Happy First Week of Advent! How has the Advent novena been going? Have you realized that you’re beginning to memorize it? In case you’ve lost it, here it is:
Hail and blessed be the hour and moment
in which the Son of God
was born of the most pure Virgin Mary,
at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold.
In that hour, vouchsafe, O my God!
to hear my prayer and grant my desires,
through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ,
and of His Blessed Mother. Amen
We say this prayer so that we can heighten our anticipation by remembering and repeating the details of the great event, so that our waiting is more and more informed by the miraculous events which occurred for our salvation. We need to be waiting with delight and hope. The waiting of Advent calls us to take action, but Godly action, which is solemn—even liturgical. Thus the reason we pray, and enter our interior room, so that we can place ourselves in that place where the manger was which welcomed the Bread of Life—our Lord Jesus Christ.
The picture included here is of the grotto under the Church of the Nativity, which is the actual Cave where God was born as a man. An Altar is over the fourteen-pointed Star which marks the place where Mary laid Jesus. When I visited the grotto I placed the paten and chalice I use at mass in the space within the star. Next time you are praying at mass during the Eucharistic prayer meditate on the idea that the chalice and paten you see on the altar were at the very place where the body and blood, soul and divinity of our Lord Jesus Christ appeared on earth— and now the miracle of that real presence occurs in our church here in Stamford. [I will be there again, God willing, in the New Year, as I am leading a pilgrimage to Jordan and the Holy Land in January.]
In the midst of preparation for Christmas, New Year and beyond, may you have a prayer-filled, holy Advent.