Posts Tagged Advent

31 Meditations for Advent and Christmas Day 22

20 December 2016


The King Who is to come; O come let us adore Him

Our King, in dealing with His subjects, does not issue all His commands Himself. He follows the method of all human government, and has officers who give their orders in His name and with His authority. Who are these officers?

They are the Bishops and Priests of the Church that He has founded who remain faithful to Him and His teachings. To these He expressly says, “He who hears you, hears Me.” They bear His Divine authority. They are one and all, in their several degrees, the successors of His Apostles.

But there are other officers of my King who hold their commission from Him. Every lawful government in the civil order is a power appointed by Him, and every kind of natural authority, whether of parents, teachers, or other superiors, marks those who hold it as delegates of our King. Do I remember this when I am tempted to show disobedience or disrespect to my superiors, or to speak slightingly of them?

But if we are thus most strictly bound to obey the King’s officers, we must also remember that there are very few of us who are not in some way officers in our turn, and that the influence we have with others, and the right we have to command others, makes our position a very responsible one. We shall be more severely judged for our own words and actions if, through our fault, our subordinates fall away.


31 Meditations for Advent and Christmas Day Twenty One

19 December 2016


“The King Who is to come; O come let us adore Him.”


Our King has a countless number of messengers, angels, whom He employs to carry His messages to His soldiers on earth, to execute His orders, and to bring back to Him a report of their welfare and their doings. What are the tidings that they have to carry to and fro?

Sometimes they carry words of comfort and encouragement to the servants of God, consoling them in distress and in anguish, as the Angel of the Passion consoled our King Himself. Sometimes, too, they exhort and reprove, speaking in the name of our King Himself. “Do not think him one to be condemned,” says Holy Scripture, “for My name is in him; and if thou wilt hear his voice, I will be an enemy to thy enemies, and will afflict them, who afflict thee.” Am I obedient to the message of my King, when it is whispered in my ears?

Sometimes these holy messengers are sent to do works of mercy or of vengeance. How often has one of them turned aside from bodily or spiritual harm some servant of our King! How often through their means have the servants of our King triumphed over their foes! I think far too little of these invisible messengers and of all that they have done for me. If I realized how much they have done for me I should be more constant in honoring them.

These messengers also carry before the throne of our King the story of the struggle between His soldiers and their foes. Sometimes they carry the glad report of some victory won by a servant of God over his passions; sometimes they cry for vengeance on those who have given scandal; sometimes they offer to God our prayers. What sort of reports do they carry about me to my King?

31 Meditations for Advent and Christmas: Day Twenty

18 December 2016

“The King Who is to come; O come let us adore Him.”


IMM CONCEPT LitaniesThere are very few great and illustrious men whose greatness is not in some way derived from, or connected with, the great and noble qualities of their mothers. Let us see how far this is the case with Jesus Christ our King.

The Mother of our King was the only human being who never once swerved by one hair’s breadth from the will of God. Of all the millions who have trod the earth, she alone was entirely exempt from sin; she only earned to the full the blessing pronounced by her Son–“Whoever will do the will of God, the same is My father and sister and mother.” This was the reason why our King chose her as His abode when He came down to dwell on earth. Oh, that I were sinless, like Mary! but as this cannot be, I will ask her, in honor of her Divine Son, that all my sins may be washed away, and also, that I may henceforward always carry out what I know to be the will of God.

Ihe Mother of our King was the only woman who bore a son and yet remained a pure virgin, her childbearing consecrating, not impairing her virginity. This, miracle as it was, was but the natural result of her being the Mother of God. O unspotted and immaculate Mother, obtain for me that thy Son may pour into my heart a greater purity, that my heart may be less unworthy of the presence of Him who loved to dwell in thy spotless womb!

Jesus derived from Mary His Sacred Body; His flesh was formed of Mary’s flesh. And in return she derived from Him that splendor of grace and holiness that raised her body and soul to the height of Heaven.

