Monday, December 10, 2012


Prayer of Pope Pius XII
In Honor of the Immaculate Conception

Enraptured by the splendor of your heavenly beauty,
and impelled by the anxieties of the world,
we cast ourselves into your arms,
O Immaculate Mother of Jesus and our Mother,
confident of finding in your most loving heart appeasement of our ardent desires,
and a safe harbor from the tempests which beset us on every side.

Though degraded by our faults and overwhelmed by infinite misery,
we admire and praise the peerless richness of sublime gifts with which God has filled you, above every other mere creature,
from the first moment of your conception until the day on which,
after your assumption into heaven,
He crowned you Queen of the Universe.

O crystal fountain of faith,
bathe our minds with the eternal truths!
O fragrant Lily of all holiness,
captivate our hearts with your heavenly perfume!
O Conqueress of evil and death,
inspire in us a deep horror of sin,
which makes the soul detestable to God and a slave of hell!

O well-beloved of God,
hear the ardent cry which rises up from every heart.
Bend tenderly over our aching wounds.
Convert the wicked,
dry the tears of the afflicted and oppressed,
comfort the poor and humble,
quench hatreds,
sweeten harshness,
safeguard the flower of purity in youth,
protect the holy Church,
make all men feel the attraction of Christian goodness.
In your name,
resounding harmoniously in heaven,
may they recognize that they are brothers,
and that the nations are members of one family,
upon which may there shine forth the sun of a universal and sincere peace.

O most sweet Mother,
our humble supplications,
and above all obtain for us that,
one day, happy with you,
we may repeat before your throne that hymn which today is sung on earth around your altars:
You are all-beautiful, O Mary!
You are the glory,
you are the joy,
you are the honor of our people!



Monday of the Second Week of Advent

Is 35:1-10

The desert and the parched land will exult;
the steppe will rejoice and bloom.
They will bloom with abundant flowers,
and rejoice with joyful song.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to them,
the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
They will see the glory of the LORD,
the splendor of our God.
Strengthen the hands that are feeble,
make firm the knees that are weak,
Say to those whose hearts are frightened:
Be strong, fear not!
Here is your God,
he comes with vindication;
With divine recompense
he comes to save you.
Then will the eyes of the blind be opened,
the ears of the deaf be cleared;
Then will the lame leap like a stag,
then the tongue of the mute will sing.

Streams will burst forth in the desert,
and rivers in the steppe.
The burning sands will become pools,
and the thirsty ground, springs of water;
The abode where jackals lurk
will be a marsh for the reed and papyrus.
A highway will be there,
called the holy way;
No one unclean may pass over it,
nor fools go astray on it.
No lion will be there,
nor beast of prey go up to be met upon it.
It is for those with a journey to make,
and on it the redeemed will walk.
Those whom the LORD has ransomed will return
and enter Zion singing,
crowned with everlasting joy;
They will meet with joy and gladness,
sorrow and mourning will flee.

Responsorial Psalm
Ps 85:9ab And 10, 11-12, 13-14

R. Our God will come to save us!

I will hear what God proclaims;
the LORD --for he proclaims peace to his people.
Near indeed is his salvation to those who fear him,
glory dwelling in our land.

R. Our God will come to save us!

Kindness and truth shall meet;
justice and peace shall kiss.
Truth shall spring out of the earth,
and justice shall look down from heaven.

R. Our God will come to save us!

The LORD himself will give his benefits;
our land shall yield its increase.
Justice shall walk before him,
and salvation, along the way of his steps.

R. Our God will come to save us!

Lk 5:17-26

One day as Jesus was teaching,
Pharisees and teachers of the law,
who had come from every village of Galilee and Judea and Jerusalem,
were sitting there,
and the power of the Lord was with him for healing.
And some men brought on a stretcher a man who was paralyzed;
they were trying to bring him in and set him in his presence.
But not finding a way to bring him in because of the crowd,
they went up on the roof
and lowered him on the stretcher through the tiles
into the middle in front of Jesus.
When Jesus saw their faith, he said,

"As for you, your sins are forgiven."

Then the scribes and Pharisees began to ask themselves,
"Who is this who speaks blasphemies?
Who but God alone can forgive sins?"

Jesus knew their thoughts and said to them in reply,

"What are you thinking in your hearts?
Which is easier, to say, 'Your sins are forgiven,'
or to say, 'Rise and walk?'
But that you may know
that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins?"

he said to the one who was paralyzed,

"I say to you, rise, pick up your stretcher, and go home."

He stood up immediately before them,
picked up what he had been lying on,
and went home, glorifying God.
Then astonishment seized them all and they glorified God,
and, struck with awe, they said,
"We have seen incredible things today."


December 10

Servant of God Bernard of Quintavalle (d. 1246?)

