Skip to comments.Praying through Advent -- 2006
Posted on 12/03/2006 12:12:32 AM PST by Salvation
Sunday, December 3
First Sunday of Advent
Seeking a Savior
We begin the season of Advent with two contrasting images: those who will die of fright in anticipation of what is coming, and those who raise their heads awaiting their redemption. What sets the second group apart? I experience and admit my sinfulness, my emptiness, my inability, that persistent wound and lack of completeness which characterizes my very existence. I will never admit to needing a savior. If I am not seeking a savior then Jesus Christ becomes just a name, just a word. In Johns Gospel, Jesus says, I will not reject anyone who comes to me. (John 6:27). Therefore we have no reason to fear the coming of our Lord, as long as we are sincerely begging for and awaiting his coming. The one who is coming has pity on our nothingness, and is always moved by our begging. Ask and it will be given to you, seek and you will find. (Matthew7:7) In todays Gospel, Jesus advises us to pray for the strength to stand before the Son of Man. Our strength is our asking. Let us, in all of our weakness and sin, stand erect as Advent begins. For if we stand begging before the Son of Man then his power will be made perfect in our weakness. ~~Father Richard Veras
Loving Father, let give me the grace to face the truth of myself, and to hand myself over to you this Advent.
Most beautiful scripture verses.
Beginning on St. Andrew the Apostle's feast day, November 30, the following beautiful prayer is traditionally recited fifteen times a day until Christmas. This is a very meditative prayer that helps us increase our awareness of the real focus of Christmas and helps us prepare ourselves spiritually for His coming.
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment
In which the Son of God was born
Of the most pure Virgin Mary,
in the piercing cold.
In that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, O my God,
to hear my prayer and grant my desires,
[here mention your request]
through the merits of Our Saviour Jesus Christ,
#26 is the best explanation of authority and obedience that I think I have ever read. Anyone else have an opinion?
Week 1: Wednesday
Taking the five loaves and the two fish, and looking up to heaven, He said the blessing, broke the loaves, and gave them to the disciples, who in turn gave them to the crowds. They all ate and were satisfied. (Matthew 14: 19-20)
During Advent we always consider the past, present, and future dimensions of Jesus coming. Jesus came to us at Bethlehem; He is risen and present in the world today; we look forward to His second coming.
Multiply your own resources (however great or small) to help the poor. Make a gift of your time or money to a charitable organization that helps the poor.
Lord, may I be generous with others from the richness You have shared with me through Your goodness.
Oops -- missed that the previous post said "First Monday of Advent" when it was the reflection for Tuesday.
|December 06, 2006
Optional Memorial of St. Nicholas, bishop
Old Calendar: St. Nicholas, bishop and confessor
St. Nicholas was born in Lycia, Asia Minor, and died as Bishop of Myra in 352. He performed many miracles and exercised a special power over flames. He practiced both the spiritual and temporal works of mercy, and fasted twice a week. When he heard that a father who had fallen into poverty was about to expose his three daughters to a life of sin, Nicholas took a bag of gold and secretly flung it through the window into the room of the sleeping father. In this way, the three girls were dowered and saved from mortal sin and hell.
Saint Nicholas, bishop of Myra, is undoubtedly one of the most popular saints honored in the Western world. In the United States, his memory has survived in the unique personality of Saint Claus the jolly, rotund, white-bearded gentleman who captivates children with promises of gifts on Christmas Eve. Considered primarily as the patron saint of children, Nicholas is also invoked by sailors, merchants, bakers, travelers and pawnbrokers, and with Saint Andrew is honored as the co-patron of Russia.
In spite of his widespread fame, Saint Nicholas, from the historian's point of view, is hardly more than a name. He was born in the last years of the third century in Asia Minor. His uncle, the archbishop of Myra in Lycia, ordained him and appointed him abbot of a nearby monastery. At the death of the archbishop, Nicholas was chosen to fill the vacancy, and he served in this position until his death. About the time of the persecutions of Diocletian, he was imprisoned for preaching Christianity but was released during the reign of Emperor Constantine.
Popular legends have involved Saint Nicholas in a number of charming stories, one of which relates Nicholas' charity toward the poor. A man of Patara had lost his fortune, and finding himself unable to support his three maiden daughters, was planning to turn them into the streets as prostitutes. Nicholas heard of the man's intentions and secretly threw three bags of gold through a window into the home, thus providing dowries for the daughters. The three bags of gold mentioned in this story are said to be the origin of the three gold balls that form the emblem of pawnbrokers.
After Nicholas' death on December 6 in or around 345, his body was buried in the cathedral at Myra. It remained there until 1087, when seamen of Bari, an Italian coastal town, seized the relics of the saint and transferred them to their own city. Veneration for Nicholas had already spread throughout Europe as well as Asia, but this occurrence led to a renewal of devotion in the West. Countless miracles were attributed to the saint's intercession. His relics are still preserved in the church of San Nicola in Bari; an oily substance, known as Manna di S. Nicola, which is highly valued for its medicinal powers, is said to flow from them.