31 Meditations for Advent and Christmas: Day Nineteen

17 December 2016

“The King Who is to come; O come let us adore Him.”


advent wordsCondescension is the stooping from a higher position, in order to place ourselves on a level with those whose position is a lower one than our own. The good teacher stoops to the level of a learner, in order to become intelligible to him; the prince who loves his people stoops to kindly and familiar intercourse, or comes down from his own level to that of others. What shall we say, then, of the condescension of our King, who was God, co-equal with the Father, when He stooped to our low estate, and came to dwell among those whom He had made out of the dust of the earth? How can we ever appreciate as we ought this debasement of Himself for our sakes?

If our King had for one moment taken the form of one of the archangels, or had appeared for an instant among us clad in a human form of majesty, such a condescension on the part of the Infinite God would have had an infinite value. It would have been an infinite debasement of His glory and dignity. What, then, was the Divine condescension that led Him to hide Himself in the womb of one of His own creatures, to appear as a helpless babe, to grow up as if an ordinary human being, to appear among men as the inferior and the servant of others, and to mix with the sinful worms of earth as His friends and brethren!

But all this did not satisfy Him. He must needs prepare for Himself not merely a humble life, but one of rejection, and insult, and outrage. He desired to stoop as low as He possibly could, to submit to be trampled on, spat upon, and even put to a slave’s death. How strange, with such an example before me, that I should be so unwilling to stoop! It is because I am misled by my pride, and do not see in what true dignity consists.

† The O Antiphons †

17 December 2016

Thank you to Father John Zuhlsdorf for this succinct & practical piece on the “O” Antiphons which goes from December 17th through December 23rd in Advent.

The O Antiphons developed during the Church’s very first centuries. The writer Boethius (+525) mentions them. By the 8th century they were in use in Rome. There are seven of these special antiphons, and their texts spring from the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures, the Prophetic and Wisdom Books. They are found in the Liturgy of the Hours or older Roman Breviary, which clerics, religious, consecrated virgins, and others use for daily prayer.

The O Antiphons are short prayers sung before and after the Magnificat, the great prayer of Mary in Luke 1:46-55 when coming visit to Elizabeth her cousin the Virgin praised God for His favor wondrous deeds. The Magnificat is sung during Vespers, evening prayer. The O Antiphons begin on 17 December, seven days before the Vigil of Christmas (24 December). The seventh and last antiphon is sung at Vespers on 23 December. They are called the “O Antiphons” because they all begin with the letter-word “O”: they address Jesus by one of His Old Testament titles.  They are fervent prayers asking Our Lord to come to us.

Advent is about the many ways in which the Lord comes.  He came historically at Bethlehem in the fullness of time. In the liturgical year he comes to us sacramentally.  He will come again at the end of the world as Judge of the living and the dead.  Christ comes to us also in the two-fold consecration of the Body and Blood of Christ by the priest at Holy Mass and, in a special way in a good Holy Communion.  He comes in the person of the priest, who is alter Christus, another Christ.  He comes in the words of Holy Scripture. He also comes in the person of our neighbor, especially those who are in need of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

During Advent, John the Baptist has been reminding us in the liturgy to “make straight His paths”. When we come to the Lord in death, or He comes to us in His Second Coming, He will make straight the path whether we have during our earthly lives done our best to straighten it ahead of time or not. Let us now, while we may, make straight the paths by which Christ Jesus comes.

Here are two more interesting notes about these O Antiphons.

The first is not apparent in English, but it can be seen clearly in the official language of the Roman Catholic Church: Latin. The Latin versions of each of the titles of the Messiah are: Sapientia (Wisdom), Adonai (Lord), Radix (Root), Clavis (Key), Oriens (Dawn), Rex (King), and Emmanuel (Emmanuel).  Take the first letters of each of the titles, starting with the last and working back to the first. You spell: EROCRAS or “ero cras… I will be (there) tomorrow”.