Bernard was a wealthy man of Assisi, known and esteemed for his virtue and his wisdom. 
He was also the first follower of St. Francis, and would ultimately prove to be first in the order of sanctity.

Moved by the poverty and humility of Francis, Bernard invited him to stay at his house one night. 
There Bernard observed that Francis forsook a full night's sleep and instead spent the hours in prayer. 
By the following morning Bernard was convinced that Francis was indeed motivated by sincere love of God and, 
so, Bernard asked to become a disciple. 
Francis joyfully took him to the church where they attended Mass and then asked the priest to open the Bible three times.

Three passages appeared: "If you wish to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor" (Matthew 19:21). "Take nothing for the way" 
(Mark 6:8). "If any man will come after Me, let him deny himself and take up his cross and follow Me" (Matthew 16:24).

Francis said: "This will be the rule of life which we and all those who will join us shall follow." 
At that, Bernard sold all his possessions and divided the money among the poor.

Francis admired much in Bernard because he was older and because he was so holy. He sent his new follower and a companion to Florence and then to Bologna. In both places they were made sport of because of their poor clothing and the manner of their life. 
But Bernard was only upset when the townspeople of Bologna began to recognize his holiness. He asked Francis to bring him back.

Later Francis took Bernard with him as he headed out for Africa to preach to the Muslims. 
But along the way they met a poor sick man and Francis left the ever-joyful Bernard to care for the man until he himself would return.

Before his death Francis gave Bernard a special blessing and asked all of the brothers to have respect for this holy man.

Bernard is buried in Assisi near his holy founder in the Basilica of St. Francis.


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

Invitatory Psalm
Psalm 66 (67)

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

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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.

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


The Advent of our God
With eager prayers we greet
And singing haste up on the road
His glorious gift to meet.
The everlasting Son
Scorns not a Virgin’s womb;
That we from bondage may be won
He bears a bondsman’s doom.
Daughter of Zion, rise
To meet thy lowly King;
Let not thy stubborn heart despise
The peace he deigns to bring.
In clouds of awful light,
As Judge he comes again,
His scattered people to unite,
With them in heaven to reign.
Let evil flee away
Ere that dread hour shall dawn.
Let this old Adam day by day
God’s image still put on.
Praise to the Incarnate Son,
Who comes to set us free,
With God the Father, ever One,
To all eternity.

Psalm 30 (31)
Trustful prayer in time of adversity

Hear me, Lord, and come to rescue me.

In you, Lord, I put my trust: may I never be put to shame.
In your justice, set me free,
Turn your ear to me,
make haste to rescue me.
Be my rampart, my fortification;
keep me safe.
For you are my strength and my refuge:
you will lead me out to the pastures,
for your own name’s sake.
You will lead me out of the trap that they laid for me –
for you are my strength.
Into your hands I commend my spirit:
you have redeemed me, Lord God of truth.
You hate those who run after vain nothings;
but I put my trust in the Lord.
I will rejoice and be glad in your kindness,
for you have looked on me, lowly as I am.
You saw when my soul was in need:
you did not leave me locked in the grip of the enemy,
but set my feet on free and open ground.

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.

Hear me, Lord, and come to rescue me.

Psalm 30 (31)

Lord, let your face shine on your servant.

Take pity on me, Lord, for I am troubled:
my eyes grow weak with sorrow,
the very centre of my being is disturbed.
For my life is worn out with distress,
my years with groaning;
my strength becomes weakness,
my bones melt away.
I am a scandal and a disgrace,
so many are my enemies;
to my friends and neighbours,
I am a thing to fear.
When they see me in the street,
they run from me.
I have vanished from their minds as though I were dead,
or like a pot that is broken.
I know this – for I have heard the scolding of the crowd.
There is terror all around,
for when they come together against me
it is my life they are resolved to take.
But I put my trust in you, Lord;
I say: “You are my God,
my fate is in your hands.”
Tear me from the grip of my enemies,
from those who hound me;
let your face shine upon your servant,
in your kindness, save me.

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, let your face shine on your servant.

Psalm 30 (31)

Blessed be the Lord, 
who has shown me the wonders of his love.

How very many are the pleasures, Lord,
that you have stored up for those who fear you.
You have made these things ready for those who trust in you,
to give them in the sight of all men.
Far away from the plottings of men
you hide them in your secret place.
You keep them safe in your dwelling-place
far from lying tongues.
Blessed be the Lord,
for he has shown me his wonderful kindness
within the fortified city.
In my terror, I said
“I am cut off from your sight”;
but you heard the voice of my prayer
when I called to you.
Love the Lord, all his chosen ones.
The Lord keeps his faithful ones safe,
heaps rich revenge on the arrogant.
Be brave, let your hearts be strong,
all who trust in the Lord.

