Saturday, November 29, 2014

The Season of Advent

The History of Advent

The name Advent (from the Latin Adventus, which signifies a coming) is applied, in the Latin Church, to that period of the year, during which the Church requires the faithful to prepare for the celebration of the feast of Christmas, the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ. The mystery of that great day had every right to the honor of being prepared for by prayer and works of penance; and, in fact, it is impossible to state, with any certainty, when this season of preparation (which had long been observed before receiving its present name of Advent) was first instituted. It would seem, however, that its observance first began in the west, since it is evident that Advent could not have been looked on as a preparation for the feast of Christmas, until that feast was definitively fixed to the twenty-fifth of December; which was done in the east only towards the close of the fourth century; whereas it is certain that the Church of Rome kept the feast on that day at a much earlier period.

We must look upon Advent in two different lights: first, as a time of preparation, properly so called, for the birth of our Savior, by works of penance; and secondly, as a series of ecclesiastical Offices drawn up for the same purpose. We find, as far back as the fifth century, the custom of giving exhortations to the people in order to prepare them for the feast of Christmas. We have two sermons of Saint Maximus of Turin on this subject, not to speak of several others which were formerly attributed to St. Ambrose and St. Augustine, but which were probably written by St. Cesarius of Arles. If these documents do not tell us what was the duration and what the exercises of this holy season, they at least show us how ancient was the practice of distinguishing the time of Advent by special sermons. Saint Ivo of Chartres, St. Bernard, and several other doctors of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, have left us set sermons de Adventu Domini, quite distinct form their Sunday homilies on the Gospels of that season. In the capitularia of Charles the Bald, in 846, the bishops admonish that prince not to call them away from their Churches during Lent or Advent, under pretext of affairs of the State or the necessities of war, seeing that they have special duties to fulfil, and particularly that of preaching during those sacred times.

The oldest document in which we find the length and exercises of Advent mentioned with anything like clearness, is a passage in the second book of the History of the Franks by St. Gregory of Tours, where he says that St. Perpetuus, one of his predecessors, who held that see about the year 480, had decreed a fast three times a week, from the feast of St. Martin until Christmas. It would be impossible to decide whether St. Perpetuus, by his regulations, established a new custom, or merely enforced an already existing law. Let us, however, note this interval of forty, or rather of forty-three days, so expressly mentioned, and consecrated to penance, as though it were a second Lent, though less strict and severe than that which precedes Easter.

Later on, we find the ninth canon of the first Council of Mâcon, held in 582, ordaining that during the same interval between St. Martin’s day and Christmas, the Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, should be fasting days, and that the Sacrifice should be celebrated according to the lenten rite. Not many years before that, namely in 567, the second Council of Tours had enjoined the monks to fast from the beginning of December till Christmas. This practice of penance soon extended to the whole forty days, even for the laity: and it was commonly called St. Martin’s Lent. The capitularia of Charlemagne, in the sixth book, leave us no doubt on the matter; and Rabanus Maurus, in the second book of his Institution of clerics, bears testimony to this observance. There were even special rejoicings made on St. Martin’s feast, just as we see them practiced now at the approach of Lent and Easter.

The obligation of observing this Lent, which, though introduced so imperceptibly, had be degrees acquired the force of a sacred law, began to be relaxed, and the forty days from St. Martin’s day to Christmas were reduced to four weeks. We have seen that this fast began to be observed first in France; but thence it spread into England, as we find from Venerable Bede’s history; into Italy, as appears from a diploma of Astolphus, king of the Lombards, dates 753; into Germany, Spain, &c., of which the proofs may be seen in the learned work of Dom Martène, On the ancient rites of the Church. The first allusion to Advent’s being reduced to four weeks is to be found in the ninth century, in a letter to Pope St. Nicholas I to the Bulgarians. The testimony of Ratherius of Verona, and of Abbo of Fleury, both writers of the tenth century, goes also to prove that, even then, the question of reducing the duration of the Advent fast by one-third was seriously entertained. It is true that St. Peter Damian, in the eleventh century, speaks of the Advent fast as still being forty days; and that St. Louis, two centuries later, kept it for that length of time; but as far as this holy king is concerned, it is probable that it was only his own devotion which prompted him to this practice.

The discipline of the Churches of the west, after having reduced the time of the Advent fast, so far relented, in a few years, as to change the fast into a simple abstinence; and we even find Councils of the twelfth century, for instance Selingstadt in 1122, and Avranches in 1172, which seem to require only the clergy to observe this abstinence. The Council of Salisbury, held in 1281, would seem to expect none but monks to keep it. On the other hand (for the whole subject is very confused, owing, no doubt, to there never having been any uniformity of discipline regarding it in the western Church), we find Pope Innocent III, in his letter to the bishop of Braga, mentioning the custom of fasting during the whole of Advent, as being at that time observed in Rome; and Durandus, in the same thirteenth century, in his Rational on the Divine Offices, tells us that, in France, fasting was uninterruptedly observed during the whole of that holy time.

This much is certain, that, by degrees, the custom of fasting so far fell into disuse, that when, in 1362, Pope Urban V endeavored to prevent the todal decay of the Advent penance, all he insisted upon was that all the clerics of his court should keep abstinence during Advent, without in any way including others, either clergy or laity, in this law. St. Charles Borromeo also strove to bring back his people of Milan to the spirit, if not to the letter, of ancient times. In his fourth Council, he enjoins the parish priests to exhort the faithful to go to Communion on the Sundays, at least, of Lent and Advent; and afterwards addressed to the faithful themselves a pastoral letter, in which, after having reminded them of the dispositions wherewith they ought to spend this holy time, he strongly urges them to fast on the Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, at least, of each week in Advent. Finally, Pope Benedict XIV, when archbishop of Bologna, following these illustrious examples, wrote his eleventh Ecclesiastical Institution for the purpose of exciting in the minds of his diocesans the exalted idea which the Christians of former times had of the holy season of Advent, and of removing an erroneous opinion which prevailed in those parts, namely, that Advent concerned religious only and not the laity. He shows them that such an opinion, unless it be limited to the two practices of fasting and abstinence, is, strictly speaking, rash and scandalous, since it cannot be denied that, in the laws and usages of the universal Church, there exist special practices, having for their end to prepare the faithful for the great feast of the birth of Jesus Christ.

The Greek Church still continues to observe the fast of Advent, though with much less rigor than that of Lent. It consists of forty days, beginning with November 14, the day on which this Church keeps the feast of the apostle St. Philip. During this entire period, the people abstain from flesh-meat, butter, milk, and eggs; but they are allowed, which they are not during Lent, fish, oil, and wine. Fasting, in its strict sense, is binding only on seven out of the forty days; and the whole period goes under the name of St. Philip’s Lent. The Greeks justify these relaxations by this distinction: that the Lent before Christmas is, so they say, only an institution of the monks, whereas the Lent before Easter is of apostolic institution.

But, if the exterior practices of penance which formerly sanctified the season of Advent, have been, in the western Church, so gradually relaxed as to have become now quite obsolete except in monasteries, the general character of the liturgy of this holy time has not changed; and it is by their zeal in following its spirit, that the faithful will prove their earnestness in preparing for Christmas.

The liturgical form of Advent as it now exists in the Roman Church, has gone through certain modifications. St. Gregory seems to have been the first to draw up the Office for this season, which originally included five Sundays, as is evident from the most ancient sacramentaries of this great Pope. It even appears probable, and the opinion has been adopted by Amalarius of Metz, Berno of Reichnau, Dom Martène, and Benedict XIV, that St. Gregory originated the ecclesiastical precept of Advent, although the custom of devoting a longer or shorter period to a preparation for Christmas has been observed from time immemorial, and the abstinence and fast of this holy season first began in France. St. Gregory therefore fixed, for the Churches of the Latin rite, the form of the Office for this Lent-like season, and sanctioned the fast which had been established, granting a certain latitude to the several Churches as to the manner of its observance.

The sacramentary of St. Gelasius has neither Mass nor Office of preparation for Christmas; the first we meet with are in the Gregorian sacramentary, and, as we just observed, these Masses are five in number. It is remarkable that these Sundays were then counted inversely, that is, the nearest to Christmas was called the first Sunday, and so on with the rest. So far back as the ninth and tenth centuries, these Sundays were reduced to four, as we learn from Amalarius, St. Nicholas I, Berno of Reichnau, Ratherius of Verona, &c., and such also is their number in the Gregorian sacramentary of Pamelius, which appears to have been transcribed about this same period. From that time, the Roman Church has always observed this arrangement of Advent, which gives it four weeks, the fourth being that in which Christmas day falls, unless December 25 be a Sunday. We may therefore consider the present discipline of the observance of Advent as having lasted a thousand years, at least as far as the Church of Rome is concerned; for some of the Churches in France kept up the number of five Sundays as late as the thirteenth century.

The Ambrosian liturgy, even to this day, has six weeks of Advent; so has the Gothic or Mozarabic missal. As regards the Gallican liturgy, the fragments collected by Dom Mabillon give us no information; but it is natural to suppose with this learned man, whose opinion has been confirmed by Dom Martène, that the Church of Gaul adopted, in this as in so many other points, the usages of the Gothic Church, that is to say, that its Advent consisted of six Sundays and six weeks.

With regard to the Greeks, their rubrics for Advent are given in the Menæa, immediately after the Office for November 14. They have no proper Office for Advent, neither do they celebrate during this time the Mass of the Presanctified, as they do in Lent. There are only in the Offices for the saints, whose feasts occur between November 14 and the Sunday nearest Christmas, frequent allusions to the birth of the Savior, to the maternity of Mary, to the cave of Bethlehem, &c. On the Sunday preceding Christmas, in order to celebrate the expected coming of the Messias, they keep what they call the feast of the holy fathers, that is the commemoration of the saints of the hold Law. They give the name of Ante-Feast of the Nativity to December 20, 21, 22, and 23; and although they say the Office of several saints on these four days, yet the mystery of the birth of Jesus pervades the whole liturgy.

The Mystery of Advent

If, now that we have described the characteristic features of Advent which distinguish it from the rest of the year, we would penetrate into the profound mystery which occupies the mind of the Church during this season, we find that this mystery of the coming, or Advent, of Jesus is at once simple and threefold. It is simple, for it is the one same Son of God that is coming; it is threefold, because He comes at three different times and in three different ways.

“In the first coming,” says St. Bernard, “He comes in the flesh and in weakness; in the second, He comes in spirit and in power; in the third, He comes in glory and in majesty; and the second coming is the means whereby we pass from the first to the third.”

This, then, is the mystery of Advent. Let us now listen to the explanation of this threefold visit of Christ, given to us by Peter of Blois, in his third Sermon de Adventu: “There are three comings of our Lord; the first in the flesh, the second in the soul, the third at the judgment. The first was at midnight, according to those words of the Gospel: At midnight there was a cry made, Lo the Bridegroom cometh! But this first coming is long since past, for Christ has been seen on the earth and has conversed among men. We are now in the second coming, provided only we are such as that He may thus come to us; for He has said that if we love Him, He will come unto us and will take up His abode with us. So that this second coming is full of uncertainty to us; for who, save the Spirit of God, knows them that are of God? They that are raised out of themselves by the desire of heavenly things, know indeed when He comes; but whence He cometh or whither He goeth, they know not. As for the third coming, it is most certain that it will be, most uncertain when it will be; for nothing is more sure than death, and nothing less sure than the hour of death. When they shall say, peace and security, says the apostle, then shall sudden destruction come upon them, as the pains upon her that is with child, and they shall not escape. So that the first coming was humble and hidden, the second is mysterious and full of love, the third will be majestic and terrible. In His first coming, Christ was judged by men unjustly; in His second, He renders us just by His grace; in His third, He will judge all things with justice. In His first, a lamb; in His last, a lion; in the one between the two, the tenderest of friends.”

The holy Church, therefore, during Advent, awaits in tears and with ardor the arrival of her Jesus in His first coming. For this, she borrows the fervid expressions of the prophets, to which she joins her own supplications. These longings for the Messias expressed by the Church, are not a mere commemoration of the desires of the ancient Jewish people; they have a reality and efficacy of their own, an influence in the great act of God’s munificence, whereby He gave us His own Son. From all eternity, the prayers of the ancient Jewish people and the prayers of the Christian Church ascended together to the prescient hearing of God; and it was after receiving and granting them, that He sent, in the appointed time, that blessed Dew upon the earth, which made it bud forth the Savior.

The Church aspires also to the second coming, the consequence of the first, which consists, as we have just seen, in the visit of the Bridegroom to the bride. This coming takes place, each year, at the feast of Christmas, when the new birth of the Son of God delivers the faithful from that yoke of bondage, under which the enemy would oppress them. The Church, therefore, during Advent, prays that she may be visited by Him who is her Head and her Spouse; visited in her hierarchy; visited in her members, of whom some are living; and some are dead, but may come to life again; visited, lastly, in those who are not in communion with her, and even in the very infidels, that so they may be converted to the true light, which shines even for them. The expressions of the liturgy which the Church makes us of to ask for this loving and invisible coming, are those which she employs when begging for the coming of Jesus in the flesh; for the two visits are for the same object. In vain would the Son of God have come, nineteen hundred years ago, to visit and save mankind, unless He came again for each one of us and at every moment of our lives, bringing to us and cherishing within us that supernatural life, of which He and His holy Spirit are the sole principle.

But this annual visit of the Spouse does not content the Church; she aspires after a third coming, which will complete all things by opening the gates of eternity. She has caught up the last words of her Spouse, “Surely I am coming quickly;” and she cries out to Him, “Ah! Lord Jesus! come!” She is impatient to be loosed from her present temporal state; she longs for the number of the elect to be filled up, and to see appear, in the clouds of heaven, the sign of her Deliverer and her Spouse. Her desires, expressed by her Advent liturgy, go even as far as this; and here we have the explanation of these words of the beloved disciple in his prophecy: “The nuptials of the Lamb are come, and His wife hath prepared herself.”

But the day of this His last coming to her will be a day of terror. The Church frequently trembles at the very thought of that awful judgment, in which all mankind is to be tried. She calls is “a day of wrath, on which, as David and the Sibyl have foretold, the world will be reduced to ashes; a day of weeping and of fear.” Not that she fears for herself, since she knows that this day will forever secure for her the crown, as being the bride of Jesus; but her maternal heart is troubled at the thought that, on the same day, so many of her children will be on the left hand of the Judge, and, having no share with the elect, will be bound hand and foot, and cast into the darkness, where shall be everlasting weeping and gnashing of teeth. This is the reason why the Church, in the liturgy of Advent, so frequently speaking of the coming of Christ as a terrible coming, and selects from the Scriptures those passages which are most calculated to awaken a salutary fear in the mind of such of her children as may be sleeping in the sleep of sin.

This, then, is the threefold mystery of Advent. The liturgical forms in which it is embodied, are of two kinds: the one consists of prayers, passages from the Bible, and similar formulæ, in all of which, words themselves are employed to convey the sentiments which we have been explaining; the other consists of external rites peculiar to this holy time, which, by speaking to the outward senses, compete the expressiveness of the chants and words.

First of all, there is the number of the days of Advent. Forty was the number originally adopted by the Church, and it is still maintained in the Ambrosian liturgy, and in the eastern Church. If, at a later period, the Church of Rome, and those which follow her liturgy, have changed the number of days, the same idea is still expressed in the four weeks which have been substituted for the forty days. The new birth of our Redeemer takes place after four weeks, as the first nativity happened after four thousand years, according to Hebrew and Vulgate chronology.