The song “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” is simply a reworking of the seven O Antiphons. When you sing it, you are joining yourself to a vast throng of Christians stretching back across centuries and spanning the whole of the earth who prayed as all Christians do, “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev 22:20)

Here are the O Antiphons for each of the next week in Advent. To pray these enriches your Christmas prayer life…

17 Dec. O Sapientia
18 Dec. O Adonai
19 Dec. O Radix Jesse
20 Dec. O Clavis David
21 Dec. O Oriens
22 Dec. O Rex Gentium
23 Dec. O Emmanuel

This is my favorite week in the Christmas Season. These antiphons express the true meaning of why we wish each other Merry Christmas…

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam,

31 Meditations for Advent and Christmas: Day Eighteen

16 December 2016

“The King Who is to come; O come let us adore Him.”


letusadorehimnativity1How can we poor, weak and sinful men ever hope to conform ourselves to the example of our King and God, the Spotless Lamb of God? Is not the task an impossible one? No, it is possible, and within our reach, for–

The prevailing feature of His life was unselfishness, and we all can be unselfish if we choose, and love unselfishness, and wish to be ourselves unselfish. To call anyone selfish, is to brand him at once as one whom we cannot love, or even esteem; as a despicable character, and as one whom we shall do well to avoid. On the other hand, a thoroughly unselfish man cannot fail to be loved; there is something very attractive about him; we rejoice in his society; we wish to be like him. And unselfishness is, besides, within everyone’s reach. Hence our King, in giving us a pattern of unselfishness, gives us a pattern of the most attractive of all qualities, and one within everyone’s reach.

Our King in proposing Himself for our example, puts forward another virtue, which we all can imitate, and which in us is but common sense. “Learn of Me,” He says “for I am meek and humble of heart.” Now humility in us is but the esteeming ourselves at our true value; in recognizing that we have nothing good of our own; and that we are therefore to be placed below others, not above them. This we can all practice, and must practice, if we are to be like to our King, who humbled Himself.

The third point in which we can easily imitate our King is obedience. He was obedient in every detail of His life to the will of His eternal Father. If we try in all the particulars of our life to do what God wills, not what we will, we cannot fail to become dear to our King.

31 Meditations for Advent and Christmas: Day Seventeen

15 December 2016


“The King Who is to come; O come let us adore Him.”


adoreOur King is not only our Master and Ruler, but also our Teacher in all that is of the greatest importance to our welfare. He says of Himself: “For this I came into the world, that I might give testimony to the truth.” He is always ready to teach us, if we look to Him for instruction and guidance. We cannot go wrong, so long as we carry out His precepts, and conform our opinions to what He has revealed to us. All our errors arise either from our ignorance, or from our ears being dulled by the din of the world, or by self-will and self-love, which deafen our ears to His voice when He teaches us what is true and right.

But it is not safe to trust to what we think is His voice speaking within us. It is easy here to deceive ourselves and to fancy we hear His voice, when we really are listening to the echoes of our own prejudices, or our own self-will. He has therefore provided an external voice, whose teaching none can mistake. His Priests and Bishops execute His authority. “He who hears you,” He says, “hears Me.” Am I thoroughly loyal to the Church in all her teaching, accepting it with unquestioning faith as the voice of my King and Master, Jesus Christ?

Our King also teaches us through the pages of Holy Scripture, of which God is the Author, and especially by all the discourses and parables, as recorded by the Evangelists. All these we must treasure up in our hearts as jewels of truth, and faithfully obey as the commands of our King. When we are not certain of their meaning, we must seek an explanation from those who teach in our King’s name, and accept it in a loyal spirit of submission.

