giver of all the good you have, you become vain and proud. Beseech then the Blessed Virgin to obtain for you a spirit of true humility, and a lively desire of directing all your actions to the glory of God so that you also may be able to say, My soul doth magnify the Lord.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Thou art a strong helper. Let my mouth be filled with praise that I may sing of Thy glory and of Thy greatness all the day long. (Ps. lxx, 7-8.)
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.
Ill. Some there are who keep themselves in peace, and have peace also with others.
And there are some that are neither at peace within themselves, nor suffer others to be in peace ; they are troublesome to others but always more troublesome to themselves.
And some there are who keep themselves in peace, and study to restore peace to others.
Yet all our peace in this miserable life is rather to be placed in humble suffering, than in not feeling adversities.
He who knows how to suffer will enjoy much peace.
Such a one is conqueror of himself and lord of the world, a friend of Christ, and an heir of heaven.—Thomas à Kempis—Imitation of Christ Bk II, Ch III, pt. III.
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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