As in Lent, so likewise during Advent, marriage is not solemnized, lest worldly joy should distract Christians from those serious thoughts wherewith the expected coming of the sovereign Judge ought to inspire them, or from that dearly cherished hope which the friends of the Bridegroom have of being soon called to the eternal nuptial feast.

The people are forcibly reminded of the sadness which fills the heart of the Church, by the somber color of the vestments. Excepting on the feasts of the saints, purple is the only color she uses; the deacon does not wear the dalmatic, nor the subdeacon the tunic. Formerly it was the custom, in some places, to wear black vestments. This mourning of the Church shows how fully she unites herself with those true Israelites of old who, clothed in sackcloth and ashes, waited for the Messias, and bewailed Sion that she had not her beauty, and “Juda, that the scepter had been taken from him, till He should come who was to be sent, the expectation of nations.” It also signifies the works of penance, whereby she prepares for the second coming, full as it is of sweetness and mystery, which is realized in the souls of men, in proportion as they appreciate the tender love of that divine Guest, who has said: “My delights are to be with the children of men.” It expresses, thirdly, the desolation of this bride who yearns after her Beloved, who is long a-coming. Like the turtle dove, she moans her loneliness, longing for the voice which will say to her: “Come from Libanus, my bride! come, thou shalt be crowned. Thou hast wounded my heart.”

The Church also, during Advent, excepting on the feasts of saints, suppresses the angelic canticle, Gloria in excelsis Deo, et in terra pax hominibus bonæ voluntatis; for this glorious song was sung at Bethlehem over the crib of the divine Babe; the tongues of the angels are not loosened yet; the Virgin has not yet brought forth her divine Treasure; it is not yet time to sing, it is not even true to say, “Glory be to God in the highest, and peace on earth to men of good will.”

Again, at the end of Mass, the deacon does not dismiss the assembly of the faithful by the words: Ita messa est. He substitutes the ordinary greeting: Benedicamus Domino! as though the Church feared to interrupt the prayers of the people, which could scarce be too long during these days of expectation.

In the night Office, the holy Church also suspends, on those same days, the hymn of jubilation, Te Deum laudamus (the monastic rite retains it). It is in deep humility that she awaits the supreme blessing which is to come to her; and, in the interval, she presumes only to ask, and entreat, and hope. But let the glorious hour come, when in the midst of darkest night the Sun of justice will suddenly rise upon the world: then indeed she will resume her hymn of thanksgiving, and all over the face of the earth the silence of midnight will be broken by this shout of enthusiasm: “We praise Thee, O God! we acknowledge Thee to be our Lord! Thou, O Christ, art the King of glory, the everlasting Son of the Father! Thou being to deliver man didst not disdain the Virgin’s womb!”

On the ferial days, the rubrics of Advent prescribe that certain prayers should be said kneeling, at the end of each canonical Hour, and that the choir should also kneel during a considerable portion of the Mass. In this respect, the usages of Advent are precisely the same as those of Lent.

But there is one feature which distinguishes Advent most markedly from Lent: the word of gladness, the joyful Alleluia, is not interrupted during Advent, except once or twice during the ferial Office. It is sung in the Masses of the four Sundays, an dvividly contrasts with the somber color of the vestments. On one of these Sundays, the third, the prohibition of using the organ is removed, and we are gladdened by its grand notes, and rose-colored vestments may be used instead of the purple. These vestiges of joy, thus blended with the holy mournfulness of the Church, tells us, in a most expressive way, that though she unites with the ancient people of God in praying for the coming of the Messias (thus paying the debt which the entire human race owes to the justice and mercy of God), she does not forget that the Emmanuel is already come to her, that He is in her, and that even before she has opened her lips to ask Him to save her, she has been already redeemed and predestined to an eternal union with Him. This is the reason why the Alleluia accompanies even her sighs, and why she seems to be at once joyous and sad, waiting for the coming of that holy night which will be brighter to her than the most sunny of days, and on which her joy will expel all her sorrow.

Practice During Advent

If our holy mother the Church spends the time of Advent in this solemn preparation for the threefold coming of Jesus Christ; if, after the example of the prudent virgins, she keeps her lamp lit ready for the coming of the Bridegroom; we, being her members and her children, ought to enter into her spirit, and apply to ourselves this warning of our Savior: “Let your loins be girt, and lamps burning in your hands, and ye yourselves be like unto men who wait for their Lord!” The Church and we have, in reality, the same hopes. Each one of us is, on the part of God, an object of mercy and care, as is the Church herself. If she is the temple of God, it is because she is built of living stones; if she is the bride, it is because she consists of all the souls which are invited to eternal union with God. If it is written that the Savior hath purchased the Church with His own Blood, may not each one of us say of himself those words of St. Paul, “Christ hath loved me, and hath delivered Himself up for me”? Our destiny being the same, then, as that of the Church, we should endeavor during Advent, to enter into the spirit of preparation, which is, as we have seen, that of the Church herself.

And firstly, it is our duty to join with the saints of the old Law in asking for the Messias, and thus pay the debt which the whole human race owes to the divine mercy. In order to fulfill this duty with fervor, let us go back in thought to those four thousand years, represented by the four weeks of Advent, and reflect on the darkness and crime which filled the world before our Savior’s coming. Let our hearts be filled with lively gratitude towards Him who saved His creature man from death, and who came down from heaven that He might know our miseries by Himself experiencing them, yes, all of them excepting sin. Let us cry to Him with confidence from the depths of our misery; for, notwithstanding His having saved the work of His hands, He still wishes us to beseech Him to save us. Let therefore our desires and our confidence have their free utterance in the ardent supplications of the ancient prophets, which the Church puts on our lips during these days of expectation; let us give our closest attention to the sentiments which they express.

This first duty complied with, we must next turn our minds to the coming which our Savior wishes to accomplish in our own hearts. It is, as we have seen, a coming full of sweetness and mystery, and a consequence of the first; for the good Shepherd comes not only to visit the flock in general, but He extends His solicitude to each one of the sheep, even to the hundredth which is lost. Now, in order to appreciate the whole of this ineffable mystery, we must remember the whole of this ineffable mystery, we must remember that, since we can be pleasing to our heavenly Father only inasmuch as He sees within us His Son Jesus Christ, this amiable Savior deigns to come into each one of us, and transform us, if we will but consent, into Himself, so that henceforth we may live, not we, but He in us. This is, in reality, the one grand aim of the Christian religion, to make man divine through Jesus Christ: it is the task which God has given to His Church to do, and she says to the faithful what St. Paul said to his Galatians: “My little children, of whom I am in labor again, until Christ be formed within you!”

But as, on His entering into this world, our divine Savior first showed Himself under the form of a weak Babe, before attaining the fulness of the age of manhood, and this to the end that nothing might be wanting to His sacrifice, so does He intend to do in us; there is to be a progress in His growth within us. Now, it is at the feast of Christmas that He delights to be born in our souls, and that He pours out over the whole Church a grace of being born, to which, however, not all are faithful.

For this glorious solemnity, as often as it comes round, finds three classes of men. The first, and the smallest number, are those who live, in all its plenitude, the life of Jesus who is within them, and aspire incessantly after the increase of this life. The second class of souls is more numerous; they are living, it is true, because Jesus is in them; but they are sick and weakly, because they care not to grow in this divine life; their charity has become cold! The rest of men make up the third division, and are they that have no part in this life in them, and are dead; for Christ has said: “I am the Life.”

Now, during the season of Advent, our Lord knocks at the door of all men’s hearts, at one time so forcibly that they must needs notice Him; at another, so softly that it requires attention to know that Jesus is asking admission. He comes to ask them if they have room for Him, for He wishes to be born in their house. The house indeed is His, for he built it and preserves it; yet He complains that His own refused to received Him; at least the greater number did. “But as many as received Him, He gave them power to be made the sons of God, born not of blood, nor of the flesh, but of God.”

He will be born, then, with more beauty and luster and might than you have hitherto seen in Him, O ye faithful ones, who hold Him within you as your only treasure, and who have long lived no other life than His, shaping your thoughts and works on the model of His. You will feel the necessity of words to suit and express your love; such words as He delights to hear you speak to Him. You will find them in the holy liturgy.

You, who have had Him within you without knowing Him, and have possessed Him without relishing the sweetness of His presence, open your hearts to welcome Him, this time, with more care and love. He repeats His visit of this year with an untiring tenderness; He has forgotten your past slights; He would “that all things be new.” Make room for the divine Infant, for He desires to grow within your soul. The time of His coming is close at hand: let your heart, then, be on the watch; and lest you should slumber when He arrives, watch and pray, yea, sing. The words of the liturgy are intended also for your use: they speak of darkness, which only God can enlighten; of wounds, which only His mercy can heal; of a faintness, which can be braced only by His divine energy.

And you, Christians, for whom the good tidings are as things that are not, because you are dead in sin, lo! He who is very life is coming among you. Yes, whether this death of sin has held you as its slave for long years, or has but freshly inflicted on you the wound which made you its victim, Jesus, your Life, is coming: “why, then, will you die? He desireth not the death of the sinner, but rather that he be converted and live.” The grand feast of His birth will be a day of mercy for the whole world; at least, for all who will give Him admission into their hearts; they will rise to life again in Him, their past life will be destroyed, and where sin abounded, there grace will more abound.

But, if the tenderness and the attractiveness of this mysterious coming make no impression on you, because your heart is too weighed down to be able to rise to confidence, and because, having so long drunk sin like water, you know not what it is to long with love for the caresses of a Father whom you have sligthted—then turn your thoughts to that other coming, which is full of terror, and is to follow the silent one of grace that is now offered. Think within yourselves, how this earth of ours will tremble at the approach of the dread Judge; how the heavens will flee from before His face, and fold up as a book; how man will wince under His angry look; how the creature will wither away with fear, as the two-edged sword, which comes from the mouth of his Creator, pierces him; and how sinners will cry out, “Ye mountains, fall on us! ye rocks, cover us!” Those unhappy souls who would not know the time of their visitation, shall then vainly wish to hide themselves from the face of Jesus. They shut their hearts against this Man-God, who, in His excessive love for them, wept over them: therefore, on the day of judgment they will descend alive into those everlasting fires, whose flame devoureth the earth with her increase, and burneth the foundations of the mountains. The worm that never dieth, the useless eternal repentance, will gnaw them forever.

Let those, then, who are not touched by the tidings of the coming of the heavenly Physician and the good Shepherd who giveth His life for His sheep, meditate during Advent on the awful yet certain truth, that so many render the redemption unavailable to themselves by refusing to cooperate in their own salvation.They may treat the Child who is to be born with disdain; but He is also the mighty God, and do they think they can withstand Him on that day, when He is to come, not to save, as now, but to judge? Would they that knew more of this divine Judge, before whom the very saints tremble! Let these, also, use the liturgy of this season, and they will there learn how much He is to be feared by sinners.

We would not imply by this that only sinners need to fear; no, every Christian ought to fear. Fear, when there is no nobler sentiment with it, makes man a slave; when it accompanies love, it is a feeling which fills the heart of a child who has offended his father, yet seeks for pardon; when, at length, love casteth out fear, even then this holy fear will sometimes come, and, like a flash of lightning, pervade the deepest recesses of the soul. It does the soul good. She wakes up afresh to a keener sense of her own misery and of the unmerited mercy of her Redeemer. Let no one, therefore, think that he may safely pass his Advent without taking any share in the holy fear which animates the Church. She, though so beloved by God, prays to Him to give her this fear; and every day, in her Office of Sext, she thus cries out to Him: “Pierce my flesh with Thy fear.” It is, however, to those who are beginning a good life, that this part of the Advent liturgy will be peculiarly serviceable.

It is evident, from what we have said, that Adven is a seaon specially devoted to the exercises of what is called the prgative life, which is implied in that expression of St. John, so continually repeated by the Church during this holy time: Prepare ye the way of the Lord! Let all, therefore, strive earnestly to make straight the path by which Jesus will enter into their souls. Let the just, agreebly to the teaching of the apostle, forget the things that are behind, and labor to acquire fresh merit. Let sinners begin at once and break the chains which now enslave them. Let them give up those bad habits which they have contracted. Let them weaken the flesh, and enter upon the hard work of subjecting it to the spirit. Let them, above all things, pray with the Church. And when our Lord comes, they may hope that He will not pass them by, but that He will enter and dwell within them; for He spoke of all when He said these words: “Behold I stand at the gate and knock: if any man shall hear My voice and open to Me the door, I will come unto him.”

Morning and Night Prayers for Advent

During Advent, the Christians, on awakening in the mornng, will nite himself with the Church, who, in her Office of Matins, says to us these solemn words, which choirs of religious, men and women, throughout the universe, have been chanting during the deep silence of the night:

Regem venturum Dominum, venite, adoremus.

Come, let us adore the King our Lord,who is to come!

He wll profoundly adore this great King, whose coming is so near at hand: and with this idea deeply impressed upon his mind, he will perform the first acts of religion, both interior and exterior, wherwith he begins the day. The time for morning prayer being come, he may use the following method, which is formed upon the very prayers of the Church:—

Morning Prayers

First, praise and adoration of the most holy Trinity:—

℣. Benedicamus Patrem, et Filium, cum sancto Spiritu.

℣. Let us bless the Father, and the Son, and the Holy Ghost.

℟. Laudemus et suprexlaltemus cum in sæcula.

℟. Let us praise him and extol him above all for ever.

℣. Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto.

℣. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

℟. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, st semper, et in sæcula s&aeli;g;culorum. Amen.

℣. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Ame.

Then, praise to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ:—

℣. Adoramus te, Christe, et benedicimus tibi.

℣. We adore thee, O Christ, and we bless thee.

℟. Quia per crucem tuam redemisti mundum.

℟. Because by thy cross thou hast redeemed the world.

Thirdly, invocation of the Holy Ghost:—

Veni, sancte Spiritus, reple tuorum corda fidelium, et tui amoris in eis ignem accende.

Come, O holy Spirit, fill the hearts of thy faithful, and enkindle within them the fire of thy love.

After these fundamental acts of religion, you will recite the Lord’s Prayer, asking of God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, to grant that His holy name may be glorified on earth by sending His Son, who will found the kingdom of God; and that He will vouchsafe to give us this Savior who is our Bread and who will obtain for us, by the mediation so long looked for, the forgiveness of our sins; finally, that He will deliver us from sin, which is the sovereign evil.

The Lord’s Prayer

Pater noster, cui es in cœlis, sanctificetur nomen tuum: adveniat regnum tuum: fiat voluntas tuum, sicut in cœlo, et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum da nobis hodie: et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitorubus nostris: et ne nos inducas in tentationem: sed libera nos a malo. Amen.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name: thy kingdom come: thy will be done on earth, as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread; and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive them that trespass against us: and lead us not into temptation: but deliver us from evil. Amen.

The Angelical Salutation

Ave Maria, gratia plena: Dominus tecum: benedicta tu in mulieribus, et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus.

Hail Mary, full of grace; the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis peccatoribus, nunc et in hora mortis nostræ. Amen.

Holy Mary, Mother of God, pray for us sinners, now and at the our of our death. Amen.

After this, recite the symbol of faith; and as you pronounce the words, who was conceived by the Holy Ghost, dwell on them with special attention, adoring the Savior, who is as yet concealed in Mary’s womb.

The Apostle’s Creed

Credo in Deum, Patrem omnipotentem, Creatorem cæli et terræ. Et in Iesum Christum, Filium eius unicum, Dominum nostrum, qui conceptus est de Spiritu Sancto, natus ex Maria Virgine, passus sub Pontio Pilato, crucifixus, mortuus, et sepultus, descendit ad inferos, tertia die resurrexit a mortuis, ascendit ad cælos, sedet ad dexteram Dei Patris omnipotentis, inde venturus est iudicare vivos et mortuos.

