Friday, December 11, 2009

Prayer of the Day

Prayer to God the Father of All Life

Eternal God, You have revealed Yourself as the Father of all Life. We praise You for the Fatherly care which You extend to all creation, and especially to us, made in Your image and likeness.

Father, extend Your hand of protection to those threatened by abortion, and save them from its destructive power. Give Your strength to all fathers, that they may never give in to the fears that may tempt them to facilitate abortions.

Bless our families and bless our land, that we may have the joy of welcoming and nurturing the life of which You are the source and the Eternal Father.


Friday of the Second Week of Advent

Reading 1
Is 48:17-19

Thus says the LORD, your redeemer,
the Holy One of Israel:
I, the LORD, your God,
teach you what is for your good,
and lead you on the way you should go.
If you would hearken to my commandments,
your prosperity would be like a river,
and your vindication like the waves of the sea;
Your descendants would be like the sand,
and those born of your stock like its grains,
Their name never cut off
or blotted out from my presence.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 1:1-2, 3, 4 and 6

R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.

Blessed the man who follows not
the counsel of the wicked
Nor walks in the way of sinners,
nor sits in the company of the insolent,
But delights in the law of the LORD
and meditates on his law day and night.

R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.

He is like a tree
planted near running water,
That yields its fruit in due season,
and whose leaves never fade.
Whatever he does, prospers.

R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.

Not so the wicked, not so;
they are like chaff which the wind drives away.
For the LORD watches over the way of the just,
but the way of the wicked vanishes.

R. Those who follow you, Lord, will have the light of life.

Mt 11:16-19

Jesus said to the crowds:
“To what shall I compare this generation?
It is like children who sit in marketplaces and call to one another,
‘We played the flute for you, but you did not dance,
we sang a dirge but you did not mourn.’
For John came neither eating nor drinking, and they said,
‘He is possessed by a demon.’
The Son of Man came eating and drinking and they said,
‘Look, he is a glutton and a drunkard,
a friend of tax collectors and sinners.’
But wisdom is vindicated by her works.”

Saint of the Day

December 11

St. Damasus I (305?-384)

To his secretary St. Jerome, Damasus was “an incomparable person, learned in the Scriptures, a virgin doctor of the virgin Church, who loved chastity and heard its praises with pleasure.”

Damasus seldom heard such unrestrained praise. Internal political struggles, doctrinal heresies, uneasy relations with his fellow bishops and those of the Eastern Church marred the peace of his pontificate.

The son of a Roman priest, possibly of Spanish extraction, Damasus started as a deacon in his father’s church, and served as a priest in what later became the basilica of San Lorenzo in Rome. He served Pope Liberius (352-366) and followed him into exile.

When Liberius died, Damasus was elected bishop of Rome; but a minority elected and consecrated another deacon, Ursinus, as pope. The controversy between Damasus and the antipope resulted in violent battles in two basilicas, scandalizing the bishops of Italy. At the synod Damasus called on the occasion of his birthday, he asked them to approve his actions. The bishops’ reply was curt: “We assembled for a birthday, not to condemn a man unheard.” Supporters of the antipope even managed to get Damasus accused of a grave crime—probably sexual—as late as A.D. 378. He had to clear himself before both a civil court and a Church synod.

As pope his lifestyle was simple in contrast to other ecclesiastics of Rome, and he was fierce in his denunciation of Arianism and other heresies. A misunderstanding of the Trinitarian terminology used by Rome threatened amicable relations with the Eastern Church, and Damasus was only moderately successful in dealing with the situation.

During his pontificate Christianity was declared the official religion of the Roman state (380), and Latin became the principal liturgical language as part of the pope’s reforms. His encouragement of St. Jerome’s biblical studies led to the Vulgate, the Latin translation of Scripture which the Council of Trent (12 centuries later) declared to be “authentic in public readings, disputations, preachings.”

Office of Readings

O Lord, open my lips.
– And my mouth will proclaim your praise.

Antiphon: Come, let us worship the Lord, the King who is to come.

(repeat antiphon*)

O God, take pity on us and bless us,
and let your face shine upon us,
so that your ways may be known across the world,
and all nations learn of your salvation.

(repeat antiphon*)

Let the peoples praise you, O God,
let all the peoples praise you.
Let the nations be glad and rejoice,
for you judge the peoples with fairness
and you guide the nations of the earth.

(repeat antiphon*)

Let the peoples praise you, O God,
let all the peoples praise you.
The earth has produced its harvest:
may God, our God, bless us.
May God bless us,
may the whole world revere him.

(repeat antiphon*)

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.


(repeat antiphon*)

The plea of a sinner in great peril
Psalm 37 (38)

Lord, do not ruin me in your anger.
Lord, do not rebuke me in your wrath,
do not ruin me in your anger:
for I am pierced by your arrows
and crushed beneath your hand.
In the face of your anger
there is no health in my body.
There is no peace for my bones,
no rest from my sins.
My transgressions rise higher than my head:
a heavy burden, they weigh me down.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.


