St. Nicholas, ora pro nobis.
By the Incarnation of Christ, the Most Glorious Attributes of God Are Made Apparent.
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.
By the Incarnation of Christ, the Most Glorious Attributes of God Are Made Apparent.
Once more, my soul, you will have to fix your thoughts during your meditation on the mystery of our Lord’s incarnation, and focus on one point the different lights which you have gained in the course of your previous meditations on this mystery. We know how a traveller willingly stops on his way, and stands still for a few moments to look upwards at the sky, when a bright rainbow spans the wide vault of Heaven. So you would do well to pause awhile before passing to another subject of meditation, to contemplate how, in the incarnation of Christ, the seven principal divine attributes shine forth, as in the varied hues of a beauteous rainbow. These are:
1st. The Omnipotence of God. He performs the highest possible act, one which no man of himself is capable even of conceiving, for He causes God to become man, and man – see that you understand this aright – to become God.
2d. His Goodness, which stoops so low that by joining His divine nature to human nature in the hypostatic union, He enters into the closest relationship with each individual member of the human race.
3d. His Charity. God gives to us what is dearest to Him, His Son, and in such a manner that He becomes one of us.
4th. His Mercy. Do not ever forget that God does not grant all these benefits and blessings to creatures who have merited them by their obedience, their love, etc., but to sinners, rebels, subjects guilty of high treason.
5th. His Justice. God is not content with simply granting us remission of sin, as He might well have done had He so chosen. He causes the penalty of our debt to be paid by His own Son, who became man, in order to satisfy the divine justice in our place.
6th. His Wisdom. The mercy of God demands the pardon of man; His justice requires his punishment. Supreme Wisdom devised the means of satisfying these antagonistic claims: the Son of God of His great mercy be came man, in order as man to appease the divine justice.
7th. His Holiness. It is the will of God to raise man from the degradation into which he fell, and restore him to the highest possible point of perfection and sanctity. He does not however with this intention send out His holy angels to show man the way of holiness and teach him to walk in it; no, the all-holy God does more than that. His own Son must become man, in order that by His teaching and His example He may bid us: “Be you therefore perfect, as also your Heavenly Father is perfect.” (St. Matt. v. 48.)
My soul, this is but one mystery, one however which offers so abundant, so inexhaustible a store of matter for meditation, that one might well devote to it, not as you have done, a few days, but whole weeks of meditation and deep reflection. What a treasure-house have we not then in all the truths of our holy Faith! It is like a vast mine, full of precious stones, abounding in gold and silver; why, then, do you not descend into it more frequently, and by meditation dig out these jewels? Why are you so dilatory in this respect, and why do you allow yourself to regard every trifling reason as of sufficient moment to excuse you from making one, if not both, of your daily meditations?
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.
December Devotion: The Immaculate Conception.
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.)
Immaculate Conception Novena.
O God, Who by the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary, didst prepare a worthy dwelling place for Thy Son, we beseech Thee that, as by the foreseen death of this, Thy Son, Thou didst preserve her from all stain, so too Thou wouldst permit us, purified through her intercession, to come unto Thee. Through the same Lord Jesus, Christ, Thy Son, Who livest and reignest with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
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