I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, His only Son, our Lord, Who was conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; He descended into hell; on the third day He rose again from the dead; He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God, the Father Almighty; from there He will come to judge the living and the dead.

Credo in Spiritum Sanctum, sanctam Ecclesiam catholicam, sanctorum communionem, remissionem peccatorum, carnis resurrectionem, vitam æternam. Amen.

I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting. Amen.

After having thus made the profession of your faith, excite within yourself sentiments of penance, by the remembrance of the sins you have committed; of gratitude to the Lamb of God, who is coming in order to save us; and of fear of the last day. For this end, say with the Church the following hymn taken from the Office of Lauds for Advent.

Hymn

En clara vox redarguit,
Obscura quæque personals;
Procul fugentur somnia:
Ab alto Jesus promicat.

The solemn voice of the Precursor is heard, explaining the obscurity of the ancient figures; let our slumbers cease; Jesus is rising on our horizon.

Mens jam resurgat torpida,
Non amplius jacens humi:
Sidus refulget jam novum,
Ut tollat omne noxium.

Let the sluggish soul now rise, and stay no more upon this earth; a new star is shining which will take all sin away.

En Agnus ad nos mittitur
Laxare gratis debitum:
Omnes simul, cum lacrymis,
Precemur indulgentiam.

Lo! the Lamb is sent to forgive us freely out debt let us unite in tears and prayers, that we may obtain pardon.

Et cum secundo fulserit
Metuque mundum cinxerit,
Non pro reatu puniat,
Sed nos pius tunc protegat.

That when he comes the second time, filling the world with fear, he may not have to punish us for our sins, but may protect us in mercy.

Virtus, honor, laus gloria,
Deo Patri cum Filio,
Sancto simul Paraclito,
In sæculorum sæcula

Power, honor, praise, the glory, be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the holy Paraclete, for ever and ever.

Amen.

Amen.

Here make a humble confession of your sins, reciting the general formula made use of by the Church.

The Confession of Sins

Confiteor Deo omnipotenti, beatæ Mari√¶ semper Virgini, beato Michæli Archangelo, beato Ioanni Baptistæ, sanctis Apostolis Petro et Paulo, et omnibus Sanctis, quia peccavi nimis cogitatione, verbo et opere: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Ideo precor beatam Mariam semper Virginem, beatum Michælem Archangelum, beatum Ioannem Baptistam, sanctos Apostolos Petrum et Paulum, et omnes Sanctos, orare pro me ad Dominum Deum nostrum.

I confess to almighty God, to blessed Mary ever Virgin, to blessed Michael the Archangel, to blessed John the Baptist, to the holy apostles Peter and Paul, and to all the saints that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed: through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault. Therefore, I beseech blessed Mary ever Virgin, blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John the Baptist, the holy apostles Peter and Paul, and all the saints, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

Misereatur nostri omnipotens Deus, et dimissis peccatis nostris, perducat nos ad vitam æternam. Amen.

May almighty God have mercy on us, and, our sins being forgiven, bring us to life everlasting.

Indulgentiam, absolutionem, et remissionem peccatorum nostrorum tribuat nobis omnipotens et misericors Dominus. Amen.

May the almighty and merciful Lord grant us pardon, absolution, and remission of our sins. Amen.

This is the proper place for making your meditation, as no doubt you practice this holy exercise. During Advent, its principla object ought to be the removing from ourselves those hindrances, which would oppose Jesus’ coming and reigning within us. The love of sensual pleasures, avarice, and pride, that triple concupiscence which St. John so strongly condemns in his first Epistle, must be withstood, else our preparation for Christmas is useless. And as the chief thing in every prayer or meditation is to turn our thoughts to Jesus Christ, we must, during Advent, contemplate Him in the womb of Mary, where He remains hidden, giving us, by this His state of abasement, a most telling lesson of devotedness to His Father’s glory, of obedience to the divine decress, and of humility; but, at the same time, He gives us a most powerful proof of the greatness of His love of us. This thought will naturally suggest to us a variety of motives and resolutions for breaking those ties which keep us from a virtuous life. But should they not produce sufficient impression on us, we must then consider Jesus as our Judge, in the dread magnificence of His majesty, and all the severity of His inevitable vengeance.

The next part of your morning prayer must be to ask of God, by the following prayers, grace to avoid every kind of sin during the day you are just beginning. Say, then, with the Church, whose prayers must always be preferred to all others:

℣. Domine, exaude orationem meam.

℣. O Lord, hear my prayer.

℟. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.

℟. And let my cry come unto thee.

Oremus.

Let Us Pray

Domine, Deus omnipotens, qui ad principium hujus diei nos pervenire fecisti, tua nos hodie salva virtute, ut in hac die ad nullum declinemus peccatum, sed semper ad tuam justitiam faciendam nostra procedant eloquia, dirigantur cogitationes et opera. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum, qui tecum vigit et regnat in unitate Spiritus sancti, Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

Almighty Lord and God, who hast brought us to the beginning of this day, let thy powerful grace so conduct us through it, tht we may not fall into any sin, but that all our thoughts, words, and actions may be regulated according to the rules of thy heavenly justice, and tend to the observance of thy holy law. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Then beg the divine assistance for the actions of the day, that you may do them well; and say thrice:

℣. Deus, in adjutorium meum intende.

℣. Incline unto my aid, O God.

℟. Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina.

℟. O Lord, make haste to help me.

℣. Deus, in adjutorium meum intende.

℣. Incline unto my aid, O God.

℟. Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina.

℟. O Lord, make haste to help me.

℣. Deus, in adjutorium meum intende.

℣. Incline unto my aid, O God.

℟. Domine, ad adjuvandum me festina.

℟. O Lord, make haste to help me.

Oremus

Let Us Pray

Dirigere et sanctificare, regere et gubernare dignare, Domine Deus, Rex cœli et terræ, hodie corda et corpora nostra, sensus, sermones et actus nostros in lege tua, et in operibus mandatorum tuorum, ut hic et in æternum, te auxiliante, salvi et liberi esse mereamur, Salvator mundi. Qui vivis et regnas in sæcula sæculorum.

Lord God, and King of heaven and earth, vouchsafe this day to rule and sanctify, to direct and govern our souls and bodies, our senses, words, and actions in conformity to thy law, and strict obediene to thy commands; that by the help of thy grace, O Savior of the world, we may be fenced and freed from all evils. Who livest and reignest for ever and ever.

℟. Amen.

℟. Amen.

After this, uniting yourself with the Church, which, both in the Divine Office, and during the holy Sacrifice, prays for the coming of Jesus Christ, say:

℣. Veni ad liberandum nos, Domine
Deus virtutum.

℣. O Lord God of hosts, come and deliver us.

℟. Ostende faciem tuam, et salvi erimus.

℟. Show thy face, and we shall be saved.

℣. Ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam.

℣. Show us, O Lord, thy mercy.

℟. Et salutare tuum da nobis.

℟. And grant us the Savior, whom we expect from thee.

℣. Super te, Jerusalem, orietur Dominus.

℣. The Lord shall rise upon thee, O Jerusalem.

℟. Et gloria ejus in te videbitur.

℟. And his glory shall be seen upon thee.

(First week)

Oremus

Let Us Pray

Excita, quæsumus, Domine, potentiam tuam et veni; ut ab imminentibus peccatorum nostrorum periculis, te mereamur protegente eripi, te liberante salvari. Qui vivis et regnas, Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum.

Exert, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy power and come; that by thy protection we may be freed from the imminent dangers of our sins, and be saved by thy mercy; who livest and reignest God, world without end.

℟. Amen.

℟. Amen.

(Second week)

Excita, Domine, corda nostra ad præparandas Unigeniti tui vias: ut per ejus adventum, purificatis tibi mentibus servire mereamur. Qui tecum vivit et regnat in sæcula sæculorum.

Stir up, O Lord, our hearts to prepare the ways of thy only-begotten Son: that by his coming we may be enabled to serve thee with pure minds; who livest and reignest God, world without end.

℟. Amen.

℟. Amen.

(Third week)

Aurem tuam, quæsumus, Domine, precibus nostris accommoda: et mentis notræ tenebras gratia tuæ visitationis illustra. Qui vivis et regnas Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum.

Bend thine ear, O Lord, we beseech thee, to our prayers, and enlighten the darkness of our minds by the grace of thy visitation; who livest and reignest God, world without end.

℟. Amen.

℟. Amen.

(Fourth week)

Excita, quæsumus, Domine, potentiam tuam et veni, et magna nobis virtute succurre: ut, per auxilium gratiæ tuæ, quod nostra peccata præpediunt indulgentia tuæ propitiationis acceleret. Qui vivis et regnas Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum.

Exert, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy power and come; and succor us by thy great might; that by the assistance of thy grace, thy indulgent mercy may hasten what is delayed by our sins; who livest and reignest God, world without end.

℟. Amen.

℟. Amen.

It would be well to add the special prayer which the Church says, during Advent, in honor of the blessed Mother of God.

Morning and Night Prayers

Oremus

Let Us Pray

Deus, qui de beatæ Mariæ Virginis utero, Verbum tuum, angelo nuntiante, carnem suscipere voluisti; præsta supplicibus tuis, ut qui vere eam Genitricem Dei credimus, ejus apud te intercessionibus adjuvemur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum.

O God, who wast pleased that thy Word, when the angel delivered his message, should take flesh in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary; give ear to our humble petitions, and grant that we, who believe her to be truly the Mother of God, may be helped by her prayers. Through the same Christ our Lord.

℟. Amen.

℟. Amen.

During the day, you may use the instruction and prayers which you will find here for each day of Advent, both for the proper of the time, and the proper of the saints. In the evening, you may use the following prayers.

Night Prayers

After having made the sign of the cross, adore the divine Majesty, who has so mercifully preserved you during this day, and so plentifully bestowed upon you, every hour, His grace and protection. Begin by reciting the hymn which the Church sings at Vespers during Advent.

Hymn

Creator alme siderum,
Æterna lux credentium,
Jesu, Redemptor omnium,
Intende votis supplicum.

O Jesus, thou kind Creator of the heavens, eternal light of believers, and Redeemer of all mankind, hear the prayers of thy suppliants.

Qui dæmonis ne fraudibus
Periret orbis, impetu
Amoris actus, languidi
Mundi medela factus es.

Lest the world should perish by the fraud of the devil, thou, impelled by the vehemence of thy love for us, didst thyself beceome the remedy of all our weakness.

Commune qui mundi nefas
Ut expiares, ad crucem,
E Virginis sacrario
Intacta prodis victima.

To expiate the sin of the whole world, thou didst come from the sanctuary of the Virgin’s womb, a victim destines to the cross.

Cujus potestas gloriæ
Nomenque quum primum sonat,
Et cœlites et inferi
Tremente curvatur genu.

How glorious is thy power, when, at the very sound of thy name, heaven and hell bend the trembling knee!

Te deprecamur, ultimæ
Magnum diei judicem,
Armis supernæ gratiæ
Defende nos ab hostibus.

We beseech thee, dread Judge of the last day, defend us from our enemies by the armor of thy heavenly grace.

Virtus, honor, laus, gloria,
Deo Patri cum Filio,
Sancto simul Paraclito,
In sæculorum sæcula.

Power, honor, praise, and glory, be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the holy Paraclete, for ever and ever.

Amen.

Amen.

After this hymn, say the Our Father, the Hail Mary, and the Apostle’s Creed, as in the morning.

Then make the examination of conscience, going over in your mind all the faults you may have committed during the day; think how unworthy sin makes us of the merciful visit of our Savior, and make a firm resolution to avoid sin for the future, to do penance for it, and to avoid the occasions which might lead yuo into it.

The examination of conscience concluded, recite the Confiteor (or “I confess”) with heartfelt contrition, and then give expression to your sorrow by the following act, which we have taken from the Venerable Cardinal Bellarmine’s Catechism:

Act of Contrition

O my God, I am exceedingly grieved for having offended thee, and with my whole heart I repent of the sins I have committed: I hate and abhor them above every other evil, not only because, by so sinning, I have lost heaven and deserved hell, but still more because I have offended thee, O infinite Goodness, who art worthy to be loved above all things. I most firmly resolve, by the assistance of thy grace, never more to offend thee for the time to come, and to avoid those occasions which might lead me into sin.

You may then add the acts of faith, hope, and charity, to recitation of which Pope Benedict XIV has granted an indulgence of seven years and seven quarantines for each time.

Act of Faith

O my God, I firmly believe whatsoever the holy, Catholic, apostolic, Roman Church requires me to believe: I believe it because thou hast revealed it to her, thou who art the very truth.

Act of Hope

O my God, knowing thy almighty power, and thy infinite goodness and mercy, I hope in thee that, by the merits of the Passion and death of our Savior Jesus Christ, thou wilt grant me eternal life, which thou hast promised to all such as shall do the works of a good Christian; and these I resolve to do with the help of thy grace.

Act of Charity

O my God, I love thee with my whole heart and above all things, because thou art the sovereign Good: I would rather lose all things than offend thee. For my love also, I love, and desire to love, my neighbor as myself.

Then say to our blessed Lady, in honor of the ineffable dignity of her maternity, the following anthem.

Anthem of the Blessed Virgin

Alma Redemptoris Mater, quæ pervia cœli
Porta manes, et stella maris, succurre cadenti,
Surgere qui curat, populo: tu quæ genuisti,
Natura mirante, tuum sanctum Genitorem,
Virgo prius ac posterius, Gabrielis ab ore,
Sumens illus Ave, peccatorum misererre.

Sweet Mother of our Redeemer, gate whereby we enter heaven, and star of the sea! help us, we fall; yet do we long to rise. Nature looked uon thee with admiration, when thou didst give birth to thy divine Creator, thyself remaining, before and after it, a pure Virgin. Gabriel spoke his Hail to thee; we sinners crave thy pity.

℣. Angelus Domini nuntiavit Mariæ.

℣. The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary.

℟. Et concepit de Spiritu sancto.

℟. And she conceived of the Holy Ghost.

Oremus.

Let Us Pray.

Gratiam tuam, quæsumus, Domine, mentibus nostris infunde, ut qui, angelo nuntiante, Christi Filii tui Incarnationem cognovimus, per Passionem ejus et crucem ad Resurrectionis gloriam perducamur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum.

Pour forth, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy grace into our hearts; that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may by his Passion and cross be brought to the glory of the Resurrection. Through the same Christ our Lord.

℟. Amen.

℟. Amen.

You would do well to add the litany of our Lady. An indulgence of three hundred days, for each time it is recited, has been granted by the Church.