Lord, do not ruin me in your anger.
Psalm 37 (38)

Lord, all that I desire is known to you.
My wounds are corruption and decay
because of my foolishness.
I am bowed down and bent,
bent under grief all day long.
For a fire burns up my loins,
and there is no health in my body.
I am afflicted, utterly cast down,
I cry out from the sadness of my heart.
Lord, all that I desire is known to you;
my sighs are not hidden from you.
My heart grows weak, my strength leaves me,
and the light of my eyes – even that has gone.
My friends and my neighbours
keep far from my wounds.
Those closest to me keep far away,
while those who would kill me set traps,
those who would harm me make their plots:
they plan mischief all through the day.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.


Lord, all that I desire is known to you.
Psalm 37 (38)

I shall proclaim my wrongdoing. Do not abandon me, Lord, my saviour.
But I, like a deaf man, do not hear;
like one who is dumb, I do not open my mouth.
I am like someone who cannot hear,
in whose mouth there is no reply.
For in you, Lord, I put my trust:
you will listen to me, Lord, my God.
For I have said, “Let them never triumph over me:
if my feet stumble, they will gloat.”
For I am ready to fall:
my suffering is before me always.
For I shall proclaim my wrongdoing:
I am anxious because of my sins.
All the time my enemies live and grow stronger;
they are so many, those who hate me without cause.
Returning evil for good they dragged me down,
because I followed the way of goodness.
Do not abandon me, Lord:
my God, do not leave me.
Hurry to my aid,
O Lord, my saviour.

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,
as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be,
world without end.


I shall proclaim my wrongdoing. Do not abandon me, Lord, my saviour.
Lord, let your loving kindness be upon me:
– your salvation, as you have promised.

Reading Isaiah 27:1-13

That day,
sing of the delightful vineyard!
I, the Lord, am its keeper;
every moment I water it
for fear its leaves should fall;
night and day I watch over it.
I am angry no longer.
If thorns and briars come
I will declare war on them,
I will burn them every one.
Or if they would shelter under my protection,
let them make their peace with me,
let them make their peace with me.
In the days to come, Jacob will put out shoots,
Israel will bud and blossom
and fill the whole world with fruit.
Has he beaten her as he beat those who beat her?
Has he murdered her as he murdered those who murdered her?
You have punished it with expulsion and exile;
he pursued it with a blast as fierce as the wind from the east.
Now here is how Jacob’s guilt will be atoned for,
here is the ransom for its sin:
he treats all the altar stones
like lumps of chalk that are ground to powder.
Sacred poles and solar pillars stand no longer,
for the fortified city is abandoned now,
it lies deserted,
forsaken as a wilderness.
There the herd grazes,
there it rests and browses on the branches.
The boughs are dry and broken,
women come and use them for firewood;
for this is a nation without understanding
and so its Maker will have no pity for it,
he that shaped it will show it no favour.
That day, the Lord will start his threshing
from the course of the River to the wadi of Egypt,
and you will be gathered one by one,
sons of Israel.
That day, the great trumpet will be sounded,
and those lost in the land of Assyria will come,
and those exiled to the land of Egypt,
and they will worship the Lord
on the holy mountain, in Jerusalem.

Reading A treatise against the heresies, by St Irenaeus
Eve and Mary

The Lord, coming into his own creation in visible form, was sustained by his own creation which he himself sustains in being. His obedience on the tree of the cross reversed the disobedience at the tree in Eden; the good news of the truth announced by an angel to Mary, a virgin subject to a husband, undid the evil lie that seduced Eve, a virgin espoused to a husband.

As Eve was seduced by the word of an angel and so fled from God after disobeying his word, Mary in her turn was given the good news by the word of an angel, and bore God in obedience to his word. As Eve was seduced into disobedience to God, so Mary was persuaded into obedience to God; thus the Virgin Mary became the advocate of the virgin Eve.

Christ gathered all things into one, by gathering them into himself. He declared war against our enemy, crushed him who at the beginning had taken us captive in Adam, and trampled on his head, in accordance with God’s words to the serpent in Genesis: I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her seed; he shall lie in wait for your head, and you shall lie in wait for his heel.

The one lying in wait for the serpent’s head is the one who was born in the likeness of Adam from the woman, the Virgin. This is the seed spoken of by Paul in the letter to the Galatians: The law of works was in force until the seed should come to whom the- promise was made.

He shows this even more clearly in the same letter when he says: When the fullness of time had come, God sent his Son, born of a woman. The enemy would not have been defeated fairly if his vanquisher had not been born of a woman, because it was through a woman that he had gained mastery over man in the beginning, and set himself up as man’s adversary.

That is why the Lord proclaims himself the Son of Man, the one who renews in himself that first man from whom the race born of woman was formed; as by a man’s defeat our race fell into the bondage of death, so by a man’s victory we were to rise again to life.

Concluding Prayer

Almighty God, grant that your people may be watchful as they await the coming of your only-begotten Son
so that as he himself taught us
we may be ready with lighted lamps to meet him when he comes.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,

God for ever and ever.