Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe.

Our Lady of Guadalupe, Patroness of the Americas, ora pro nobis.

Do not fear any illness or vexation, anxiety or pain. Am I not here, your Mother? Are you not under my shadow and protection?

—Our Lady of Guadalupe

Our Lady and a Changing World.

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.

Our Lady and a Changing World.

THE feast of our Lady coming in Advent affords us an opportunity to think of the part womankind should play in the ever present drama of life. For Mary is the model of all Christian womanhood. Women are endowed by the Creator with fine sensibilities and a most noble love. They are meant to be the inspiration of men. If the ideal of womankind is high, if she is exalted in men’s estimation, if she is loved for her virtue, then the opportunity for good that is afforded mankind is tremendously great.

Paganism degraded womanhood and robbed her of her native dignity with which the Creator had endowed her. Mary’s advent into the world, bringing the Saviour of mankind, changed all that. She is “our tainted nature’s solitary boast.” But alas, the new days of paganism are with us. This time again, the sad opportunity is afforded women to step down. A changing world in the guise of emancipation offers womankind an opportunity to lower her standards, to degrade her dignity, to debase her prerogatives for childbearing and motherhood.

The Church has through the centuries watched over and guided the noble prerogatives of womankind, not because the Church bestowed these sacred rights, but because she preserves what has been restored through our Lady and the Redemption. When woman is an ideal, man is, strictly speaking, a builder of the spirit. He builds within himself the great edifice of a spiritual character where the Holy Spirit dwells as in a temple. When woman is an ideal, men build homes, and children are received as the hope of a better world. The boy is looked up to so that he will carry on and build again as did his father, and the girl is cherished as the sweet daughter and mirror of the wife whose inward beauty grows more graceful with the passing years.

But the new paganism is threatening again! It is, of course, always in the name of freedom that freedom is abused. In the name of emancipation women are to be freed from the very duties that make them beautiful with a lasting beauty—motherhood and sharing in creation!

Women are meant to be builders, too, in the strictest sense of the term. They are the heart of the home. It is through them that men learn to live and to love great ideals and to build character. It is through the mother, definitely closer to the child than any other living human, that young habits and fine characters are formed. Women are the cornerstone of civilization in this respect. They are the hope of the world! “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the world.”

Anyone who calls himself a Christian and a follower of Christ must think often of the Mother of our Blessed Saviour who was closest to Him all through the years that led up to Calvary. Anyone who respects women must know that it was Mary’s role in Christian history to place women on the high pedestal they now enjoy. Anyone who has forebodings regarding the changes in our modern world will go to Mary and fervently pray that the rights, spiritual rights, of women be preserved, that they become modern Bethlehems in which Christ comes to dwell and not worldly inns that refuse children’s birth.

None of us can live through a social revolution and come out of it unchanged ourselves . . The world changing simply means that men and women of our day are changing. We must hold fast to Christian ideals, particularly the ideal of womankind as it comes to us from our Saviour and from His Blessed Mother. If we lose this ideal, if women degrade themselves, they are not meeting, as we would have them meet, the challenge of a pagan world. They are succumbing! They are delivering themselves to the enemies of Christian civilization. They are undoing the work of Redemption. They are despising our Lady. That is unthinkable! Women are the builders of a better and a more secure world, where men may live as brothers because they have a common Father and a Blessed Mother.

PRAYER

Our Lady of the hills and the valleys, look down from your throne in heaven and intercede with God in our behalf. As we live in a vale of tears preparing for the day when we may ascend the hill of heaven, pray for us, O Mary, that we may be worthy of the promises of Christ.

Intercede with God, that we may in imitation of you, follow Jesus along the way, though it be sorrowful—via dolorosa—out to the clear blue of the day, all the way up the hill, like you, to Calvary. We are sinners, like Magdalene. Accept us into your company. Few of us are like John, the beloved disciple. None of us is like you. Teach us to love Calvary and to see the sweet wood of the cross upon which hangs the Redeemer and our hope for eternal life. Amen.

– Very Rev. Msgr. Aloysius F. Coogan, M.A.

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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