Monday after the Third Sunday of Advent.—Christ Offers Himself as Our Redeemer.
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.
Monday after the Third Sunday of Advent.—Christ Offers Himself as Our Redeemer.
I am come that they may have life, and may have it more abundantly. (John x, 10.)
CONSIDER FIRSTLY how the humanity of Jesus Christ, when in that first moment it beheld itself raised to an intimate union with the Divinity, seized with an ecstasy of intense wonder, forthwith poured itself out in affections of the most ardent love, of reverence, and of submission to the Sovereign Majesty. Burning to correspond entirely with the divine liberality, it offered itself completely to the good pleasure of the Father, and to all that it might seem good to Him to command. That was the first moment when God began to be fully recognised and honoured by human nature, for this could only be done by one who was at once God and man.
APPLICATION. You of yourself can never offer an act of worship proportioned to the greatness of the Divinity. Accustom yourself therefore to unite the acts of adoration you offer to God with those of the most Sacred Humanity. In this manner then will they become supremely acceptable to God, for Jesus Christ even from His Mother’s womb began to honour the Divinity in your behalf and in that of all the human race.
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Then said I, Behold I come. In the head of the book it is written of Me that I should do Thy will. (Ps. xxxix, 8-9.)
CONSIDER SECONDLY that Christ never once interrupted or relaxed the fervour of that offering to His Divine Father made from His Mother’s womb, but continued it constantly in every act and incident of His life: Those things which are pleasing to Him I do always. (John viii, 29.) Hence the whole life of Jesus was an uninterrupted continuation of that first offering which He made of Himself to His Divine Father.
APPLICATION. When you entered into yourself and began a life of Christian perfection, you meant to make an entire offering of yourself to God’s service. Examine now how far you have carried it out. How often have you, instead of doing the Divine Will, gone against the will of God in search of your own comfort and convenience! Humble yourself therefore and repeat often within yourself: Why hast thou come into this world, or into this particular state of life?
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. Thou art the God of my heart, and the God that is my portion for ever. (Ps, lxxii, 26.)
CONSIDER THIRDLY that the Father had given Him command that He should redeem the human race by making our debts His own, and by imparting to us His merits in order thereby to satisfy the Divine Justice. Moreover, He had declared it to be His good pleasure that He should accomplish this by suffering the death of the Cross, and that He would moreover accept on our behalf every other act of His, whether of suffering or contempt, seeing that all was of infinite worth. Jesus then in order perfectly to fall in with the good pleasure of His Divine Father, accepted the death of the Cross accompanied as it was by an ocean of sufferings and an abyss of contempt: Who having joy set before Him endured the cross. (Heb. xii, 2.)
APPLICATION. What have you to say for yourself who, in order to escape any little inconvenience or any trifling slight, have so often opposed the Divine Will in things expressly commanded you? Does not the example of Jesus Christ cover you with shame?
AFFECTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS. The law of Thy mouth is good unto me, above thousands of gold and silver. (Ps. cxviii, 72.)
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.
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.
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.
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.)
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.
Prayers in Time of Calamity
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