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.

Blessed be the Lord, 
who has shown me the wonders of his love.

Show us your saving mercy, Lord,
– and give us your saving help.

Isaiah 24:1-18

See how the Lord lays the earth waste,
makes it a desert, buckles its surface,
scatters its inhabitants,
priest and people alike, master and slave,
mistress and maid, seller and buyer,
lender and borrower, creditor and debtor.
Ravaged, ravaged the earth,
despoiled, despoiled,
as the Lord has said.
The earth is mourning, withering,
the world is pining, withering,
the heavens are pining away with the earth.
The earth is defiled
under its inhabitants’ feet,
for they have transgressed the law, violated the precept,
broken the everlasting covenant.
So a curse consumes the earth
and its inhabitants suffer the penalty,
that is why the inhabitants of the earth are burnt up
and few men are left.
The wine is mourning, the vine is pining away,
all glad hearts are sighing.
The merry tambourines are silent,
the sound of revelling is over,
the merry lyre is silent.
They no longer sing over their wine,
the drunkard finds strong drink revolting.
The city of emptiness is in ruins,
the entrance to every house is shut.
There is lamentation in the streets: no wine,
joy quite gone,
gladness banished from the country.
Nothing but rubble in the city,
the gate smashed to pieces;
and so it will be on earth,
among the peoples,
as at the beating of the olive trees,
as at the gleaning of the grapes
when the grape harvest is over.
They lift up their voices, singing for joy;
they acclaim the majesty of the Lord from the sea.
Therefore in the islands they give glory to the Lord,
in the islands of the sea, to the name of the Lord, the God of Israel.
From remotest earth we hear songs, ‘Honour to the upright one.’
But ‘Enough, enough!’ I say.
‘Woe to the traitors who betray,
to the traitors who treacherously betray!’
Terror, the pit, the snare
for you, inhabitants of the earth:
the man who runs away at the cry of terror
shall fall into the pit,
and the man who climbs out of the pit
shall be caught in the snare.


They lift up their voices, they sing for joy;
in the east give glory to the Lord.

O sing to the Lord a new song;
sing to the Lord, all the earth;
in the east give glory to the Lord.

The Ascent of Mount Carmel,
by St John of the Cross

In Christ, God has spoken to us

The principal reason why the Old Law permitted us to ask questions of God, and why prophets and priests had to seek visions and revelations of God, was because at that time faith had no firm foundation and the law of the Gospel was not yet established; and thus it was necessary that men should enquire of God and that he should speak, whether by words or by visions and revelations or whether by figures and images or by many other ways of expressing His meaning. For all that he answered and revealed belonged to the mysteries of our faith and things touching it or leading to it.

But now that the faith is founded in Christ, now that in this era of grace the law of the Gospel has been made manifest, there is no reason to enquire of God in that manner nor for him to speak to us or answer us as he did then. For, in giving us, as he did, his Son, who is his one and only Word, 
he spoke to us once and for all, in this single Word, and he has no occasion to speak further.

And this is the meaning of that passage with which the Letter to the Hebrews begins, trying to persuade the Hebrews that they should abandon those first ways of dealing and communicating with God which are in the law of Moses, and should set their eyes on Christ alone: At various times in the past and in various different ways, God spoke to our ancestors through the prophets; but in our own time, in the last days, he has spoken to us through his Son. That is, God has said so much about so many things through his Word that nothing more is needed, 
since that which he revealed partially in the past through the prophets, he has now revealed completely by giving us the All, which is his Son.

Therefore if someone were now to ask questions of God or seek any vision or revelation, he would not only be acting foolishly but would be committing an offence against God – for he should set his eyes altogether upon Christ and seek nothing beyond Christ.

God might answer him after this manner, saying: This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; listen to him. I have spoken all things to you in my Word. Set your eyes on him alone, for in him I have spoken and revealed to thee all things, and in him you shall find more than you ask for, 
even more than you want.

I descended upon him with my Spirit on Mount Tabor and said This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; listen to him. You have no reason to ask for new teaching or new answers from me because if I spoke to you in the past then it was to promise Christ. If people asked questions of me in the past then their questions were really a desire of Christ and a hope for his coming. For in him they were to find all good things, 
as has now been revealed in the teaching of the Evangelists and the Apostles.


Many nations shall come and say,
Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord:
he will teach us his ways and we will walk in his paths.

The Messiah is coming – he who is called Christ.
When he comes, he will show us all things:
he will teach us his ways and we will walk in his paths.

Let us pray.

Let our prayers rise like incense before you, Lord,
so that we may come in humility and purity of heart
to celebrate the great mystery of your Son’s incarnation.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Let us bless the Lord.
– Thanks be to God.