The Litany of the Blessed Virgin
Kyrie, eleison. Lord, have mercy on us.
Christe, eleison. Christ, have mercy on us.
Kyrie, eleison. Lord, have mercy on us.
Christe, audi nos. Christ, hear us.
Christe, exaudi nos. Christ, graciously hear us.
Pater de cælis Deus, miserere nobis. God, the Father of heaven, have mercy on us.
Fili Redemptor mundi Deus, God, the Son, the Redeemer of the world,
Spiritus Sancte Deus, God, the Holy Spirit,
Sancta Trinitas, unus Deus, Holy Trinity, one God,
Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis. Holy Mary, pray for us.
Sancta Dei Genetrix, Holy Mother of God,
Sancta Virgo virginum, Holy Virgin of virgins,
Mater Christi, Mother of Christ,
Mater Ecclesiæ, Mother of the Church,
Mater Divinæ gratiæ, Mother of divine grace,
Mater purissima, Mother most pure,
Mater castissima, Mother most chaste,
Mater inviolata, Mother inviolate,
Mater intemerata, Mater undefiled,
Mater amabilis, Mother most amiable,
Mater admirabilis, Mother most admirable,
Mater boni Consilii, Mother of good counsel,
Mater Creatoris, Mother of our Creator,
Mater Salvatoris, Mother of our Savior,
Virgo prudentissima, Virgin most prudent,
Virgo veneranda, Virgin most venerable,
Virgo prædicanda, Virgin most renowned,
Virgo potens, Virgin most powerful,
Virgo clemens, Virgin most merciful,
Virgo fidelis, Virgin most faithful,
Speculum iustitiæ, Mirror of justice,
Sedes sapientiæ, Seat of wisdom,
Causa nostræ lætitiæ, Cause of our joy,
Vas spirituale, Spiritual vessel,
Vas honorabile, Vessel of honor,
Vas insigne devotionis, Singular vessel of devotion,
Rosa mystica, Mystical rose,
Turris Davidica, Tower of David,
Turris eburnea, Tower of ivory,
Domus aurea, House of gold,
Fœderis arca, Ark of the covenant,
Janua cæli, Gate of heaven,
Stella matutina, Morning star,
Salus infirmorum, Health of the sick,
Refugium peccatorum, Refuge of sinners,
Consolatrix afflictorum, Comforter of the afflicted,
Auxilium Christianorum, Help of Christians,
Regina Angelorum, Queen of Angels,
Regina Patriarcharum, Queen of Patriarchs,
Regina Prophetarum, Queen of Prophets,
Regina Apostolorum, Queen of Apostles,
Regina Martyrum, Queen of Martyrs,
Regina Confessorum, Queen of Confessors,
Regina Virginum, Queen of Virgins,
Regina Sanctorum omnium, Queen of all Saints,
Regina sine labe originali concepta, Queen conceived without original sin,
Regina in cæ assumpta, Queen assumed into heaven,
Regina Sacratissimi Rosarii, Queen of the most holy Rosary,
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,
parce nobis, Domine.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the
world,
spare us, O Lord.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,
exaudi nos, Domine.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the
world,
graciously hear us, O Lord.
Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi,
miserere nobis.
Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the
world,
have mercy on us.
Christe, audi nos.. Christ, hear us..
Christe, exaudi nos.. Christ, graciously hear us..
℣. Ora pro nobis, Sancta Dei Genitrix,
℟. Ut digni efficamur promissionibus Christi.
℣. Pray for us, O holy Mother of God,
℟. That we may be made worthy of the promises
of Christ.
Oremus.—Concede nos famulos tuos, quæsumus, Domine Deus, perpetua mentis et corporis sanitate gaudere; et gloriosa beatæ Mariæ semper Virginis intercessione, a præsenti liberari tristitia, et æterna perfrui lætitia. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.. Let us pray.—Grant, O Lord, we beseech thee, that we thy servants may enjoy constant health of body and mind, and by the glorious intercession of blessed Mary, ever a Virgin, be delivered from all present affliction, and come to that joy which is eternal Through Christ our Lord. Amen..

Here invoke the holy angels, whose protection is, indeed, always so much needed by us, but never so much as during the hours of night. Say with the Church:

Sancti angeli, custodes nostri, defendite nos in prælio, ut non pereamus in tremendo judicio.

Holy angels, our loving guardians, defend us in the hour of battle, that we may not be lost at the dreadful judgment.

℣. Angelis suis Deus mandavit de te.

℣. God hath given his angels charge of thee.

℟. Ut custodiant te in omnibus viis tuis.

℟. That they may guard thee in all thy ways.

Oremus.

Let Us Pray.

Deus qui ineffabili providentia sanctos angelos tuos ad nostram custodiam mittere dignaris: largire supplicibus tuis, et eorum semper protectione defendi, et æterna societate gaudere. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

O God, who in thy wonderful providence hast been pleased to appoint thy holy angels for our guardians: mercifully hear our prayer, and grant we may rest secure under their protection, and enjoy their fellowship in heaven forever. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

Then beg the assistance of the saints by the following antiphon and prayer of the Church:

Ant. Ecce Dominus veniet, et omnes sancti ejus cum eo: et erit in die illa lux magna, alleluia.

Ant. Behold, the Lord will come, and with him all his saints; and on that day there shall be a great light, alleluia.

℣. Ecce apparebit Dominus super nubem candidam.

℣. Behold, the Lord shall appear upon a white cloud.

℟. Et cum eo sanctorum millia.

℟. And with him thousands of saints.

Oremus.

Let Us Pray.

Conscientias nostras, quæsumus, Domine, visitando purifica: ut veniens Jesus Christus Filius tuus Dominus noster, cum omnibus sanctis suis, paratam sibi in nobis inveniat mansionem. Qui tecum vivit, etc.

Visit, we beseech thee, O Lord, and purify our hearts by thy grace: that when our Lord Jesus Christ thy Son shall come, together with all his saints, he may find us ready to give him a place within us: who liveth and reigneth with thee for ever and ever. Amen.

And here you may add a special mention of the saints to whom you bear a particular devotion, either as your patrons or otherwise; as also of those whose feast is kept in the Church that day, or who have been at least commemorated in the Divine Office.

This done, remember that necessities of the Church suffering, and beg of God that He will give to the souls in purgatory a place of refreshment, light, and peace.

Psalm 129

De profundis clamavi ad te, Domine: Domine, exaudi vocem meam.

From the depths I have cried to thee, O Lord; Lord, hear my voice.

Fiant aures tuæ intendentes: in vocem deprecationis meæ.

Let thine ears be attentive to the voice of my supplication.

Si iniquitates observaveris, Domine: Domine, quis sustinebit?

If thou wilt observe iniquities, O Lord: Lord, who shall endure it?

Quia apud te propitiatio est: et propter legem tuam sustinui te, Domine.

For with thee there is merciful forgiveness; and by reason of thy law I have waited for thee, O Lord.

Sustinuit anima mea in verbo ejus: speravit anima mea in Domino.

My soul hath relied on his word; my soul hath hoped in the Lord.

A custodia matutina usque ad noctem: speret Israel in Domino.

From the morning watch even until night, let Israel hope in the Lord.

Quia apud Dominum misericordia: et copiosa apud cum redemptio.

Because with the Lord there is mercy, and with him plentiful redemption.

Et ipse redimet Israel: ex omnibus iniquitatibus ejus.

And he shall redeem Israel from all his iniquities.

Requiem æternam dona eis, Domine.

Eternal rest give to them, O Lord.

Et lux perpetua luceat eis.

And let perpetual light shine upon them.

℣. A porta inferi.

℣. From the gate of hell.

℟. Erue, Domine, animas eorum.

℟. Deliver their souls, O Lord.

℣. Requiescant in pace.

℣. May they rest in peace.

℟. Amen.

℟. Amen.

℣. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.

℣. O Lord, hear my prayer.

℟. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.

℟. And let my cry come unto thee.

Oremus.

Let Us Pray.

Fidelium Deus omnium Conditor et Redemptor, animabus famulorum famularumque tuarum, remissionem cunctorum tribue peccatorum: ut indulgentiam, quam semper optaverunt, piis supplicationibus consequantur. Qui vivis et regnas in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

O God the Creator and Redeemer of all the faithful, give to the souls of thy servants departed the remission of their sins: that through the help of pious supplications, they may obtain the pardon they have always desired. Who livest and reignest for ever and ever. Amen.

Here make a special memento of such of the faithful departed as have a particular claim upon your charity; after which, ask of God to give you His assistance, whereby you may pass the night free from danger. Say, then, still keeping to the words of the Church:

Ant. Salva nos, Domine, vigilantes, custodi nos dormientes: ut vigilemus cum Christo, et requiescamus in pace.

Ant. Save us, O Lord, while awake, and watch us as we sleep: that we may watch with Christ, and rest in peace.

℣. Dignare, Domine, nocte ista.

℣. Vouchsafe, O Lord, this night.

℟. Sine peccato nos custodire.

℟. To keep us without sin.

℣. Miserere nostri, Domine.

℣. Have mercy on us, O Lord.

℟. Miserere nostri.

℟. Have mercy on us.

℣. Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos.

℣. Let thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us.

℟. Quemadmodum speravimus in te.

℟. As we have hoped in thee.

℣. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.

℣. O Lord, hear my prayer.

℟. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.

℟. And let my cry come unto thee.

Oremus.

Let Us Pray.

Visita, quæsumus, Domine, habitationem istam, et omnes insidias inimici ab ea longe repelle: angeli tui sancti habitent in ea, qui nos in pace custodiant, et benedictio tua sit super nos semper. Per Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

Visit, we beseech thee, O Lord, this house and family, and drive from it all snares of the enemy: let thy holy angels dwell herein, who may keep us in peace, and may thy blessing be always upon us. Through Jesus Christ our Lord, thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.

And that you may end the day in the same sentiments with which you began it, repeat your prayer for the coming of the Savior:

℣. Rorate, cœli desuper, et nubes pluant Justum.

℣. Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.

℟. Aperiatur terra et germinet Salvatorem.

℟. Let the earth be opened, and bud forth the Savior.

To which add one of the four prayers for Advent, taking the one which belongs to the week (as above), and then retire to rest in the expectation of Him who is to come in the midnight.

On Hearing Mass During the Time of Advent

There is no exercise which is more pleasing to God, or more meritorious, or which has greater influence in infusing solid piety into the soul, than the assisting as the holy sacrifice of the Mass. If this be true at all the various seasons of the Christian year, it is so, in a very special manner, during the holy time of Advent. The faithful, therefore, should make every effort in order to enjoy this precious blessing, even on those days when they are not obliged to it by the precept of the Church.

With what gratitude ought they to assist at that divine sacrifice, for which the world had been longing for four thousand years! God has granted them to be born after the fulfilment of that stupendous and merciful oblation, and would not put them in the generations of men who died before they could partake of its reality and its riches! This notwithstanding, they must earnestly unite with the Church in praying for the coming of the Redeemer, so to pay their share of that great debt which God has put upon all, whether living before or after the fulfilment of the mystery of the Incarnation. Let them think of this in assisting at the holy sacrifice.

Let them also remember that this great sacrifice, which perpetuates on this earth even to the end of time, though in an unbloody manner, the real oblation of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, has this for its express aim: to prepare the souls of the faithful for the mysterious coming of God, who redeemed our souls only that He might take possession of them. It not only prepares, it even effects this glorious advent.

Let them, in the third place, lovingly profit by the presence of, and intimacy with, Jesus, to which this hidden yet saving mystery admits them; that so, when He comes in that other way, whereby He will judge the world in terrible majesty, He may recognize them as His friends, and even then, when mercy shall give place to justice, again save them.

We shall now endeavor to embody these sentiments in our explanation of the mysteries of the holy Mass, and initiate the faithful into these divine secrets; not, indeed, by indiscreetly presuming to translate the sacred formulæ, but by suggesting such acts, as will enable those who hear Mass to enter into the ceremonies and sentiments of the Church and of the priest.

The faithful, in assisting at Mass during Advent, should first know whether it is going to be said according to the Advent rite, or in honor of the blessed Virgin, or of a saint, or, finally, for the dead. The color of the vestments worn by the priest will tell them all this. Purple is used, if the Mass be of Advent; white or red, if of our Lady or the saints; and black, if for the dead. If the priest be vested in purple, the faithful must excite within themselves the spirit of penance which the Church would signify by this color. They should do the same, no matter what may be the color of the vestments; for in every Mass during Advent, with the exception of Masses for the dead, the priest is obliged, even on the greatest feasts, to make a commemoration of Advent three separate times, and thus to make use of the same expressions of repentance and sorrow as he would in a Mass proper to the time of Advent.

On the Sundays, if the Mass at which they assist be the parochial, or, as it is often called, the public Mass, two solemn rites precede it, which are full of instruction and blessing: the Asperges, or sprinkling of the holy water, and the procession.

During the Asperges, let them ask for that purity of heart, which is necessary for having a share in the twofold coming of Jesus Christ; and in receiving the holy water, the sprinkling of which prepares us for assisting worthily at the great sacrifice, wherein is poured forth, not a figurative water, but the very Blood of the Lamb, they should think of that baptism of water, by means of which St. John the Baptist prepared the Jews for that other Baptism, which the power and mercy of the Redeemer were afterwards to give to mankind.

Antiphon of the Asperges

Asperges me, Domine, hyssopo, et mundabor; lavabis me, et super nivem dealbabor.

Thou shalt sprinkle me with hyssop, O Lord, and I shall be cleansed; thou shalt wash me, and I shall be made whiter than snow.

Ps. Miserere mei, Deus, secundum magnam misericordiam tuam.

Ps. Have mercy on me, O God, according to thy great mercy.

℣. Gloria Patri, &c.

℣. Glory, &c.

Ant. Asperges me, &c.

Ant. Thou shalt sprinkle me, &c.

℣. Ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam.

℣. Show us, O Lord, thy mercy.

℟. Et salutare tuum da nobis.

℟. And grant us the Savior, whom we expect from thee.

℣. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.

℣. O Lord, hear my prayer.

℟. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.

℟. And let my cry come unto thee.

℣. Dominus vobiscum.

℣. The Lord be with you.

℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.

℟. And with thy spirit.

Oremus.

Let Us Pray.

Exaudi nos, Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus: et mittere digneris sanctum angelum tuum de cœlis, qui custodiat, foveat, protegat, visitet atque defendat omnes habitantes in hoc habitaculo. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.

Graciously hear us, O holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God: and vouchsafe to send thy holy angel from heaven, who may keep, cherish, protect, visit, and defend all who are assembled in this place. Through Christ our Lord.

℟. Amen.

℟. Amen.

The procession, which immediately precedes the Mass, should remind us how we ought to be standing with lamps burning in our hands, ready to go out and meet our Lord, who is coming. The Church is ever advancing towards her Spouse in an unbroken procession, and our souls should be ever hastening towards their sovereign Good, never resting until they have found Him.

But see, Christians, the sacrifice begins! The priest is at the foot of the altar; God is attentive, the angels are in adoration, the whole Church is united with the priest, whose priesthood and action are those of the great High Priest, Jesus Christ. Let us make the sign of the cross with him.

The Ordinary of the Mass

In nome Patris et Filii et Spiritus sancti. Amen.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

℣. Introibo ad altare Dei.

℟. Ad Deum qui lætificat juventutem meam.

I unite myself, O my God, with thy Church, who comes to seek consolation in Jesus Christ thy Son, who is the true altar.

Judica me, Deus, et discerne causam meam de gente non sancta: ab homine iniquo et doloso erue me.

Like her, I beseech thee to defend me against the malice of the enemies of my salvation.

Quia tu es, Deus, fortitudo mea: quare me repulisti? et quare tristis incedo, dum affligit me inimicus?

It is in thee that I have put my hope; yet do I feel sad and troubled at being in the midst of the snares which are set for me.

Emitte lucem tuam et veritatem tuam: ipsa me deduxerunt et adduxerunt in montem sanctum tuum, et in tabernacula tua.

Send me, then, him who is light and truth; it is he who will open to us the way to thy holy mount, to thy heavenly tabernacle.

Et introibo ad altare Dei: ad Deum qui lætificat juventutem meam.

He is the Mediator and the living altar; I will draw nigh to him, and be filled with joy.

Confitebor tibi in cithara Deus, Deus meus: quare tristis es anima mea? et quare conturbas me?

When he shall have come, I will sing in my gladness. Be not sad, O my soul! why wouldst thou be troubled?

Spera in Deo, quoniam adhuc confitebor illi: salutare vultus mei, et Deus meus.

Hope in his coming: he who is thy Savior an;d thy God, will soon be with me.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui sancto.

Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.

Sicut erat in principio, et nunc et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

℣. Introibo ad altare Dei.

℟. Ad Deum qui lætificat juventutem meam.

I am to go to the altar of God, and feel the presence of him who consoles me!

℣. Adjutorium nostrum in nomine Domini.

℟. Qui fecit cœlum et terram.

This my hope comes not from any merits of my own, but from the all-powerful help of my Creator.

This announcement of the coming of our Lord, excites in the soul of the priest a lively sentiment of compunction. He cannot go farther in the holy sacrifice without confessing, and publicly, that he is a sinner, and deserves not the grace he is about to receive. Listen, with respect, to this confession of God’s minister, and earnestly ask our Lord to show mercy to him; for the priest is your father; he is answerable for your salvation, for which he every day risks his own. When he has finished, unite with the servers, or the sacred ministers, in this prayer:

Misereatur tui omniptens Deus, et dimissis peccatis tuis, perducat te ad vitam æternam.

My almighty God have mercy on thee, and, forgiving thy sins, bring thee to everlasting life.

The priest having answered Amen, make your confession, saying with a contrite spirit:

Confiteor Deo omnipotenti, beatæ Mariæ semper Virgini, beato Michæli Archangelo, beato Ioanni Baptistæ, sanctis Apostolis Petro et Paulo, et omnibus Sanctis, quia peccavi nimis cogitatione, verbo et opere: mea culpa, mea culpa, mea maxima culpa. Ideo precor beatam Mariam semper Virginem, beatum Michælem Archangelum, beatum Ioannem Baptistam, sanctos Apostolos Petrum et Paulum, et omnes Sanctos, orare pro me ad Dominum Deum nostrum.

I confess to almighty God, to blessed Mary ever Virgin, to blessed Michael the Archangel, to blessed John the Baptist, to the holy apostles Peter and Paul, and to all the saints that I have sinned exceedingly in thought, word, and deed: through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault. Therefore, I beseech blessed Mary ever Virgin, blessed Michael the Archangel, blessed John the Baptist, the holy apostles Peter and Paul, and all the saints, to pray for me to the Lord our God.

Receive with gratitude the paternal wish of the priest, who says to you:

Misereatur vestri omnipotens Deus, et dimissis peccatis vestris, perducat vos ad vitam æternam.

May almighty God be merciful to you, and, forgiving your sins, bring you to life everlasting.

℟. Amen.

℟. Amen.

Indulgentiam, absolutionem, et remissionem peccatorum nostrorum tribuat nobis omnipotens et misericors Dominus.

May the almighty and merciful Lord grant us pardon, absolution, and remission of our sins.

℟. Amen.

℟. Amen.

Invoke the divine assistance, that you may approach to Jesus Christ.

℣. Deus, tu conversus vivificabis nos.

℣. O God, it needs but one look of thine to give us life.

℟. Et plebs tua lætabitur in te.

℟. And thy people shall rejoice in thee.

℣. Ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam.

℣. Show us, O Lord, thy mercy.

℟. Et salutare tuum da nobis.

℟. And give us the Savior whom thou hast prepared for us.

℣. Domine, exaudi orationem meam.

℣. O Lord, hear my prayer.

℟. Et clamor meus ad te veniat.

℟. And let my cry come unto thee.

The priest here leaves you to ascend to the altar; but first he salutes you:

℣. Dominus vobiscum.

℣. The Lord be with you.

Answer him with reverence:

℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.

℟. And with thy spirit.

Oremus.

Let Us Pray.

He ascends the steps, and comes to the Holy of holies. Ask, both for him and for yourself, deliverance from sin.

Aufer a nobis, quæsumus Domine, iniquitates nostras; ut ad Sancta sanctorum puris mereamur mentibus introire. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Take from our hearts, O Lord, all those sins, which makes us unworthy of thy visit; we ask this of thee by thy divine Son our Lord.

When the priest kisses the altar, out of reverence for the relics of the martyrs which are there, say:

Oramus te, Domine, per merita sanctorum tuorum quorum reliquiæ hic sunt, et omnium sanctorum: ut indulgere digneris omnia peccata mea. Amen.

Generous soldiers of Jesus Christ, who have mingled your own blood with his, intercede for us that our sins may be forgiven; that so we may, like you, approach unto God.

If it be a High Mass at which you are assisting, the priest here blesses the incense, saying:

Ab illo benedicaris, in cujus honore cremaberis. Amen.

Mayst thou be blessed by him in whose honor thou art to be burned. Amen.

He then censes the altar in a most solemn manner. This white cloud, which you see ascending from every part of the altar, signifies the prayer of the Church who addresses herself to Jesus Christ; while the divine mediator causes that prayer to ascend, united with His own, to the throne of the majesty of His Father.

The priest then says the Introit. In the Masses proper to Advent, it is a cry made to the Messias, which has so much the greater power with God as it goes up to Him from the holy altar.

It is followed by nine exclamations, which are even more earnest, for they ask for mercy. In addressing them to God, the Church unites herself with the nine choirs of angels, who are standing round the altar of heaven, one and the same as this before which you are kneeling.

To the Father, who is to send us His Son:
Kyrie eleison.
Kyrie eleison.
Kyrie eleison.
Lord, have mercy on us!
Lord, have mercy on us!
Lord, have mercy on us!
To the Son, who is to come to us:
Christe eleison.
Christe eleison.
Christe eleison.
Christ, have mercy on us!
Christ, have mercy on us!
Christ, have mercy on us!
To the Holy Ghost, whose operation is to accomplish the mystery:
Kyrie eleison.
Kyrie eleison.
Kyrie eleison.
Lord, have mercy on us!
Lord, have mercy on us!
Lord, have mercy on us!

If it be a feast, the priest says the angelic hymn, which the Church has made her own ever since the birth of our Savior: if the Mass be proper to Advent, the church forbids the joyous canticle until the new birth of her Spouse again comes to gladden her.

The Angelic Hymn

Gloria in excelsis Deo, et in terra pax hominibus bonæ voluntatis.

Glory be to God on high, and on earth peace to men of good will.

Laudamus te: benedicimus te: adoramus te: glorificamus te: gratias agimus tibi propter magnam gloriam tuam.

We praise thee: we bless thee: we adore thee: we glorify thee: we give thee thanks for thy great glory.

Domine Deus, Rex cœlestis, Deus Pater omnipotens.

O Lord God, heavenly King, God the Father almighty.

Domine, Fili unigenite, Jesu Christe.

O Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son.

Domine Deus, Agnus Dei, Filius Patris.

O Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father.

Qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.

Who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Qui tollis teccata mundi, suscipe deprecationem nostram.

Who takest away the sins of the world, receive our humble prayer.

Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris, miserere nobis.

Who sittest at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us.

Quoniam tu solus sanctus, tu solus Dominus, tu solus altissimus, Jesu Christe, cum sancto Spiritu, in gloria Dei Patris. Amen.

For thou alone art holy, thou alone art Lord, thou alone, O Jesus Christ, together with the Holy Ghost, art most high, in the glory of God the Father. Amen.

The priest turns towards the people, and again salutes them, as it were to make sure of their pious attention to the sublime act, for which all this is but the preparation. The words of this greeting are especially beautiful during the weeks of Advent: “The Lord be with you!” Isaias had foretold that it would indeed be verified, and the angel confirms the prophecy to Saint Joseph, when he thus says to him: “He shall be called Emmanuel,” that is, God with us.

The follows the Collect or Prayer, in which the Church formally expresses to the divine Majesty the special intentions she has in the Mass which is being celebrated. You may unite in this prayer, by reciting with the priest the collects which you will find in their proper places: but on no account omit to join with the server of the Mass in answering Amen.

Then follows the Epistle, which is generally a portion of one or other of the Epistles of the apostles, or a passage from some Book of the Old Testament. Listen to this word of God’s messengers with respect and submission, and long for Him who is the eternal Word, and who is soon to be born among men and converse with them.

The Gradual is an intermediate formula of prayer between the Epistle and Gospel. It again brings to our attention the sentiments which were expressed in the Introit. Read it with devotion, so as to get more and more into the spirit of preparation for the coming of your Savior.

The Alleluia is like a thrill of joy, which seizes the soul of the Church, and makes her exult, as she reflects that she already possesses the Spouse, of whom she is in expectation; but this is only for a moment: she resumes her attitude of a suppliant, asking Him to come, for she feels that she needs His new coming.

Until the happy hour when He will come in person, He comes to us by His words, which are spirit and life. The Gospel is about to be read aloud in the assembly of the faithful: “the poor are to have the Gospel preached unto them.” If it be a High Mass, the deacon prepares to fulfil his noble office, that of announcing the good tidings of salvation. He prays God to cleanse his heart and lips. Then kneeling, he asks the priest’s blessing; and having received it, he at once goes to the place where he is to sing the Gospel.

As a preparation for hearing it worthily, you may thus pray, together with the priest and deacon:

Munda cor meum, ac labia mea, omnipotens Deus, qui labia Isaiæ prophetæ calculo mundasti ignito: ita me tua grata miseratione dignare mundare, ut sanctum Evangelium tuum digne valeam nuntiare. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Alas! these ears of mine are but too often defiled with the world’s vain words; cleanse them, O Lord, that so I may hear the words of eternal life, and treasure them in my heart. Through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

Dominus sit in corde meo, et in labiis meis: ut digne et competenter annuntiem Evangelium suum: In nomine Patris, et Filii, et Spiritus sancti. Amen.

Grant to thy ministers thy grace, that they may faithfully explain thy law; that so all, both pastors and flock, may be united to thee for ever. Amen.

You will stand during the Gospel, as though you were awaiting the orders of your Lord; at the commencement, make the sign of the cross on your forehead, lips, and breast; and then listen to every word of the priest or deacon. Let your heart be ready and obedient. “While my Beloved was speaking,” says the bride in the Canticle, “my soul melted within me.” If you have not such love as this, have at least the humble submission of Samuel, and say: “Speak, Lord! Thy servant heareth.”

After the Gospel, if the priest says the Symbol of faith, the Credo, you will say it with him. Faith is that gift of God, without which we cannot please Him. It is by it that we are now looking for the coming of our Redeemer, whom as yet we do not see; and it is faith which will merit for us the grace of His ineffable visit. Faith is the mark of those true Israelites, who are looking for the Messias and will find Him. Let us then say with the Catholic Church, our mother:

The Nicene Creed

Credo in unum Deum, Patrem omnipotentem, factorem cœli et terræ, visibilium omnium et invisibilium.

I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.

Et in unum Dominum Jesum Christum, Filium Dei unigenitum. Et ex Patre natum ante omnia sæcula, Deum de Deo, lumen de lumine, Deum verum de Deo vero. Genitum non factum, consubstantialem Patri: per quem omnia facta sunt. Qui propter nos homines, et propter nostram salutem, descendit de dœlis. Et incarnatus est de Spiritu sancto, et homo factus est. Crucifixus etiam pro nobis sub Pontio Pilato, passus, et sepultus est. Et resurrexit tertia die, secundum Scripturas. Et ascendit in cœlum; sedet ad dexteram Patris. Et iterum venturus est cum gloria judicare vivos et mortuos; cujus regni non erit finis.

And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God. Andd born of the Father before all ages: God of God, light of light; true God of true God. Begotten, not made; consubstantial with the Father: by whom all things were made. Who for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven. And became Incarnate by the Holy Ghost, of the Virgin Mary; and was made man. He was crucified also for us, under Pontius Pilate, suffered, and was buried. And the third day he rose again according to the Scriptures. And ascended into heaven, sitteth at the right hand of the Father. And he is to come again with glory, to judge the living and the dead: of whose kingdom there shall be no end.

Et in Spiritum sanctum, Dominum et vivificantem, qui ex Patre Filioque procedit. Qui cum Patre et Filio simul adoratur, et conglorificatur; qui locutus est per prophetas. Et unam sanctam Catholicam et apostolicam Ecclesiam. Confiteor unum Baptisma in remissionem peccatorum. Et exspecto resurrectionem mortuorum, et vitam venturi sæculi. Amen.

And in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and giver of life, who proceedeth from the Father and the Son. Who, together with the Father and the Son, is adored and glorified; who spoke by the prophets. And one holy Catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the remission of sins. And I expect the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

The priest and the people should, by this time, have their hearts ready: it is time to prepare the offering itself.And here we come to the second part of the holy Mass: it is called the Oblation, and immediately follows that which was named the Mass of Catechumens, on account of its being formerly the only part at which the candidates for Baptism had a right to be present.

See, then, dear Christians! bread and wine are about to be offered to God, as being the noblest of inanimate creatures, since they are made for the nourishment of man; and even that is only a poor material image of what they are destined to become in our Christian sacrifice. Their substance will soon give place to God Himself, and of themselves nothing will remain but the appearances. Happy creatures, thus to yield up their own being, that God may take its place! We, too, are to undergo a like transformation, when, as the apostle expresses it, that which in us is mortal shall put on immortality. Until that happy change shall be realized, let us offer ourselves to God as often as we see the bread and wine presented to Him in the holy sacrifice; and let us prepare ourselves for the coming of Jesus, who will transform us, by making us partakers of the divine nature.

The priest again turns to the people with the usual salutation, as though he would warn them to redouble their attention. Let us read the Offertory with him, and when he offers the Host to God, let us unite with him in saying:

Suscipe, sancte Pater, omnipotens æterne Deus, hanc immaculatam hostiam, quam ego indignus famulus tuus offero tibi Deo meo vivo et vero, pro innumerabilibus peccatis et offensionibus et negligentiis meis, et pro omnibus circumstantibus, sed et pro omnibus fidelibus christianis vivis atque defunctis; ut mihi et illis proficiat ad salutem in vitam æternam. Amen.

All that we have, O Lord, comes from thee, and belongs to thee: it is just, therefore, that we return it unto thee. But how wonderful art thou in the inventions of thy immense love! This bread which we are offering to thee, is to give place, in a few moments, to the sacred Body of Jesus. We beseech thee, receive, together with this oblation, our hearts, which long to live by thee, and to cease to live their own life of self.

When the priest puts the wine into the chalice, and then mingles with it a drop of water, let your thoughts turn to the divine mystery of the Incarnation, which in a few days is to be manifested to the world; and say:

Deus qui humanæ substantiæ dignitatem mirabiliter condidisti, et mirabilius reformasti: da nobis per hujus aquæ et vini mysterium, ejus divinitatis esse consortes, qui humanitatis nostræ fieri dignatus est particeps, Jesus Christus Filius tuus Dominus noster: qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

O Lord Jesus, who art the true vine, and whose Blood, like a generous wine, has been poured forth under the pressure of the cross! thou hast deigned to unite thy divine nature to our weak humanity, which is signified by this drop of water. Oh! come, and make us partakers of thy divinity, by showing thyself to us in thy sweet and wondrous visit.

The priest then offers the mixture of wine and water, beseeching God graciously to accept this oblation, which is so soon to be changed into the reality, of which it is now but the figure. Meanwhile, say, in union with the priest:

Offerimus tibi, Domine, calicem salutaris, tuam deprecantes clementiam: ut in conspectu divinæ majestatis tuæ, pro nostra et totius mundi salute, cum odore suavitatis ascendat. Amen.

Graciously accept these gifts, O sovereign Creator of all things. Let them be fitted for the divine transformation, which will make them, from being mere offerings of created things, the instrument of the world’s salvation.

After having thus held up the sacred gifts towards heaven, the priest bows down: let us, also, humble ourselves, and say:

In spiritu humilitatis, et in animo contrito suscipiamur a te, Domine; et sic fiat sacrificium nostrum in conspectu tuo hodie, ut placeat tibi, Domine Deus.

Though daring, as we do, to approach thy altar, O Lord, we cannot forget that we are sinners. Have mercy on us, and delay not to send us thy Son, who is our saving Host.

Let us next invoke the Holy Ghost, whose operation is about to produce on the altar the presence of the son of God, as it did in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary, in the divine mystery of the Incarnation:

Veni, Sanctificator, omnipotens æterne Deus, et benedic hoc sacrificium tuo sancto nomini præparatum.

Come, O divine Spirit, make fruitful the offering which is upon the altar, and produce in our hearts him whom they desire.

If it be a High Mass, the priest, before proceeding further with the sacrifice, takes the thurible a second time, after blessing the incense in these words:

Per intercessionem beati Michælis archangeli, stantis a dextris altaris incensi, et omnium electorum suorum, incensum istud dignetur Dominus benedicere, et in odorem suavitatis accipere. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Through the intercession of blessed Michael the archangel, standing at the right hand of the altar of incense, and of all his elect, may our Lord deign to bless this incense, and to receive it for an odor of sweetness. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

He then censes first the bread and wine, which have just been offered, and then the altar itself; hereby inviting the faithful to make their prayer, which is signified by the fragrant incense, more and more fervent, the nearer the solemn moment approaches. St. John tells us that the incense he beheld burning on the altar in heaven is made up of the “prayers of the saints;” let us take a share in those prayers, and with all the ardor of holy desires, let us say with the priest:

Incensum istud, a te benedictum, ascendat ad te, Domine, et descendat super nos misericordia tua.

May this incense, blessed by thee, ascend to thee, O Lord, and may thy mercy descent upon us.

Dirigatur, Domine, oratio mea sicut incensum in conspectu tuo: elevatio manuum mearum sacrificium vespertinum. Pone, Domine, custodiam ori meo, et ostium circumstantiæ labiis meis; ut non declinet cor meum in verba malitiæ, ad excusandas excusationes in peccatis.

Let my prayer, O Lord, be directed like incense in thy sight: the lifting up of my hands as an evening sacrifice. Set a watch, O Lord, before my mouth, and a door round about my lips; that my heart may not incline to evil words, to make excuses in sins.

Giving back the thurible to the deacon, the priest says:

Accendat in nobis Dominus ignem sui amoris, et flammam æternæ charitatis. Amen.

May the Lord enkindle in us the fire of his love and the flame of eternal charity. Amen.

But the thought of his own unworthiness becomes more intense than ever in the heart of the priest. The public confession which he made at the foot of the altar is not enough; he would now at the altar itself express to the people, in the language of a solemn rite, how far he knows himself to be from that spotless sanctity, wherewith he should approach to God. He washes his hands. Our hands signify our works; and the priest, though by his priesthood he bears the office of Jesus Christ, is, by his works, but man. Seeing your father thus humble himself, do you also make an act of humility, and say with him these verses of the psalm:

Psalm 25

Lavabo inter innocentes manus meas: et circumdabo altare tuum, Domine.

Ut audiam vocem laudis: et enarrem universa mirabilia tua.

Domine, dilexi decorem domus tuæ, et locum habitationis gloriæ tuæ.

Ne perdas cum impiis, Deus, animam meam, et cum viris sanguinum vitam meam.

In quorum manibus iniquitates sunt: dextera eorum repleta est muneribus.

Ego autem in innocentia mea ingressus sum: redime me, et miserere mei.

Pes meus stetit in directo: in ecclesiis benedicam te, Domine.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui sancto.

Sicut erat in principio, et nunc et semper, et in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

I, too, would wash my hands, O Lord, and become like unto those who are innocent, that so I may be worthy to come near thy altar, and hear thy sacred canticles, and then go and proclaim to the world the wonders of thy goodness. I love the beauty of thy house, which thou art about to make the dwelling-place of thy glory. Leave me not, O God, in the midst of them that are enemies both to thee and to me. Thy mercy having separated me from them, I entered on the path of innocence, and was restored to thy grace; but have pity on my weakness still: redeem me yet more, thou who hast so mercifully brought me back to the right path. In the midst of these thy faithful people, I give thee thanks. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

The priest, taking encouragement from the act of humility he has just made, returns to the middle of the altar, and bows down full of respectful awe, begging of God to receive graciously the sacrifice which is about to be offered to Him, and expresses the intentions for which it is offered. Let us do the same.

Suscipe, sancta Trinitas, hanc oblationem, quam tibi offerimus ob memoriam Passionis, Resurrectionis, et Ascensionis Jesu Christi Domini nostri: et in honorem beatæ Mariæ semper Virginis, et beati Joannis Baptistæ, et sanctorum apostolorum Petri et Pauli, et istorum, et omnium sanctorum: ut illis proficiat ad honorem, nobis autem ad salutem: et illi pro nobis intercedere dignentur in cœlis quorum memoriam agimus in terris. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

O holy Trinity, graciously accept the sacrifice we have begun. We offer it in remembrance of the Passion, Resurrection, and Ascension of our Lord Jesus Christ. Permit thy Church to join with this intention that of honoring the ever glorious Virgin Mary, the blessed Baptist John, the holy apostles Peter and Paul, the martyrs whose relics lie here under our altar awaiting their resurrection, and the saints whose memory we this day celebrate. Increase the glory they are enjoying, and receive the prayers they address to thee for us.

The priest again turns to the people; it is for the last time before the sacred mysteries are accomplished. He feels anxious to excite the fervor of the people. Neither does the thought of his own unworthiness leave him; and before entering the cloud with the Lord, he seeks support in the prayers of his brethren who are present. He says to them:

Orate, fratres: ut meum ac vestrum sacrificium acceptabile fiat apud Deum Patrem omnipotentem.

Brethre, pray that my sacrifice, which is yours also, may be acceptable to God, our almighty Father.

With request he turns again to the altar, and you will see his face no more, until our Lord Himself shall have come down from heaven upon that same altar. Assure the priest that he has your prayers, and say to him:

Suscipiat Dominus sacrificium de manibus tuis, ad laudem et gloriam nominis sui, ad utilitatem quoque nostram totiusque Ecclesiæ suæ sanctæ.

May our Lord accept this sacrifice at thy hands, to the praise and glory of his name, and for our benefit and that of his holy Church throughout the world.

Here the priest recites the prayers called the Secrets, in which he presents the petition of the whole Church for God’s acceptance of the sacrifice, and then immediately begins to fulfill that great duty of religion, thanksgiving. So far he has adored God, and has sued for mercy; he has still to give thanks for the blessings bestowed on us by the bounty of our heavenly Father, and expressly for that chiefest of all His gifts, the Messias. We are in the season of expectation of a new visit of this Son of God; the priest, in the name of the Church, is about to give expression to the gratitude of all mankind. In order to excite the faithful to that intensity of gratitude which is due to God for all His gifts, he interrupts his own and their silent prayer by terminating it aloud, saying:

Per omnia sæcula sæculorum!

For ever and ever!

In the same feeling answer your Amen! Then he continues:

℣. Dominus vobiscum.

℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.

℣. Sursum corda.

℣. The Lord be with you.

℟. And with thy spirit.

℣. Lift up your hearts!

Let your response be sincere:

℟. Habemus ad Dominum.

℟. We have them fixed on God.

And when he adds:

℣. Gratias agamus Domino Deo nostro.

℣. Let us give thanks to the Lord our God.

Answer him with all the earnestness of your soul:

℟. Dignum et justum est.

℟. It is meet and just.

Then the priest:
The Preface
(For the Sundays)

Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare, nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere, Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus. Qui cum unigenito Filio tuo et Spiritu sancto unus es Deus, unus es Dominus: non in unius singularitate Personæ, sed in unius Trinitate substantiæ. Quod enim de tua gloria, revelante te, credimus, hoc de Filio tuo, hoc de Spiritu sancto, sine differentia discretionis sentimus. Ut in confessione veræ, sempiternæque Deitatis, et in Personis proprietas, et in essentia unitas, et in majestate adoretur æqualitas. Quam laudant Angeli atque Archangeli, Cherubum quoque ac Seraphim; qui non cessant clamary quotidie, una voce dicentes, Sanctus, &c.

It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should always and in all places give thanks to thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God, who together with thy only-begotten Son and the Holy Ghost art one God and one Lord: not in the singularity of one Person, but in the Trinity of one substance. For what we believe of thy glory, as thou hast revealed, the same we believe of thy Son and of the Holy Ghost, without any difference or distinction. So that in the confession of the true and eternal Deity, we adore a distinction in the Persons, a unity in the essence, and an equality in the Majesty. Whom the Angels and Archangels, the Cherubim also and Seraphim praise, and cease not daily to cry out with one voice, saying, Holy, &c.

The Preface
(For the Weekdays)

Vere dignum et justum est, æquumet salutare, nos tibi semper et ubique gratias agere: Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, æterne Deus, per Christum Dominum nostrum; per quem majestatem tuam laudant Angeli, adorant Dominationes, tremunt Potestates, Cœli, cœlorumque Virtutes, ac beata Seraphim, socia exultatione concelebrant. Cum quibus et nostras voces, ut admitti jubeas deprecamur, supplici confessione dicentes.

It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should always and in all places give thanks to thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, eternal God: through Christ our Lord; by whom the Angels praise thy majesty, the Dominations adore it, the Powers tremble before it; the Heavens and the heavenly Virtues, and the blessed Seraphim, with common jubilee, glorify it. Together with whom, we beseech thee that we may be admitted to join our humble voices, saying:

Here unite with the priest, who, on his part, unites himself with the blessed spirits, in giving thanks to God for the unspeakable gift. Bow down and say:

Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus, Dominus Deus sabaoth!

Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of hosts!

Pleni sunt cœli et terra gloria tua.

Heaven and earth are full of thy glory.

Hosanna in excelsis!

Hosanna in the highest!

Benedictus qui venit in nomine Domini.

Blessed be the Savior who is coming to us in the name of the Lord who sends him.

Hosanna in excelsis!

Hosanna be to him in the highest!

After these words commences the Canon, that mysterious prayer in the midst of which heaven bows down to earth, and God descends unto us. The voice of the priest is no longer heard; yea, even at the altar, all is silence. It was thus, says the Book of Wisdom, in the quiet of silence, and while the night was in the midst of her course, that the almighty Word came down from His royal throne. Let us await Him in a like silence, and respectfully fix our eyes on what the priest does in the holy place.

The Canon of the Mass

In this mysterious colloquy with the great God of heaven and earth, the first prayer of the sacrificing priest is for the Catholic Church, his and our mother.

Te igitur, clementissime Pater, per Jesum Christum Filium tuum Dominum nostrum, supplices rogamus ac petimus, uti accepta habeas, et benedicas hæc dona, hæc munera, hæc sancta sacrificia illibata, in primis quæ tibi offerimus pro Ecclesia tua sancta Catholica: quam pacificare, custodire, adunare, et regere digneris, toto orbe terrarum, una cum famulo tuo Papa nostro N., et antistite nostro N., et omnibus orthodoxis, atque catholicæ et apostolicæ fidei cultoribus.

O God, who manifestest thyself unto us by means of the mysteries which thou hast entrusted to thy holy Church, our mother; we beseech thee, by the merits of this sacrifice, that thou wouldst remove all those hindrances which oppose her during her pilgrimage in this world. Give her peace and unity. Do thou thyself guide our holy Father the Pope, thy vicar on earth. Direct thou our bishop, who is our sacred link of unity; and watch over all the orthodox children of the Catholic apostolic Roman Church.

Here pray, together with the priest, for those whose interests should be dearest to you.

Memento, Domine, famulorum famularumque tuarum N. et N., et omnium circumstantium, quorum tibi fides cognita est, et nota devotio; pro quibus tibi offerimus, vel qui tibi offerunt hoc sacrificium laudis, pro se, suisque omnibus, pro redemptione animarum suarum, pro spe salutis et incolumitatis suæ; tibique reddunt vota sua æterno Deo, vivo et vero.

Permit me, O God, to intercede with thee in more earnest prayer for those, for whom thou knowest that I have a special obligation to pray: … Pour down thy blessings upon them. Let them partake of the fruits of this divine sacrifice, which is offered unto thee in the name of all mankind. Visit them by thy grace, pardon them their sins, grant them the blessings of this present life and of that which is eternal.

Here let us commemorate the saints: they are that portion of the body of Jesus Christ, which is called the Church triumphant.

Communicantes, et memoriam venerantes, in primis gloriosæ semper Virginis Mariæ, Genitricis Dei et Domini nostri Jesu Christi: sed et beatorum apostolorum ac martyrum tuorum, Petri et Pauli, Andreæ, Jacobi, Joannis, Thomæ, Jacobi, Philippi, Bartholomæi, Matthæi, Simonis, et Thaddæi: Lini, Cleti,Clementis, Xysti, Cornelii, Cypriani, Laurentii, Chrysogoni, Joannis et Pauli, Cosmæ et Damiani, et omnium sanctorum tuorum, quorum meritis precibusque concedas, ut in omnibus protectionis tuæ muniamur auxilio. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

But the offering of this sacrifice, O my God, does not unite us with those only of our brethren who are still i nthis transient life of trial: it brings us closer to those also, who are already in possession of heaven. Therefore it is, that we wish to honor by it the memory of the glorious and ever Virgin Mary; of the apostles, confessors, virgins and of all the saints; that so they may assist us, by their powerful intercession, to become worthy to contemplate thee, as they now do, in the mansions of thy glory.

The priest, who up to this time has been praying with his hands extended, now joins them, and holds them over the bread and wine, as the high-priest of the old Law did over the figurative victim: he thus expresses his intention of bringing these gifts more closely under the notice of the divine Majesty, and of marking them as the material offering whereby we profess our dependence, and which, in a few instants, is to yield its place to the living Host, upon whom all our iniquities are to be laid.

Hanc igitur oblationem servitutis nostræ, sed et cunctæ familiæ tuæ, quæsumus, Domine, ut placatus accipias: diesque nostros in tua pace disponas, atque ab æterna damnatione nos eripi, et in electorum tuorum jubeas grege numerari. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Vouchsafe, O God, to accept this offering which this thy assembled family presents to thee as the homage of its most happy servitude. In return, give us peace, save us from thy wrath, and number amongst thy elect, through him who is coming to us, thy Son our Savior.

Quam oblationem tu Deus in omnibus quæsumus, benedictam, adscriptam, ratam, rationabilem, acceptabilemque facere digneris; ut nobis Corpus et Sanguis fiat dilectissimi Filii tui Domini nostri Jesu Christi.

Yea, Lord, this is the moment when this bread is to become his sacred Body, which is our food; and this wine is to be changed into his Blood, which is our drink. Ah! delay no longer, but send to us this divine Son our Savior.

And here the priest ceases to act as man; he now becomes more than a mere minister of the Church. His word becomes that of Jesus Christ, with all its power and efficacy. Prostrate yourself in profound adoration; for the Emmanuel, the “God with us,” is coming down from heaven.

Qui pridie quam pateretur, accepit panem in sanctas ac venerabiles manus suas: et elevatis oculis in cœlum, ad te Deum Patrem suum omnipotentem, tibi gratias agens, benedixit, fregit, deditque discipulus suis, dicens: Accipite, et manducate ex hoc omnes. Hoc est enim Corpus meum.

What, O God of heaven and earth, jy Jesus, the long-expected Messias, what else can I do at this solemn moment, but adore thee, in silence, as my sovereign Master, and open my whole heart to thee, as to its dearest King! Come, then, Lord Jesus, come!

The divine Lamb is now upon our altar. Glory and love be to Him forever! But He has come that He may be immolated; for which reason the priest, who is the minister of the will of the Most High, immediately pronounces over the chalice those sacred words which will produce the great mystical immolation by the separation of the Victim’s Body and Blood. The substance of the bread and wine have ceased to exist: the species alone are left, veiling, as it were, the Body and Blood, lest fear should keep us from a mystery, which God gives us in order to give us confidence. Let us associate ourselves to the angels, who tremblingly look upon this deepest wonder.

Simili modo postquam cœnatum est, accipiens et hunc præclarum Calicem in sanctas ac venerabiles manus suas: item tibi gratias agens, benedixit, deditque discipulis suis dicens: Accipite et bibite ex eo omnes. Hic est enim Calix Sanguinis mei, novi et æterni testamenti: mysterium fidei: qui pro vibis et pro multis effundetur in remissionem peccatorum. Hæc quotiescumque feceritis, in mei memoriam facietis.

O precious Blood! thou price of my salvation! I adore thee! Wash away my sins and give me a purity above the whiteness of snow. Lamb ever slain, yet ever living, thou comest to take away the sins of the world! Come also and reign in me by thy power and by thy love.

The priest is now face to face with God. He again raises his hands towards heaven, and tells our heavenly Father that the oblation now on the altar is no longer an earthly offering, but the Body and Blood, the whole Person, of His divine Son.

Unde et memores, Domine, nos servi tui, sed et plebs tua sancta, ejusdem Christi Filii tui Domini nostri tam beat&aelig ; Passionis, necnon et ab inferis Resurrectionis, sed et in cœlos gloriosæ Ascensionis: offerimus præclaræ Majestati tuæ de tuis donis ac datis Hostiam puram, Hostiam sanctam, Hostiam immaculatam: Panem sanctum vitæ æternæ et Calicem salutis perpetuæ.

Father of infinite holiness, the Host so long expected is here before thee! Behold this thy eternal Son, who suffered a bitter Passion, rose again with glory from the grave, and ascended triumphantly into heaven. He is thy Son; but he is also our Host, Host pure and spotless, our meat and drink of everlasting life.

Supra quæ propitio ac sereno vultu respicere digneris: et accepta habere, sicuti accepta habere dignatus es munera pueri tui justi Abel, et sacrificium patriarchæ nostri Abrahæ, et quod tibi obtulit summus sacerdos tuus Melchisedech, sanctum sacrificium, immaculatam hostiam.

Heretofore thou didst accept the sacrifice of the innocent lambs offered to thee by Abel; and the sacrifice which Abraham made thee of his son Isaac, who, though immolated, yet lived; and lastly, the sacrifice, which Melchisedech presented thee, of bread and wine. Receive our sacrifice, which is above all those others. It is the Lamb of whom all others could be but figures: it is the undying Victim: it is the Body of thy Son, who is the bread of Life, and his Blood, which, while a drink of immortality for us, is a tribute adequate to thy glory.

The priest bows down to the altar, and kisses it as the throne of love on which is seated the Savior of men.

Supplices te rogamus, omnipotens Deus: jube hæperferri per manus sancti angeli tui in sublime altare tuum, in conspectu divinæ Majestatis tuæ: ut quotquot ex hac altaris participatione, sacrosanctum Filii tui Corpus et Sanguinem sumpserimus, omni benedictione cœlesti et gratia repleamur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

But, O God of infinite power, these sacred gifts are not only on this altar here below; they are also on that sublime altar of heaven, which is before the throne of thy divine Majesty. These two altars are but one and the same, on which is accomplished the great mystery of thy glory and our salvation. Vouchsafe to make us partakers of the Body and Blood of the august Victim, from whom flow every grace and blessing.

Nor is the moment less favorable for making supplication for the Church suffering. Let us therefore ask the divine liberator, who has come down among us, that He mercifully visit, by a ray of His consoling light, the dark abode of purgatory, and permit His Blood to flow, as a stream of mercy’s dew, from this our altar, and refresh the panting captives there. Let us pray expressly for those among them who have a claim on our suffrages.

Memento etiam, Domine, famulorum famularumque tuarm N. et N., qui nos præcesserunt cum signo fidei, et dormiunt in somno pacis. Ipsis, Domine, et omnibus in Christo quiescentibus, locum refrigerii, lucis et pacis, ut indulgeas, deprecamur. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.

Dear Jesus! let the happiness of this thy visit extend to every portion of thy Church. Thy face gladdens the elect in the holy city: even our motal eyes can see beneath the veil of our delighted faith; ah! hide not thyself from those brethren of ours, who are imprisoned in the place of expiation. Be thou refreshment to them in their flames, light in their darkness, and peace in their agonies of torment.

This duty of charity fulfilled, let us pray for ourselves, sinners, alas! who profit so little by the visit which our Savior pays us. Let us, together with the priest, strike our breast, saying:

Nobis quoque peccatoribus famulis tuis, de multitudine miserationem tuarum sperantibus, partem aliquam et societatem donare digneris cum tuis sanctis apostolis et martyribus: cum Joanne, Stephano, Mathia, Barnaba, Ignatio, Alexandro, Marcllino, Petro, Felicitate, Perpetua, Agatha, Lucia, Agnete, Cæcilia, Anastasia, et omnibus sanctis tuis; intro quorum nos consortium, non æstimator meriti, sed veniæ, quaæsumus, largitor admitte. Per Christum Dominmum nostrum. Per quem hæ omnia, Domine, semper bona creas, sanctificas, vivificas, benedicis, et præstas nobis: per ipsum, et cum ipso et in ipso, est tibi Deo Patri omnipotenti, in unitate Spiritus sancti, omnis honor et gloria.

Alas! we are poor sinners, O God of all sanctity! yet do we hope that thy infinite mercy will grant us to share in thy kingdom, not, indeed, by reason of our works, which deserve little else than punishment, but because of the merits of this sacrifice, which we are offering to thee. Remember, too, the merits of thy holy apostles, of thy holy martyrs, of thy holy virgins, and of all thy saints. Grant us, by their intercession, grace in this world, and glory eternal in the next: which we ask of thee, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, thy Son. It is by him thou bestowest upon us thy blessings of life and sanctification; and by him also, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, may honor and glory be to thee!

While saying these last few words, the priest has taken up the sacred Host, which was on the altar; he has held it over the chalice, thus reuniting the Body and Blood of the divine Victim, in order to show that He is now immortal. Then raising up both chalice and Host, he offers to God the most noble and perfect homage which the divine Majesty could receive.

This solemn and mysterious rite ends the Canon. The silence of the mysteries is broken. The priest concludes his long prayers, by saying aloud, and so giving the faithful the opportunity of expressing their desire that his supplications be granted:

Per omnia sæcula sæculorum.

For ever and ever.

Answer him with faith, and in a sentiment of union with your holy mother the Church:

Amen.

Amen! I believe the mystery which has just been accomplished. I unite myself to the offering which has been made, and to the petitions of the Church.

It is time to recite the prayer which our Savior Himself has taught us. Let it ascend to heaven together with the sacrifice of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ. How could it be otherwise than heard, when He Himself who made it for us is in our very hands now while we say it? As this prayer belongs in common to all God’s children, the priest recites it aloud, and begins by inviting us all to join in it.

Oremus. Let Us Pray.

Præceptis salutaribus moniti, et divina institutione formati, audemus dicere:

Having been taught by a saving precept, and following the form given us by a divine instruction, we thus presume to speak.

The Lord’s Prayer

Pater noster, qui es in cœlis, sanctificetur nomen tuum: adveniat regnum tuum: fiat voluntas tua, sicut in cœlo, et in terra. Panem nostrum quotidianum dan nobis hodie: et dimitte nobis debita nostra, sicut et nos dimittimus debitoribus nostris: et ne nos inducas in tentationem.

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name: thy kingdom come: thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread: and forgive us our trespasses as we forgive them that trespass against us: and lead us not into temptation.

Let us answer with a deep feeling of our misery:

Sed libera nos a malo.

But deliver us from evil.

The priest falls once more into the silence of the holy mysteries. His first word is an affectionate Amen to your last petition—deliver us from evil—on which he forms his own next prayer: and could he pray for anything more needed? Evil surrounds us everywhere, and the Lamb on our altar has been sent to expiate it and deliver us from it.

Libera nos, quæsumus Domine, ab omnibus malis, præteritis, præsentibus, et futuris: et intercedente beata et gloriosa semper Virgine Dei Genitrice Maria, cum beatis apostolis tuis Petro et Paulo, atque Andrea, et omnibus sanctis, da propitius pacem in diebus nostris: ut ope misericordiæ tuæ adjuti, et a peccato simus semper liberi, et ab omni perturbatione securi. Per eumdem Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus sancti Deus,

How many, O Lord, are the evils which beset us! Evils past, which are the wounds left on the soul by our sins, and which strengthen her wicked propensities. Evils present, that is,t he sins now at this very time upon our soul; the weakness of this poor soul; and the temptations which molest her. There are also future evils, that is, the chastisement which our sins deserve from the hand of thy justice. In presence of this Host of our salvation, we beseech thee, O Lord, to deliver us from all these evils, and to accept in our favor the intercession of Mary the Mother of Jesus, of thy holy apostles Peter and Paul, and Andrew. Liberate us, break our chains, give us peace: through Jesus Christ, thy Son, who with thee liveth and reigneth God,

The priest is anxious to announce the peace which he has asked and obtained; he therefore finishes his prayer aloud, saying:

Per omnia sæcula sæculorum.

World without end.

Amen.

Amen.

Then he says:

Pax Domini sit semper vobiscum.

May the peace of our Lord be ever with you.

To this paternal wish reply:

℟. Et cum spiritu tuo.

℟. And with thy spirit.

The mystery is drawing to a close; God is about to be united with man, and man with God by means of Communion. But first, an imposing and sublime rite takes place at the altar. So far the priest has announced the death of Jesus; it is time to proclaim His Resurrection. To this end, he reverently breaks the sacred Host, and having divided it into three parts, he puts one into the chalice, thus reuniting the Body and Blood of the immortal Victim. Do you adore, and say:

Hæc commixtio et consecratio Corporis et Sanguinis Domini nostri Jesu Christi fiat accipientibus nobis in vitam æternam. Amen.

Glory be to thee, O Savior of the world, who didst, in thy Passion, permit thy precious Blood to be separated from thy sacred Body, afterwards uniting them again together by thy divine power.

Offer now your prayer to the ever-living Lamb, whom St. John saw on the altar of heaven “standing though slain:” say to this your Lord and King:

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, miserere nobis.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, have mercy on us.

Agnus Dei, qui tollis peccata mundi, dona nobis pacem.

Lamb of God, who takest away the sins of the world, give us peace.

Peace is the grand object of our Savior’s coming into the world: He is the Prince of peace. The divine Sacrament of the Eucharist ought therefore to be the mystery of peace, and the bond of Catholic unity; for, as the apostle says, all we who partake of one bread, and are all one bread and one body. It is on this account that the priest, now that he is on the point of receiving in Communion the sacred Host, prays that fraternal peace may be preserved in the Church, and more especially in this portion of it which is assembled round the altar. Pray with him and for the same blessing:

Domine Jesu Christe, qui dixisti apostolis tuis: Pacem relinquo vobis, pacem meam do vobis: ne rescpicias peccata mea, sed fidem Ecclesiæ tuæ: eamque secundum voluntatem tuam pacificare, et coadunare digneris. Qui vivis et regnas Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ, who saidst to thy apostles, “My peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you:” regard not my sins, but the faith of thy Church, and grant her that peace and unity which is according to thy will. Who livest and reignest God for ever and ever. Amen.

If it be a High Mass, the priest here gives the kiss of peace to the deacon, who give it to the subdeacon, and he to the choir. During this ceremony, you should excite within yourself feelings of Christian charity, and pardon your enemies if you have any. Then continue to pray with the priest:

Domine Jesu Christe, Fili Dei vivi, qui ex voluntate Patris, co&odiar;perante Spiritu sancto, per mortem tuam mundum vivificasti: libera me per hoc sacrosanctum Corpus et Sanguinem tuum, ab omnibus iniquitatibus meis, et universis malis, et face me tuis semper inhærere mandatis, et a te nunquam separari permittas. Qui cum eodem Deo Patre et Spiritu sancto vivis et regnas Deus in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

Lord Jesus Christ, Son of the living God, who, according to the will of thy Father, through the cooperation of the Holy Ghost, hast by thy death given life to the world; deliver me by this thy most sacred Body and Blood from all my iniquities, and from all evils; and make me always adhere to thy commandments, and never suffer me to be separated from thee, who with the same God the Father and the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest God for ever and ever. Amen.

If you are going to Communion at this Mass, say the following prayer; otherwise, prepare yourself to make a spiritual Communion:

Perceptio Corporis tui, Domine Jesu Christe, quod ego indignus sumere præsumo, non mihi proveniat in judicium et condemnationem: sed pro tua pietate prosit mihi ad tutamentum mentis et corporis, et ad medelam percipiendam. Qui vivis et regnas cum Deo Patre in unitate Spiritus sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

Let not the participation of thy Body, O Lord Jesus Christ, which I, though unworthy, presume to receive, turn to my judgment and condemnation; but through thy mercy may it be a safeguard and remedy both to my soul and body. Who with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, livest and reignest God for ever and ever. Amen.

When the priest takes the Host into his hands, in order to receive it in Communion, say:

Panem cœlestem accipiam, et nomen Domini invocabo.

Come, my dear Jesus, come!

When he strikes his breast, confessing his unworthiness, say thrice with him these words, and in the same disposition as the centurion of the Gospel, who first used them:

Domine, non sum dignus, ut intres sub tectum meum: sed tantum dic verbo, et sanabitur anima mea.

Lord, I am not worthy that thou shouldst enter under my roof; say it only with one word of thine, and my soul will be healed.

While the priest receives the sacred Host, if you also are to communicate, adore profoundly your God, who is ready to take up His abode within you, and again say to Him with the bride: “Come, Lord Jesus, come!”

But should you not be going to receive sacramentally, make a spiritual Communion. Adore Jesus Christ who thus visits your soul by His grace, and say to Him:

Corpus Domini nostri Jesu Christi, custodiat animam meam in vitam æternam. Amen.

I give thee, O Jesus, this heart of mine, that thou mayst dwell in it, and do with me what thou wilt.

Then the priest takes the chalice in thanksgiving and says:

Quid retribuam Domino pro omnibus, quæ retribuit mihi? Calicem salutaris accipiam, et nomen Domini invocabo. Laudans invicabo Dominum, et ab inimicis meis salvus ero.

What return shall I make to the Lord for all he hath given to me? I will take the chalice of salvation, and will call upon the name of the Lord. Praising I will call upon the Lord, and I shall be saved from mine enemies.

But if you are to make a sacramental Communion, you should, at this moment of the priest’s receiving the precious Blood, again adore the God who is coming to you, and keep to your canticle: “Come, Lord Jesus, come!”

If, on the contrary, you are going to communicate only spiritually, again adore your divine Master, and say to Him:

Sanguis Domini nostri Jesu Christi custodiat animam meam in vitam æternam. Amen.

I unite myself to thee, mybeloeved Jesus! do thou unite thyself to me; and never let us be separated!

It is here that you must approach to the altar, if you are going to Communion. The dispositions suitable for holy Communion during this season of Advent are given in the next section.

The Communion being finished, and while the priest is purifying the chalice the first time, say:

Quod ore sumpsimus, Domine, pura mente capiamus: et de munere temporali fiat nobis remedium sempiternum.

Thou hast visited me, O God, in these days of my pilgrimage; give me grace to treasure up the fruits of this visit for my future eternity.

While the priest is purifying the chalice the second time, say:

Corpus tuum, Domine, quod sumpsi, et Sanguis quem potavi, adhæreat visceribus meis: et præsta ut in me non remaneat scelerum macula, quem pura et sancta refecerunt Sacramenta. Qui vivis et regnas in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.