The story of Saint Nicholas came to America in distorted fashion. The Dutch Protestants carried a popularized version of the saint's life to New Amsterdam, portraying Nicholas as nothing more than a Nordic magician and wonder-worker. Our present-day conception of Santa Claus has grown from this version. Catholics should think of Nicholas as a saint, a confessor of the faith and the bishop of Myra not merely as a jolly man from the North Pole who brings happiness to small children. Many countries and locations honor St. Nicholas as patron: Greece, Russia, the Kingdom of Naples, Sicily, Lorraine, and many cities in Italy, Germany, Austria, and Belgium.
Taken in part from Lives of the Saints for every day of the Year, Volume III © 1959, by The Catholic Press, Inc.
Patron: against imprisonment; against robberies; against robbers; apothecaries; bakers; barrel makers; boatmen; boot blacks; boys; brewers; brides; captives; children; coopers; dock workers; druggists; fishermen; grooms; judges; lawsuits lost unjustly; longshoremen; maidens; mariners; merchants; murderers; newlyweds; old maids; parish clerks; paupers; pawnbrokers; perfumeries; perfumers; pharmacists; pilgrims; poor people; prisoners; sailors; scholars; schoolchildren; shoe shiners; spinsters; students; thieves; travellers; unmarried girls; watermen; Greek Catholic Church in America; Greek Catholic Union; Bari, Italy; Fossalto, Italy; Duronia, Italy; Portsmouth, England; Greece; Lorraine; Russia; Sicily;
Symbols: Three children in a trough or tub; three golden balls on a book; six golden balls; three golden apples; three loaves; three purses or bags of gold; anchor; ship; Trinity symbol on a cope; angel; small church; three balls;
Things to Do:
Please put me on this list.
Week 1: Thursday
A nation of firm purpose You keep in peace; in peace for its trust in You. Trust in the Lord forever! For the Lord is an eternal Rock. (Isaiah 26: 3-4)
We cannot eliminate upsets and anxiety from our lives, but Advent is a good time to slow down and remember where we should look for stability and peace. Throughout these weeks of preparation for the celebration of Jesus birth, the Scriptures for our liturgies tell us again and again to turn to God, to build our house on the rock of Jesus. Only there we will find peace.
Make a phone call. Call someone you have been meaning to speak to, but for some reason you have not done so.
Lord, may I truly bring peace to others that I may be at peace with myself and one with You.
Week 1: Friday
And as Jesus passed on from there, two blind men followed (Him), crying out, "Son of David, have pity on us!" When He entered the house, the blind men approached Him and Jesus said to them, "Do you believe that I can do this?" "Yes, Lord," they said to Him. Then He touched their eyes and said, "Let it be done for you according to your faith." And their eyes were opened. (Matthew 9:27-30)
Many people scoff at the idea of miracles. Unwilling to believe that Jesus could restore the sight of the blind when He walked on earth, they are unwilling to see the miracles that Jesus continues to work today. If we are open to the guiding touch of Gods hand and willing to discover His plan for our lives, miracles will happen. What prevents us from seeing and being a part of Gods miracles? Would we rather be blind?
Send a get-well card to someone in the hospital.
Lord, clarify my vision that I may see You in others and sense You within my own soul.
The Immaculate Conception
Feast Day: December 8
Roman Catholic dogma holding that from the first instant of its creation, the soul of the Virgin Mary was free from original sin; this doctrine is not to be confused with that of the Virgin Birth, which holds that Jesus Christ was born of a virgin mother. Despite divergent scholarly opinions, the Roman Catholic church has consistently favored belief in the Immaculate Conception; a festival of that name, the significance of which is now indefinite, was celebrated in the Eastern church as early as the 5th century and in the Western church from the 7th century. Opposition to the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception was conducted in the 12th century by the French monastic St. Bernard of Clairvaux and in the 13th century by the famous Italian philosopher St. Thomas Aquinas. Among those who supported the doctrine was the 13th-century Scottish theologian John Duns Scotus. The theological controversy over the Immaculate Conception gained momentum in the 19th century. Finally in 1854, Pope Pius IX issued a solemn decree declaring the Immaculate Conception to be a dogma essential for the belief of the universal church. Under the title Immaculate Conception, the Virgin Mary is invoked as the patron of the United States, Brazil, Portugal, and Corsica.
If Jesus, the Son of God, could choose for His Mother her who pleased Him most, He would surely choose one acceptable to the Blessed Trinity and worthy of the great honour for which she was destined. Mary was, therefore, not only free from all actual sin, but she also remained exempt from original sin; otherwise, she would not have been a Mother suitable for Jesus Christ, the Son of God.
God Himself has testified to Mary's Immaculate Conception by miracles. Who can number the wonders that have been wrought at Lourdes, where she appeared eighteen times and declared to Bernadette and to the world: "I am the Immaculate Conception," just four years after this doctrine was defined as a dogma of faith? Mary declared to the wholel world her approval of this doctrine and that she was not only immaculately conceived, but that she is the Immaculate Conception.
