Wednesday after the First Sunday in Advent.

On the Eternal Decree of Almighty God to Redeem Mankind by the Incarnation of His Divine Son.

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 Almighty God to Redeem Mankind by the Incarnation of His Divine Son.

Fix your mental vision, my soul, upon the Triune God, after He had resolved to create man. The future sin of man stands out before His all-seeing eye, He foresees how shamefully His goodness and charity will be abused. Why then does He not forego His purpose of creating man? St. Augustine answers this question when he says: In His infinite wisdom God judged it preferable to bring good out of evil and have compassion upon man, than not to permit evil at all. Ponder awhile on these words, uttered by one of the Fathers of the Church, and consider:

1st. That the divine wisdom and omnipotence are exhibited most gloriously in this very thing, that, despite His prescience of the evil to come, God yet resolved to create man. Had He allowed Himself to be influenced by the sin of man in the future, to be deterred from executing His eternal decree, evil would in very truth have triumphed over Almighty God! No; as light appears in its full brilliance when contrasted with darkness, so the divine omnipotence, as well as the divine wisdom, revealed itself most brightly by this, in that it had at command a thousand means of converting evil into an occasion of good, and not only to carry out what had been fixed from all eternity, but to do for man greater things still. For only consider:

2d. Although the power and wisdom of God might have employed various means of rescuing man, yet His charity made choice of the most excellent, the most marvellous, the most rich in loving-kindness of all those means, namely, the incarnation of His Son. By the God made man satisfaction was to be made to the God whom man had offended; man, fallen so low, so far from God, was destined to be raised higher by the man-God than he would have been had he never fallen, for he was to be exalted above the angels, whose nature God did not assume. O my soul, it is indeed enough to fill you with amazement, when you endeavor to fathom the depths of this divine decree; you will ask in doubt which is most to be admired, the omnipotence or the goodness or the wisdom of God and how it is possible that hitherto you have thought so little, and with such cold indifference, on the mystery of the incarnation of our Lord Jesus Christ.

3d. Consider finally how the Son of God immediately declared Himself ready to carry out, in God’s own good time, the decision formed by the Blessed Trinity, and how the Father and the Holy Spirit gladly accepted His offer. Stupendous thought! Before I existed, before I was conscious of my being or of anything connected with my being, the Infinite and most Holy Trinity, Father, Son and Holy Ghost, took counsel together regarding my destiny. O poor worm of earth, from henceforth, whenever you pronounce the names of the three divine Persons, bow, not only your head, but also your heart in profound reverence, adoration and love; and if the accomplishment of God’s commands, the observance of your Rule, this or that employment, or any work assigned you, appears arduous and irksome, then instead of murmuring and complaining say: In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost; and your heart must indeed be hard as a flintstone if, after the meditation made to-day, your task does not appear to you less difficult than it did before.

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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