Be thou for ever blessed, O my Savior, for having admitted me to the sacred mystery of thy Body and Blood. May my heart and senses preserve, by thy grace, the purity which thou hast imparted to them; and thus fit me for that glorious light of thy coming, that I may not then be confounded.

The priest, having read the antiphon called the Communion, which is the first part of his thanksgiving for the favor just received from God, whereby He has renewed His divine presence among us, turns to the people with the usual salutation; after which, he recites the prayers, called the Postcommunion, which are the completion of the thanksgiving. You will join him here also, thanking God for the unspeakable gift He has just lavished on you, and asking, with most earnest entreaty, for the coming of the Messias, who will accomplish those august mysteries, the renewal of which in the holy Mass is the chief support of the Christian life.

These prayers having been recited, the priest again turns to the people, and, full of joy for the immense favor he and they have been receiving, he says:

Dominus vobiscum.

The Lord be with you.

Answer him:

Et cum spiritu tuo.

And with thy spirit.

Then, if it be a Mass of a feast, the deacon (or the priest himself, if it be not a High Mass) says these words:

Ite, Missa est.
℟. Deo gratias.

Go, the Mass is finished.
℟. Thanks be to God.

But if it be a Mass proper to Advent, he does not dismiss the faithful, because, in this holy season, it behooves us to increase our prayers; he therefore says:

℣. Benedicamus Domino.
℟. Deo gratias.

℣. Let us bless the Lord.
℟. Thanks be to God.

The priest make a last prayer, before giving you his blessing; pray with him:

Placeat tibi, sancta Trinitas, obsequium servitutis meæ, et præsta ut sacrificium quod oculis tuæ majestatis indignus obtuli, tibi sit acceptabile, mihique, et omnibus pro quibus illus obtuli, sit, te miserante, propitiabile. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.

Eternal thanks be to thee, O adorable Trinity, for the mercy thou hast shown to me, in permitting me to assist at this divine sacrifice. Pardon me the negligence and coldness wherewith I have received so great a favor, and deign to confirm the blessing, which thy minister is about to give me in thy name.

The priest raises his hand, and thus blesses you:

Benedicat vos omniptens Deus, Pater, et Filius, et Spiritus sanctus.

May the almighty God, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, bless you!

He then concludes the Mass by reading the first fourteen verses of the Gospel according to St. John, which tell us of the eternity of the Word, and of the mercy which led Him to take upon Himself our flesh, and to dwell among us. Pray that you may be of the number of those, who will receive Him, when He comes, this year, in the midst of His people.

Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Joannem.

Sequel of the holy Gospel according to St. John.

Cap.i. Ch. i.

In principio erat Verbum, et Verbum erat apud Deum, et Deus erat Verbum. Hoc erat in principio apud Deum. Omnia per ipsum facta sunt: et sine ipso factum est nihil, quod factum est. In ipso vita erat, et vita erat lux hominum: et lux in tenebris lucet, et tenebræ eam non comprehenderunt. Fuit homo missus a Deo, cui nomen erat Joannes. Hic venit in testimonium ut testimonium perhiberet de lumine, ut omnes crederent per illum. Non erat ille lux, sed ut testimonium perhiberet de lumine. Erat lux vera, quae illuminat omnem hominem venientem in hunc mundum. In mundo erat, et mundus per ipsum factus est, et mundus eum non cognovit. In propria venit, et sui eum non receperunt. Quotquot autem receperunt eum, dedit eis potestatem filios Dei fieri, his qui credunt in nomine ejus: qui non ex sanguinibus, neque ex voluntate carnis, neque ex voluntate viri, sed ex Deo nati sunt. Et Verbum caro factum est, et habitavit in nobis: et vidimus gloriam ejus, gloriam quasi unigeniti a Patre plenum gratiæ et veritatis.

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him: and without him was made nothing that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to give testimony of the light, that all men might believe through him. He was not the light, but was to give testimony of the light. That was the true light, which enlighteneth every man that cometh into this world. He was in the world, and the world was made by him, and the world knew him not. He came unto his own, and his own received him not. But as many as received him, he gave them power to be made the sons of God, to them that believe in his name. Who are born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we saw his glory, the glory as it were of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.

℟. Deo gratias.

℟. Thanks be to God.

On Holy Communion During Advent

It is true that everything in Advent is so arranged as to be a preparation for the coming of the Savior at the feast of Christmas, and that the spirit of the faithful should be one of earnest expectation of this same Savior; and yet, such is the happy lot of the children of the new Law, that they can, if they wish it, really, and at once, receive this God whom the Church is expecting; and thus, this familiar visit of Jesus will become itself one of the preparations for His great and solemn visit. Let those, then, who are living the life of grace, and to whom the glorious day of the Nativity of our Lord Jesus Christ will bring an increase of spiritual life, not omit to prepare, by Communion, for the reception they intend to give to the heavenly Spouse on the sacred night of His coming. These Communions will be interviews with their divine Lord, giving them confidence, and love, and all those interior dispositions wherewith they would welcome Him who comes to load them with fresh grace, for this Jesus is full of grace and truth.

They will understand this better by reflecting on the sentiments which the august Mother of Jesus had in her blessed soul during the time which preceded the divine birth. This birth is to be an event of more importance, both to the salvation of mankind and to Mary’s own glory, than even that of the first accomplishment of the Incarnation; for the Word was made Flesh in order that He might be born. The immense happiness of holding in her arms her Son and her God, would make the sacred hour of Jesus’ birth dearer and happier to Mary, than even that in which she was overshadowed by the Holy Ghost, and received from Him the divine fruit of her womb. During those nine months, when she knew that her Jesus was so undividedly hers, what must have been the happiness which filled her heart! It was a bliss which was a worthy preparation for that more blissful night of Bethlehem.

Christians! your Communions during Advent are to prepare you for your Christmas joy, by giving you something of the delight which Mary felt before the birth of Jesus. When you are in the house of God, preparing by recollection and prayer for receiving your Savior in holy Communion, you may perhaps be assisted in your preparation by the sentiments and affections which we have ventured to offer you in the following acts.

Before Communion
Act of Faith

Knowing that thou art about to enter under my roof, O eternal God, Jesus Son of the Father, I have need of all my faith. Yes, it is thou who art coming to me, thou who didst enter into Mary’s virginal womb, making it the sanctuary of thy Majesty. Thou didst send thine angel to her, and she believed his word, when he said: “Nothing is impossible to God: the Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee.” She believed, and then conceived in her chaste womb him who had created her. Thou hast not sent an angel to me, O my Savior, to tell me thou art coming into my heart. Thou hast spoken thyself, and thou hast said: “I am the living Bread come down from heaven: he that eateth my Flesh and drinketh my Blood, abideth in me and I in him.” Thou has willed that these words of thine, spoken so many hundred years ago, should reach me by thy Church, that thus I might have both the certainty that they are thine, and the merit of bowing down my reason to the deepest of mysteries. I believe then, O Jesus! Help the weakness of my faith. Enable me to submit, as Mary did, to thy infinite wisdom; and since thou desirest to enter under my roof, I bow down my whole being before thee, using her blessed words: “May it be done to me according to thy word;” for how dare I, who am but nothingness, resist thee, who art all wisdom and power!

Act of Humility

But, O my Savior, when thou didst choose the womb of the glorious Virgin for thy abode, thou hadst but to leave one heaven for another. Thou hadst prepared her, from her conception, with every grace; and she, on her part, had been more faithful to thee than all angels and men together. Whereas my heart has nothing in it which can induce thee to come an dmake it thy dwelling. How many times has it refused thee admittance, when thou didst stand at the door asking me to receive thee? And even had I been always faithful, what proportion is there between its lowliness and thy infinite greatness? Elizabeth humbled herself when she was visited by Mary, and exclaimed, “How comes such an honor to me?” And I am to receive a visit, not merely of the Mother of God, but of God himself, and in such an intimate familiar manner, that a greater union cannot be. Thou sayest, “He that eateth me, abideth in me and I in him:” O Son of God! thou seekest, then, for what is lowest and poorest, and in tht thy heart loves to dwell. I am overwhelmed with admiration at this condescension; but when I reflect that thou art going to show it me, I can do nothing but sink into my own nothingness, and there beseech thee to show me more and more clearly, that I am but nothing; tht so, when thou hast come within me, my whole being may proclaim the glory, the mercy, the power of my Jesus.

Act of Contrition

Happy should I be, O Jesus, if I could feel that this my nothingness was the only obstacle to the glorious union to which thou invitest me! I would then approach to thee, after the example of thy Immaculate Mother, my august Queen, and would dare to partake of the banquet at which she is on thy right hand. But I am worse than nothing—I am a sinner: and surely there can be no union between infinite sanctity and sin, between light and darknes! I have been thine enemy, O my Redeemer! and yet thou wishest to come into my heart, with the sores of its shame and wounds barely closed; and thou tellest me, that thou, who couldst delight and dwell in Mary’s heart, canst find pleasure in mine! Oh! how this teaches me the malice of my sins, since they offend a God so generous, so wonderful in his love for me! In these few moments, which precede thy descending into the midst of my darkness in order to change it into light, what can I do but renew my sorrow for those many sins whereby I lost thee, as also for those whereby I grieved thee without losing thy grace. Accept this my contrition, O my Savior! It is thus that I would prepare thy way to my heart, by removing everything which is in opposition to the righteous path of thy holy Law.

Act of Love

For I would indeed love thee, O my Savior, as Mary loved thee. Art thou not my God, as thou wast hers? Nay, by forgiving me my sins, hast thou not shown marks of tenderness to me, which Mary could not receive? I love thee, then, sweet Jesus, who art coming into me. Most welcome visit, which is to increase my love! Thy blessed Mother had lived, up to the very moment when thou didst enter her womb, in all holiness and justice; she had loved thee alone, and as no other had loved: but when she felt thee within her, when she felt that now thou wast one and the same with herself, her love redoubled, and lost all sight of limit. May it be so with my heart, when thou comest into it, my God and my all! Yea, come quickly; for though most unworthy of thy visit, yet am I forced to desire it, seeing that thou art the Bread which giveth life unto the world, and our daily Bread, by eating which we support life until the day of our eternity arrives. Come, then, my Lord Jesus! my heart is ready and trusts in thee.

And thou, O Mary, by the joy thou didst experience in containing within thyself him whom heaven and earth could not contain, help me, in this Communion, to have my heart pure and fervent. Holy angels, who looked with astonishment and awe upon this simple creature carrying God within her, have pity on me, that poor sinner whose heart, so lately the abode of Satan, is this very hour to become the tabernacle of your sovereign Lord. All ye saints of heaven, and ye especially my ever faithful patrons, come to my assistance now that he, in whom ye live for ever, just and immortal, is coming down to me, a sinful mortal. Amen.

In order to make your preparation complete, follow, with a lively faith and attention, all the mysteries of the Mass at which you are to receive Communion; using, for this purpose, the method we have given in the preceding section. After your Communion, you may sometimes make your thanksgiving by reciting the prayers we here give.

After Communion
Act of Adoration

O sovereign Majesty of God! thou hast, then, mercifully deigned to come down to me! This favor, which thou didst heretofore grant to Mary, has been given to me too! Would that I, during these happy moments, could adore thee as profoundly as she did! The sentiment of her lowliness and unworthiness, at that solemn moment, would have overpowered her, had not thy tender love for her supported her to bear that ineffable union of the Creator with his creature. My lowliness, and still more my unworthiness, are of a very different kind from hers; and yet I find it so hard to feel them. This much at least I know, that in order thus to come to me, and be my own infinite treasure, thou hast had to overcome immense obstacles. What, then, shall I do for thee, that is worthy of thee? How can I best compensate thee for the humiliation thou hast thus borne out of love for me? I can but adore thee, and humble myself to the farthest depths of my own nothingness. And because this my adoration is not worthy of thine acceptance, I presume to offer thee that which Mary herself offered thee the first moment she became the Mother of God, and during the nine months thou wast so closely united with her. Thou hast given her to me to be my own Mother; permit me to make this use of her wealth, which she loves to see her children so freely giving to thy great glory.

Act of Thanksgiving

But thy blessed Mother, O Jesus, was not satisfied with adoring thee interiorly; her glad heart soon gave expression to its intense gratitude. She saw that thou hadst preferred her to all the daughters of her people, nay, to all generations both past and to come; her soul therefore thrilled with delight, and her lips could scarce give utterance to her immense joy. “He that is mighty,” she said, “hath done great things in me; he hath regarded the lowliness of his handmaid; and all generations shall call me blessed.” And hast thou not favored me, O Jesus, above thousands and tens of thousands, in giving me the wonderful gift I now hold within me? Thou hast made me live after the accomplishment of thine Incarnation. This very day, how many pious servants of thine have not had given to them what I have received from thee! I possess thee here within me; I know the worth of thy coming; but how many are there who neither possess thee nor know thee! Thou hast indeed invited all to these graces, but a great number have refused them; and while thou hast compelled me, by the powerful yet sweet ways of thy mercy, to come to thee, thou hast, in thy justice, permitted them to continue in their refusal. Mayst thou be forever blessed, O my God! who lovest, indeed, all the works of thy hands, and wishest all men to be saved; so that none is lost, but he that refuses thy grace: yet, in the superabundant riches of thy mercy, thou dost multiply, for many, the boundless resources of thy love.

Act of Love

I will love thee, then, O Jesus! because thou hast first loved me; and I will love thee the more because, by this thy visit to me, thou hast so greatly increased my power to love. It was thus with Mary, when thou didst choose her for thy Mother. Up to that time she had been the most faithful of thy creatures, and deserved the preference thou didst give her, above all women, of being honored with the high privilege of becoming Mother of God. But when thou didst enter her virginal womb, when thy divine Person came into that admirable contact with her nature, which, though holy, ws human; Mary, transformed, as it were, into thee, began ot love thee as she had never been able to do before. May it be so with me, dear Jesus! May my own life be lost in thine! Is not th evisit thou hast paid me that of a God? The visits of creatures are but exterior; thine to me is interior; thou hast not entered my house and blessed it, thou hast penetrated into the deepest recesses of my very soul; that I live, no, it is not I, but thou livest in me, as thy apostle expresses the mystery. Sot hat if I love myself, I must love thee, since thou abidest in me, and I abide in thee. Can I ever separate from thee again? No, my divine Master, I desire to have but thee for my love and my very life, now and for ever.

Act of Oblation

But take heed, my soul: let not the love of thy God be mere sentiment. He that loves God, lives for him. Jesus’ presence produced in Mary, the moment it was effected, far more than the sentiment of total devotedness of herself to the interests and glory of him who was both her God and her Son. It gave her a conformity to all God’s appointments, which stood unshaken, without one moment of faltering, through all the trials of her long life. Thou hast visited me, dear Savior, and courage is what thou wishest to leave with me. Between this day and that of my death and my judgment, I am to go through many trials and temptations, all difficult, and some of them perhaps severe. If I love thee, I shall triumph over them all. And how can I but love thee, even at the bare remembrance of this thy visit to me, which thou art ready to repeat as often as I wish it! I am thine, O God of my heart, as thou art mine. Thou knowest my great weakness: give me courage and strength. Thou hast given me, this happy hour, the richest pledge of thy mercy; on this infinite mercy I rest all my hope.

O Mary, pray for me that I may profit by this visit of thy divine Son.—Ye holy angels of God, defend me against my enemies, for your Lord has made me his dwelling place.—All ye saints of God, pray for me, that I may never lose this sovereign Good, with whom ye are united for a happy eternity. Amen.

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