Tuesday after the First Sunday in Advent.

On the Eternal Decree of God Not Merely to Create Man, but also to Redeem Him.

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 Eternal Decree of God Not Merely to Create Man, but also to Redeem Him.

To-day, my soul, you are required to soar aloft into the illimitable realms of space, and look far back into eternity, before time was, before angels or men were created, when nothing absolutely nothing existed but God alone. And when you have endeavored to comprehend this and to impress your mind deeply with the idea of the Deity, the Triune God, enthroned in unbroken solitude, in majestic repose, in perfect felicity, then consider:

1st. How this God, who is alone sufficient to Himself, who is infinitely happy, infinitely blessed and has need of nothing beyond Himself, yet determined to permit other beings to participate in His happiness, to share in the same bliss that He enjoys, and for this purpose to create man. O unspeakable loving-kindness of our God! Nothing, nothing of any kind moved Him to form this resolution; not any merit on your part, for you had none; not your prayers and entreaties, for as yet you did not exist but solely His great charity. O miserable worm of earth! See, even before you were called into being, before the world was made, from all eternity God thought of you. Of a truth had He done nothing more for you than this one thing in that He created you, you could never thank Him sufficiently, though you lived to reach the years of Mathusala. But He did far more than that.

2d. Consider that when God determined to create man, destining him for eternal happiness, He did not stop short there, but determined further to make it easy for him to attain that happiness. If a monarch granted you permission to come to his palace, a palace of surpassing beauty and attractiveness, and to enjoy with him the magnificence, the wealth that adorns it, you assuredly would not require him to send his own servants to fetch you and conduct you to it. But God in His inconceivable goodness and bounty even goes so far as that. From all eternity He resolved to endow man, whom He was about to create, not only with all natural gifts and mental powers, but also to bestow on him supernatural gifts and graces for the attainment of his final end; nay, more, to create thousands and tens of thousands of creatures and worlds that they might serve to incite man to a closer knowledge, a greater love of God, and thus bring him onward more quickly to his ultimate end. O incomprehensible bounty! A God who from all eternity, before I was so much as made, provided for my welfare like a loving father, and thought of the means of making me happy! Weep, my soul, to think how seldom hitherto you have thought of God, and if now you begin in some measure to learn how to love Him, exclaim with St. Augustine: “Too late have I loved Thee, my God!”

3d. Consider finally, in order, so to speak, to drink to inebriation of the overflowing wine of divine charity, how God did not merely determine in Himself in eternity to create man, to endow him with every means necessary for gaining eternal happiness, but resolved furthermore not to abandon man, even should he misuse all the benefits He intended to confer upon him. God of love! Thy charity is past our comprehension. Thou didst determine to cast out the fallen angels, but to redeem fallen man. Awake then, my soul, plunge yourself by meditation into this abyss, immerse yourself in this ocean of divine charity. You may perhaps even to-day experience some measure of contrition for your past coldness and ingratitude, and you may perchance now find it somewhat easier to bear the yoke of self-denial and mortification which your vocation or the rule of your Order lays upon you during this bleak season of Advent.

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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Come, let us adore the King our Lord, who is to come!

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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.

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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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Act of Perfect Contrition
Oh my God! I am heartily sorry
for having offended Thee and
I detest all my sins because
I dread the loss of Heaven and the pains of Hell;
But most of all because I have offended Thee, My God,
Who art all-good and deserving of all my love.
I firmly resolve, with the help of Thy grace,
To confess my sins, to do penance,
And to amend my life. Amen.

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Prayers in Time of Calamity
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