THE WORD OF GOD
You are the glory of Jerusalem, the surpassing joy of Israel; you are the splendid boast of our people .May you be blest by the Lord Almighty forever and ever. (Jdt 15:9-10)
I rejoice heartily in the Lord, in my God is the joy of my soul; for He has clothed me with a robe of salvation, and wrapped me in a mantle of justice, .like a bride bedecked with her jewels. (Is 61:10)
A great sign appeared in the sky, a woman clothed with the sun, with the moon under her feet, and on her head a crown of twelve stars. (Rv 12:1)
Look graciously upon me as I implore this special favour: (Mention your request).
Virgin Immaculate, Mother of God and my Mother, from your throne in heaven, turn your eyes of pity upon me. Filled with confidence in your goodness and power, I beg you to help me in this journey of life, which is so full of dangers of my soul. I entrust myself entirely to you, that I may never be the slave of the devil through sin, but may always live a humble and pure life. I consecrate myself to you forever, for my only desire is to love your Divine Son Jesus.
Mary, since none of your devout servants has ever perished, may I, too, be saved. Amen.
Prayer to Mary Immaculate
Mary, Mother of God, your greatness began at the first instant of your existence with the privilege of your Immaculate Conception. After Almighty God and the Sacred Humanity of Jesus, there is no being so great as you. It is true, you are a creature, and, therefore, far beneath the Supreme Being. But you are a creature so holy and so perfect that you are superior to all other creatures. God alone could make you so holy and so beautiful, and He did so to make you worthy of the dignity of being the Mother of Jesus, the Son of God, the Divine Word.
It was fitting that you, a virgin Mother, should conceive the Man who was also the Son of God. It was fitting that you should be adorned with the greatest purity ever possible to a creature. You are the Virgin to whom God the Father decreed to give His only Son the Divine Word, equal to Himself in all things that entering the natural order He might become your Son as well as His. You are the immaculate Virgin whom the Son Himself chose to make His mother. You are the immaculate Virgin whom the Holy Spirit willed to make his bride and in whom He would work the tremendous miracle of the Incarnation. The privilege of the Immaculate Conception was suitable to your dignity.
Mary, my immaculate Mother, help me to imitate your sinlessness by keeping my soul free from every willful sin by the faithful observance of Gods commandments. Help me to imitate your fullness of grace by receiving Holy Communion frequently, where I shall obtain the sanctifying grace that will make my soul holy and pleasing to God, and the actual graces I need to practice virtue. Through prayer may grace fill my soul with the life of God and transform me into a living image of Jesus, just as you were.
|December 08, 2006
Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception
Old Calendar: The Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary
Today the Church celebrates the Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception, the solemn dogma defined by Blessed Pope Pius IX in 1854. As Our Lady Immaculately Conceived is the patroness of the United States of America, this is a holyday of obligation in the United States.
Through the centuries the Church has become ever more aware that Mary, "full of grace" through God, was redeemed from the moment of her conception. That is what the dogma of the Immaculate Conception confesses, as Pope Pius IX proclaimed on December 8, 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, Saviour of the human race, preserved immune from all stain of original sin." Catechism of the Catholic Church
"Tota pulchra es! O Mary, thou art all fair, unstained by original sin" (1st Ant. at Vespers; All.). This cry of admiration, which the Church puts on our lips, expresses the feelings of fallen man before the spotless purity of our Lady. From all eternity God had chosen Mary to be the Mother of the Word Incarnate; He therefore decked her in holiness, preserving her from all stain and making her a worthy dwelling for His Son. The Blessed Virgin's perfect redemption which, from the moment of her conception, preserved her from original sin cannot, therefore, be dissociated from our redemption by Christ; and so, the feast of the Immaculate Conception, coming in the course of Advent, heralds the splendours of the Incarnation of the Redeemer.
Pope Pius IX in his bull Ineffabilis Deus of December 8, 1854, declared the Immaculate Conception to be an infallible teaching of the Church as well as "a doctrine revealed by God and therefore to be believed firmly and constantly by all the faithful that the Blessed Virgin Mary in the first instant of her conception was, by a unique privilege and grace of Almighty God in view of the merits of Jesus Christ, preserved exempt from all stain of original sin." The stain of original sin was excluded from her soul, not removed from it. Many confuse the meaning of this dogma, thinking it refers to Mary's conception of the immaculate Jesus. That is the Incarnation, which we celebrate on the Solemnity of the Annunciation on March 25. This dogma of the Immaculate Conception, on the other hand, refers to St. Anne's conception of Our Immaculate Lady in her womb.
Patron: United States.
Symbols: crown and monogram; lily; enclosed garden; crown of stars; glass (symbol of purity) lily often placed in a vase of transparent glass; lily of the valley.
Things to Do: