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Category Archives: Prayers for Advent and Christmas

EPIPHANY: A HOLY DAY ADORNED BY THREE MIRACLES

EPIPHANY: A HOLY DAY ADORNED BY THREE MIRACLES

EPIPHANY

We celebrate a holy day adorned by three miracles: this day, a star led the Magi to the manger; this day, water was changed into wine at the marriage-feast; this day, Christ, for our salvation, vouchsafed to be baptised by John in the Jordan, alleluia.

PRAYER:

O God, you who by the guidance of a star this day revealed your only-begotten Son to the Gentiles, mercifully grant that we who know you now by faith, may come to behold you in glory. Through the same…

ON THE COMMEMORATION OF THE BAPTISM OF OUR LORD:

O God, whose only-begotten Son appeared in the substance of our flesh, grant, we pray you, that we who acknowledge his outward likeness to us may deserve to be inwardly refashioned in his image. Who with you…

 

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WHY, IMPIOUS HEROD (EPIPHANY HYMN)

WHY, IMPIOUS HEROD (EPIPHANY HYMN)

Why, impious Herod, vainly fear

That Christ the Saviour cometh here?

He takes no earthly realms away

Who gives the crown that lasts for aye.

 

To greet his birth the Wise Men went,

Led by the star before them sent;

Called on by light, towards light they pressed,

And by their gifts their God confessed.

 

In Holy Jordan’s purest wave

The heavenly Lamb vouchsafed to lave;

That he, to whom was sin unknown,

Might cleanse his people from their own.

 

New miracle of power divine!

The water reddens into wine:

He spake the word: and poured the wave

In other streams than nature gave.

 

All glory, Lord, to thee we pay

For thine Epiphany today;

All glory, as is ever meet,

To Father and the Paraclete.

Amen.

 

V.  The Kings of Tharsis and the Isles shall offer presents. R. The Kings of the Arabians and of Saba shall bring gifts.

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

 

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CHRISTMAS – PRAYER BEFORE THE CRIB

CHRISTMAS – PRAYER BEFORE THE CRIB

I adore thee, O Word Incarnate, true Son of God from all eternity, and true Son of Mary ever Virgin in the fulness of time.

When I adore thy Divine Person, and the Humanity united to thy Divinity, I venerate the poor manger which welcomed thee when an Infant, and which was truly the throne of thy love.

I prostrate myself before it with the simplicity of the shepherds, with the faith of Joseph, with the love of Mary; I bow down in reverence before this precious memorial of our salvation with the same spirit of mortification, poverty and humility with which thou, the Lord of heaven and earth, didst choose a manger wherein to lay thy tender Infant limbs, and thou, O Lord, Who in thine Infancy didst deign to lay thyself in this manger: vouchsafe also to pour into my heart a drop of that joy to which the sight of thy lovely Childhood and the miracles which accompanied thy Birth, gave rise. By that holy Birth, I now implore thee to grant to all the world peace and good-will, and in the name of the whole human race I render thanks and honour to God the Father and to God the Holy Spirit, Who with thee liveth and reigneth, one God, world without end.

[Indulgence of 100 days. Pius IX, October 1st, 1861]

– St Anthony’s Treasury, 1916

 

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BRIGHT BUILDER OF THE HEAVENLY POLES (ADVENT HYMN)

BRIGHT BUILDER OF THE HEAVENLY POLES (ADVENT HYMN)

Bright Builder of the heavenly poles,

Eternal light of faithful souls,

Jesus, Redeemer of mankind,

Our humble prayers vouchsafe to mind:

 

Who, lest the fraud of hell’s mean king

Should all men to destruction bring,

Didst, by an act of generous love,

The fainting world’s physician prove.

 

Thou, that thou mightst our ransom pay

And wash the stains of sin away,

Didst from a Virgin’s womb proceed

And on the Cross a Victim bleed.

 

Thy glorious power, thy saving name

No sooner any voice can frame,

but heaven and earth and hell agree

To honour them with trembling knee.

 

Thee, Christ, who at the latter day

Shalt be our Judge, we humbly pray

Such arms of heavenly grace to send

As may thy Church from foes defend.

 

Be glory given and honour done

To God the Father and the Son

And to the Holy Spirit on high,

From age to age eternally.

Amen.

 

– From: An Approved English Translation of the Breviarium Romanum, Burns & Oates, London, 1964

 

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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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