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Category Archives: Prayers for Advent and Christmas

ADVENT REFLECTION

ADVENT REFLECTION

ADVENT – REFLECTING ON THE NEED I HAVE FOR CHRIST TO COMPLETE IN ME THE WORK BEGUN LONG AGO

“… The beauty of Christmas unlike, say, Thanksgiving, is not grounded in a celebration of human achievement successfully concluded. It does not stem from the beauty of human nature. It is, rather, a reminder that human beauty and virtues have their origins in the divinity of the Incarnate Christ. We are celebrating not simply the fact that Christ aspired to become a man like us; we are celebrating the fact that in becoming Man Christ wished to raise our humanity to his immortal nature. The perfection and beauty of the Christ Child is that of God-with-Us, not of some idealised version of what I was in childhood.

THE PREPARATION FOR A MORE INTENSE ENCOUNTER WITH CHRIST

To want to celebrate Christ’s birth then, for the Christian should theoretically be inseparable from a period of preparation in which I reflect on the need I have for Christ to come now, and to complete in me the work begun long ago – not just when he was born, but before time itself existed, when I was chosen in him, when his ‘Incarnate form’ became the possibility of my existence, the pattern of my humanity and the promise of my happiness. I need to become aware of the ever increasing urgency of the task of modelling my own life, my own sense of what makes for happiness on his own, through the grace of the Holy Spirit. The preparation cannot be just for a season of mirth; it must be for a more intense encounter with Christ through the medium of his historical Incarnation, which is an outward, visible sign of a divine reality which is the real reason for celebration. Without an explicit awareness of this Christological heart, as suggested by the very name Christmas, the outward, visible signs of celebration are Pagan and hollow.

ACKNOWLEDGING HIS ETERNAL DESIRE TO BECOME GOD-WITH-US

It is the Church as the Bride of Christ, who shows us how to share in such intimacy with Christ that the Spirit will be able to act in the depths of our souls to reproduce the pattern of Christ’s humanity in us. This presence of Christ, she reminds us, is dynamic. We should be celebrating it not merely as the recollection of a past occurrence, but as the possibility of Christ being born in our own time and milieu, in our own heart through faith, in prayer and sacrament, as we acknowledge his eternal desire to become God-With-Us. To bring us into this intimacy of likeness to Christ, the Church has given us Advent, not an anticipated Christmas.

A MAJOR MYSTERY OF FAITH

Not until December 17 does the liturgy focus on the birthday of the Child. If we do so, we are neglecting a major mystery of our faith, the truth that Christ will come again, that Christ will return in majesty to take us fully to himself. He has told us in no uncertain terms that he expects to find us watching, not just keeping up appearances.”
– From “Diary of a City Priest” by Pstor Iuventus, available from Amazon. This excerpt was published in “The Catholic Herald” issue December 6 2013.

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EPIPHANY PRAYER

EPIPHANY PRAYER

O LORD, GIVE US A NEW EPIPHANY

O Lord,
give us a new Epiphany
when You will be manifested to the world:
to those who do not know You,
to those who do not want You,
to those who vilify Your Name,
to those who oppress Your Mystical Body,
to those who deny You,
and to all those who unconsciously long for You.

Bring the day closer
when all people will know and love You
together with the Father
and the Holy Spirit –
and the Kingdom of God will have arrived.
Amen.

 

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O COME, O COME, EMMANUEL (HYMN)

O COME, O COME, EMMANUEL (HYMN)

that mourns in lonely exile here
until the Son of God appear:

Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel
shall come to thee, O Israel.

2. O come, thou Rod of Jesse, free
thine own from Satan’s tyranny;
from depths of hell thy people save,
and give them vict’ry o’er the grave:

3. O come, thou dayspring, come and cheer
our spirits by thine advent here;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
and death’s dark shadows put to flight:

4. O come, thou key of David, come
and open wide our heavenly home;
make safe the way that leads on high,
and close the path to misery.

5. O come, O come, thou Lord of might,
who to thy tribes, on Sinai’s height
in ancient times, didst give the law
in cloud and majesty and awe.

– from the ‘Great O Antiphons’ (12th-13th century)

 

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A SIMPLE AND EFFECTIVE CHRISTMAS NOVENA

A SIMPLE AND EFFECTIVE CHRISTMAS NOVENA

Christmas Novena

Hail, and blessed be the hour and moment at which the Son of God was born of a most pure Virgin at a stable at midnight in Bethlehem in the piercing cold. At that hour vouchsafe, I beseech thee, to hear my prayers and grant my desires (mention your request here).
Through Jesus Christ and His most Blessed Mother. Amen.

 

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TODAY’S GOSPEL READING (MATTHEW 24:37-44)

TODAY’S GOSPEL READING (MATTHEW 24:37-44)

First Sunday of Advent, Year A

Stay awake so that you may be ready.

Jesus said to his disciples: ‘As it was in Noah’s day, so will it be when the Son of Man comes. For in those days before the Flood people were eating, drinking, taking wives, taking husbands, right up to the day Noah went into the ark, and they suspected nothing till the Flood came and swept all away. It will be like this when the Son of Man comes. Then of two men in the fields one is taken, one left; of two women at the millstone grinding, one is taken, one left.

‘So stay awake, because you do not know the day when your master is coming. You may be quite sure of this that if the householder had known at what time of the night the burglar would come, he would have stayed awake and would not have allowed anyone to break through the wall of his house. Therefore, you too must stand ready because the Son of Man is coming at an hour you do not expect.’

V. The Gospel of the Lord. R. Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ.

 

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TODAY’S BIBLE READING II (ROMANS 13:11-14)

TODAY’S BIBLE READING II (ROMANS 13:11-14)

First Sunday of Advent, Year A

Our salvation is near.

You know ‘the time’ has come; you must wake up now: our salvation is even nearer than it was when we were converted. The night is almost over, it will be daylight soon – let us give up all the things we prefer to do under cover of the dark; let us arm ourselves and appear in the light. Let us live decently as people do in the daytime: no drunken orgies, no promiscuity or licentiousness, and no wrangling or jealousy. Let your armour be the Lord Jesus Christ.

V. The word of the Lord. R. Thanks be to God.

 

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TODAY’S RESPONSORIAL PSALM (PSALM 121)

TODAY’S RESPONSORIAL PSALM (PSALM 121)

First Sunday of Advent, Year A

R. I rejoiced when I heard them say: ‘Let us go to God’s house.’

 

I rejoiced when I heard them say:

‘Let us go to God’s house.’

And now our feet are standing

within your gates, O Jerusalem. (R.)

 

It is there that the tribes go up,

the tribes of the Lord.

For Israel’s law it is

there to praise the Lord’s name.

There were set the thrones of judgement

of the house of David. (R.)

 

For the peace of Jerusalem pray:

‘Peace be to your homes!

May peace reign in your walls,

in your palaces, peace!’ (R.)

 

For love of my brethren and friends

I say: ‘Peace upon you!’

For love of the house of the Lord

I will ask for your good. (R.)

 

 

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