We See the Star
During this second week of Advent, we behold a Star arise in our hearts. It is our Mother Mary, who points the way to her Divine Son. The rays of light that issue from this bright Star are the virtues that shine forth with such resplendence from her Immaculate Heart. The golden rays of her humble obedience, the silver rays of her immaculate purity, and the azure rays of her self-effacement furnish us with abundant matter for meditation and imitation. As we go about our duties, however humble or great, we endeavor to keep our eyes faithfully fixed upon this celestial Star in order to reproduce her virtues in our daily lives; striving to think speak and act as Mary would. Finding ourselves in any difficulty, we pray that we may heed St. Bernard's advice: "If temptation storms, or you fall upon the rocks of tribulation, look to the Star and call upon Mary..."
Focus of the Second Week: Union with Our Lady
O Mary, do thou bring thy holy Child to me!
The Meaning of Advent
During this first week, we recall the longings of the Patriarchs and Prophets, the holy souls living years before the coming of the Messiah. With what intense yearning they desired but a glimpse of that blessed Light of the World Who now gives Himself daily, in the fullness of His Love, to all who will receive Him. On each Christmas Day, He comes with a special plenitude of grace to all hearts who have prepared for Him. Our time of preparation is short! Let us warm our cold hearts in the furnace of Love issuing from the Sacred Heart of the unborn Infant reposing in His Immaculate tabernacle! His Mother will assist us in being attentive to the whisperings of His grace, His little voice asking for this or that little sacrifice or act of fidelity to our daily duties.
Focus of the First Week: Silence and Recollection
Divine Infant King Jesus, come down into our souls!
"O Antiphon" for December 23rd
O Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae:
veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.
O Day-Spring, splendor of Eternal Light, and Sun of Justice,
Come, and shine on those seated in darkness, and in the shadow of death.
"O Antiphon" for December 21st
As sung by the Dominican student brothers in Oxford
Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just:
let the earth be opened and bud forth a Savior."
Rorate, caeli, desuper, et nebes pluant justum,
aperiatur terra, et germinet Salvatorem."
~ Introit from the Advent Ember Wednesday Mass
Situated at the heart of this season of expectation, the Advent Ember days have a Marian tone. The Gospels for Ember Wednesday and Friday, the Annunciation and Visitation, highlight Our Lady's preeminent role in our salvation. Today's Mass, that of Ember Wednesday, is full of Marian references and is dearly loved by the community. It is traditionally the first time in the liturgical year that the Gospel of the Annunciation is proclaimed, pointing us to the imminent coming of our Savior. Falling the day after the feast of St. Lucy, the virgin of light who announces the coming of the Light, our Mass is illuminated by candles alone. The soft glow of the candles and the gentle beauty of the sung Mass seem to enrich and enhance the intrinsically rich texts of the Mass and aid the soul to enter into communion with its Divine Spouse. May we, like our Lady, ever offer Him a home in our hearts!
"Oh, come Divine Messiah, the world in silence waits the day when hope shall sing its triumph and sadness flee away! Sweet Savior haste! Come, come, to earth! Dispel the night and show Thy face and bid us hail the dawn of grace..."
God the Father imparted to Mary his fruitfulness as far as a mere creature was capable of receiving it, to enable her to bring forth his Son and all the members of his mystical body.
God the Son came down into her virginal womb as a new Adam into his earthly paradise, to take his delight there and produce hidden wonders of grace.
God-made-man found freedom in imprisoning himself in her womb. He displayed power in allowing himself to be borne by this young maiden. He found his glory and that of his Father in hiding his splendors from all creatures here below and revealing them only to Mary.
-St Louis Marie de Montfort True Devotion to Mary