Source: Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

31 Meditations for Advent and Christmas Day Sixteen

14 December 2016

“The King Who is to come; O come let us adore Him.”


bvm 16One day all the servants of the King will appear before Him to receive the sentence of reward or punishment that they have deserved. None can escape the summons before that tribunal. There we shall stand with a perfectly vivid recollection of all our deeds, whether good or bad, and each will receive from the hands of our King his just recompense. Then there will be no hiding of any of our faults, no making of excuses, no petitioning for mercy. Our King, who is now our merciful and indulgent Friend, will then be our just and severe Judge. What reason I have to dread the day, which must come sooner or later, and how soon, I do not know.

This day may come upon me very suddenly. I may go to sleep in peace some night, and ere day breaks, find myself standing before the King’s tribunal. Even if I have some forewarning, how unlikely it is that I shall then have the same opportunities of preparing for it that I have now! Then I shall be feeble, and perhaps in severe pain, scarce able to reflect on anything. How foolish to put off until then my preparation for that dread account.

The sentence passed will be a final one. I must not forget that. No further opportunity of making amends, or expressing sorrow for the past, or of humbling ourselves for our manifold offenses and sins. We shall then see in our King, either one who will look upon us with looks of love, and with whom we shall dwell in happiness unspeakable through eternity; or else we shall shrink away in an agony of terror from our Judge.

Source: Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

31 Meditations for Advent and Christmas: Day Fifteen

13 December 2016

“The King Who is to come; O come let us adore Him.”


mary in rose bower
We are all bound to serve our King and fight against His enemies, but this obligation we are too prone to forget, and our King therefore has issued an appeal to all who recognize His sovereignty, and has called upon them to come and fight with Him. The object of His campaign is to drive back the host of enemies who are seeking to rob Him of His sovereignty, and to corrupt and destroy His subjects, and to bring destruction on all who are fighting in His cause. The campaign may be a long one, but our King can absolutely promise ultimate victory to every one who will serve Him faithfully. Who would not be anxious to serve a King who could make such a promise as this?

SourceL Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

But our King does far more than this. He offers to share with His soldiers all the hardships of the campaign, all the sufferings, all the weariness, all the physical exhaustion and all the mental anxiety and pain. He does more; He offers to undergo (and has actually undergone) all these hardships and sufferings in a far worse form and a far more acute degree than that which will be imposed on any of His soldiers. He further promises that in every danger and suffering He will be at their side to help and comfort them, and enable them to be victorious in every struggle.

He also promises that His faithful soldiers, one and all, shall share in all the fruits of the victory. His glory will be their glory. His joy their joy. His happiness their happiness. They shall come and join with Him in His triumph, and shall dwell with Him forever. What shall we say of one who does not accept such an offer as this, or who is careless and disloyal in such a service?

31 Meditations for Advent and Christmas: Day Fourteen

12 December 2016

“The King Who is to come; O come let us adore Him.”


sat 2nd weekMany servants of the King, though not actually rebels against Him, are nevertheless disloyal in little things. They neglect the regulations of the service, they disobey Him in points of detail, they neglect His interests for their own enjoyment or supposed advantage, human respect prevents them from being thorough in the King’s service; idleness makes them negligent of their duty. They let their arms get dull and blunted; they are not on their watch against the foe, and so are liable to be overcome by him. Is not this my case in the spiritual service of Jesus Christ?

These acts of disloyalty, which do not amount to actual revolt, but yet involve some degree of contempt for our King, and of ingratitude to Him, are what we call venial sins. They are an evil greater than any other evil in the universe, save actual rebellion. They gradually weaken our love and devotion to Him and prepare the way for open disaffection. They deprive us of many a favor and many a grace that we should otherwise have received; they impair our power of resisting the foes who attack us; they destroy our happiness and our peace of mind. Am I conscious of any that I willfully commit?

What is the punishment of these acts of disloyalty? Unless they are repented of and atoned for, they will involve a long and dreadful time of suffering when life is over. In darkness, and in bitter sorrow, and in desolation, and in agonizing pain, we shall lament over and expiate the little venial sins that undermined our love of our King in this life, and will condemn us to long imprisonment in the cleansing fires before we can see God’s face in Heaven.

Source: Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals

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