Friday after the Third Sunday in Advent.

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December 20th O Antiphon:

O Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel, who openest and no man shutteth, who shuttest and no man openeth: come and bring forth from his prison-house, the captive that sitteth in darkness and in the shadow of death. – Isaias xxii. 22; Apocalypse iii. 7; Luke i. 79.

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On What Mary Became to Us, in Consequence of Giving Her Consent to the Incarnation.

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 What Mary Became to Us, in Consequence of Giving Her Consent to the Incarnation.

In some of the preceding meditations you have, my soul, contemplated the baneful crop of weeds that sprung up on the earth in consequence of the disobedience of the first woman, Eve; a deadly crop of sin and vice; a crop of tribulation and misery, of lamentation and woe, of sickness and death. From henceforward you are called upon to contemplate the glorious fruits of obedience, and to-day in particular you will meditate on the results to Mary of this obedience on her part.

1st. By uttering those words: “Behold the handmaid of the Lord,” she became the woman of whom God spoke in paradise, foretelling concerning her that she should crush the serpent’s head, for immediately upon her consent being given, He who was destined to destroy the power of the devil upon earth was conceived in her virginal womb.

2d. She became the bright aurora of our salvation, the rosy glow that ushers in the day, for at her word the Sun of Justice, the only-begotten of the Father, came upon the earth to give light to its darkness, to give warmth to its coldness, to give fresh life and vigor to those who were benumbed and frost-bound by sin and idolatry.

3d. She became the little cloud, the herald of the oncoming rain, that the prophet Elias saw rising up on the horizon after a drought of more than four years’ duration. For after the world had for four thousand years been dried and scorched by the keen blasts of the divine anger, and not a drop of rain nor vivifying dew of celestial grace had fallen to moisten the thirsty land, it was not until Mary expressed her compliance with the divine will that the yearning desire of the languishing nations, expressed in the expectant cry: “Drop down dew, ye heavens from above, and let the clouds rain the just,” found its fulfilment.

4th. She became a more powerful advocate with God than Queen Esther was with King Assuerus. For if Esther, by her entreaties and tears, appeased the wrath of the earthly monarch, and prevailed on him to spare one nation, the Hebrew people, Mary, by intimating her consent to the divine decree, gained the privilege of having the Son of God for her Son, and thereby appeased the anger of the King of Heaven, excited against all the nations of the earth.

O happy obedience, that brought salvation to the world, and glory to the name of Mary! And you, my soul, bear so grudgingly the yoke that the vow of obedience lays on you! Yet ask yourself this one thing: When did an act of obedience bring you harm or disgrace? And did you ever find disobedience make you happy?

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.

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December Devotion: The Immaculate Conception.

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.

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The Prayer of the Immaculate Conception

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.


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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