The average Christian is well acquainted with the Church's recommendation to prepare for major liturgical feasts (including the feasts of saints) through the praying of a novena, most commonly prayed nine days preceding the feast. The coming of the Messiah's birth is of no exception!
Today the Advent season is not often a season which one associates with penance and fasting. However, when one dives into the Church's traditions, the Ember Days & Fasts were held in esteem as the way to begin the Liturgical Seasons.
"Incline Thine ear, we beseech Thee, O Lord, to our petitions:
and, by the grace of Thy visitation, enlighten the darkness of our minds."
Collect: Third Sunday of Advent
"O my Divine Savior, how consoling and honorable for Thy holy precursor, to be the voice crying out to men to prepare the way of the Lord! Rejoicing with her whole heart, Holy Church, at Thy approaching advent, invites all her children to participate in her joy. With a tender love we will respond to her invitation, even mindful that Thou art nigh to each one of us. Thou desirest to be near us with Thy grace and Thy peace; but how many remain at a distance, because they know Thee not, nor do they desire to know Thee.
"O Divine Savior, enlighten these blinded souls, draw them unto Thee by the sweet power of Thy grace. Compel the obdurate to enter into themselves and remove the obstacles that oppose Thy bountiful advent in their hearts. True to the admonition of the Apostle, we will hasten to meet Thee with prayers, fasting, impetration, and thanksgiving, to participate in Thy peace, which surpassed all comprehension."
- Reflection on the Third Week of Advent from "Jesus the Model of the Religious"
"O God, by foreseen merits of the death of Christ, You shielded Mary from all stain of sin and preserved the Virgin Mother immaculate at her conception so that she might be a fitting dwelling place for Your Son. Cleanse us from sin through her intercession so that we also may come to You untainted by sin."
- Collect for the Immaculate Conception -
"Stir up our hearts, O Lord, to prepare the way of Thine only-begotten Son: that through His coming we may attain to serve Thee with purified minds."
Collect: Second Sunday of Advent
As the Advent season begins and the gaze of our hearts turn towards the coming of the Messiah, Holy Mother Church centers this month's devotion on the Divine Infant Jesus.
Last Saturday, on the Feast of the Presentation of Our Lady in the temple, we witnessed the most awe-inspiring profession of perpetual vows of Sr. Mary Vianney, MSSR and Sr. Caritas Marie, MSSR. Heaven was rejoicing as Jesus gained two beautiful brides for eternity. Join us in rejoicing with the angels and thanking God for His abundant blessings!
Perpetual Profession Slideshow