Advent



Today the Church enters into the most holy of days prior to the Solemnity of Christmas.  These holy days are marked by the O Antiphons“O Antiphons” prayed at Mass and in the prayer of the Church – the liturgy of the hours.  I like the way catholicculture.com put it: “December 17 marks the beginning of the “O” Antiphons, the seven jewels of our liturgy, dating back to the fourth century, one for each day until Christmas Eve. These antiphons address Christ with seven magnificent Messianic titles, based on the Old Testament prophecies and types of Christ. The Church recalls the variety of the ills of man before the coming of the Redeemer.”  
O Sapientia (December 17) “O Wisdom”, O holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care. Come and show your people the way to salvation.” Isaiah had prophesied, “The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord, and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord.” (11:2-3), and “Wonderful is His counsel and great is His wisdom.” (28:29).

~ Fr. William Sanders

I want to reiterate that the significance of the O Antiphons is twofold:

1) If refers to one of the 7 messianic titles given to Christ.

2) They are linked with 7 prophecies regarding the Messiah from the Prophet Isaiah.

Reflection:
In the Christian tradition Wisdom has always existed in the second Person of the Godhead and it is Wisdom through which God created the world, when she spoke. That second person of the Trinity is Jesus, God incarnate. So He is not only the Word but He spoke the Word. And those Words are true, the life and the Way for us to live. Today let us pray that we shall use the gift of wisdom, given to us at Confirmation, to discern the things of God so that we grow to love the virtues of God’s kingdom.
 
O Sapientia teach us the truth and to be truly wise; Come, O Holy Spirit and prepare our hearts to welcome you at Christmas. Amen.
                                                                                                                                                                ~ http://mariannedorman.homestead.com
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A Creche: “School of Life”

crecheTraditionally in Rome on the 3rd Sunday of Advent people bring out their little baby Jesus’ from their creche’s to be blessed.  A few years ago Pope Benedict said the following:

“[A] crèche can be “a school of life, where we can learn the secret of true joy.” That secret, he said, is that Holy Family is “full of intimate joy because they love one another, they help one another and, above all, they are certain that God is at work in their story.” For the shepherds, he added, true joy comes from “feeling that our individual and community lives are touched by and filled with a great mystery, the mystery of the love of God..”

On this Gaudete Sunday where we rejoice because the coming of our Lord is near.

Action: 

Do you reach out to those around you?  Do you only love those who love you or do you love even those that are difficult for you to love? Today, resolve to live this 3rd week of Advent with the joy of Jesus and bring kindness, mercy and joy into the lives of the people around you.

Prayer:

Your birthday is almost here Jesus –  a little over a week away.  I beg of you the grace to forget about myself and to give the gift of you to others through my thoughts, words and actions.

Collect: O God, who see how your people faithfully await the feast of the Lord’s Nativity, enable us, we pray, to attain the joys of so great a salvation and to celebrate them always with solemn worship and glad rejoicing. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.


St. John of the Cross’ Advent Poem

If you want, the Virgin will come walking down the road

Image
pregnant with the holy, and say,
“I need shelter for the night,
please take me inside your heart, my time is so close.”
Then, under the roof of your soul,
you will witness the sublime intimacy,
the divine, the Christ, taking birth forever,
as she grasps your hand for help,
for each of us is the midwife of God, each of us.
Yes there, under the dome of your being
does creation come into existence eternally,
through your womb, dear pilgrim – the sacred womb of your soul,
as God grasps our arms for help:
for each of us is his beloved servant, never far.
If you want, the Virgin will come walking down the street
pregnant with Light and sing..
Action:
St. John of the Cross is a Doctor of the Church because of his wisdom on prayer.  A great gift to give God today is to take 15 minutes of silent prayer today just adoring our Lord and preparing more and more for the coming of Christ.
Prayer:
Collect: O God, who gave the Priest Saint John an outstanding dedication to perfect self-denial and love of the Cross, grant that, by imitating him closely at all times, we may come to contemplate eternally your glory. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

Warning Advent Virus

WARNING……WARNING: ADVENT VIRUSwarning

Be on the alert for symptoms of inner Hope, Peace, Joy and Love. The hearts of a great many have already been exposed to this virus and it is possible that people everywhere could come down with it in epidemic proportions. This could pose a serious threat to what has, up to now, been a fairly stable condition of conflict in the world.

Some signs and symptoms of The Advent Virus:

  • A tendency to think and act spontaneously rather than on fears based on past experiences.
  • An unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.
  • A loss of interest in judging other people.
  • A loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.
  • A loss of interest in conflict.
  • A loss of the ability to worry. (This is a very serious symptom.)
  • Frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.
  • Contented feelings of connectedness with others and nature.
  • Frequent attacks of smiling.
  • An increasing tendency to let things happen rather than make them happen.
  • An increased susceptibility to the love extended by others as well as the uncontrollable urge to extend it.

Please send this warning out to all your friends. This virus can and has affected many systems. Some systems have been completely cleaned out because of it.

~ Author Unknown

Action:

I will aim to spread the effects of this virus onto others.

Prayer:

Come Lord Jesus!


Conversion of Sinners = Joy

prayer at foot of Jesus

If a man has a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine in the hills and go in search of the stray?

And if he finds it, amen, I say to you, he rejoices more over it
than over the ninety-nine that did not stray.
In just the same way, it is not the will of your heavenly Father
that one of these little ones be lost.” (Mt. 18)

Action: 

Offer up all your little struggles and make little sacrifices for the conversion of sinners this Advent.  It is a penitential season.  Consider people in your own family, people at work, those who will attend Mass on Christmas but don’t go throughout the year and yes, for yourself to have a humble and contrite heart.

Prayer:

Jesus, I thank you for humbling yourself and taking on human flesh in order to bring salvation.  I pray for the conversion of sinners and for them to experience your joy in a powerful way. Amen!


Immaculate Mary

immaculate conceptionThe Catechism speaks beautifully about Mary who is the Immaculate Conception:

490 To become the mother of the Savior, Mary “was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role.”132 The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as “full of grace”.133 In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God’s grace.

491 Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, “full of grace” through God,134 was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed in 1854:

The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.135

492 The “splendor of an entirely unique holiness” by which Mary is “enriched from the first instant of her conception” comes wholly from Christ: she is “redeemed, in a more exalted fashion, by reason of the merits of her Son”.136 The Father blessed Mary more than any other created person “in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places” and chose her “in Christ before the foundation of the world, to be holy and blameless before him in love”.137

493 The Fathers of the Eastern tradition call the Mother of God “the All-Holy” (Panagia), and celebrate her as “free from any stain of sin, as though fashioned by the Holy Spirit and formed as a new creature”.138 By the grace of God Mary remained free of every personal sin her whole life long.

The most Blessed Virgin Mary was, from the first moment of her conception, by a singular grace and privilege of almighty  God and by virtue of the merits of Jesus Christ, Savior of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin.135

Action:

Pray the Joyful Mysteries of the Rosary asking Mary to draw you into the Heart of our Savior.

Prayer:

Hail Mary full of grace….


A Voice is Crying Out

st. John the baptistJohn the Baptist appeared, preaching in the desert of Judea
and saying, “Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is at hand!”
It was of him that the prophet Isaiah had spoken when he said:
A voice of one crying out in the desert,
Prepare the way of the Lord,
make straight his paths.

Action:

Today I will make plans to go to the Sacrament of Reconciliation before Christmas.

Prayer:

Jesus, I know you thirst for my soul.  Assist me who is weak and busy with many things to prepare a way in the wilderness of my heart for you!  Help me grow closer to you during this second week of Advent!  Amen.

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