It is the upright nation, the faithful people, that will enter the kingdom. To be part of that people each one must hear the word of God and do God’s will.
Audio: Advent Thought for the Day
Each day during Advent we are bringing you an audio Thought for the Day on a different theme. Today’s Thought for the Day is from Brenda Drumm, Communications Officer with the Catholic Communications Office. In this piece written by Father Donal Neary SJ, Brenda shares a reflection on the colour purple associated with Advent and how it is not the purple of mourning.
Click below to listen to the audio.
The Words of Pope Francis
Pope Francis speaking at his morning Mass celebrated in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence on Tuesday 29 November said that true Christian humility is the virtue of the childlike and is never a theatrical humility.
Taking his inspiration from the day’s readings the Pope’s homily was a reflection on how God reveals himself to the humble and childlike rather than the wise and learned as recounted in the gospel of Luke. He noted that the day’s first reading from the book of Isaiah is also full of references to little things such as the small shoot that “shall sprout from the stump of Jesse” rather than an army that will bring about liberation. Pope Francis went on to explain how in the Christmas story too the leading figures are the small and the humble.
“Then at Christmas, we see this smallness, this little thing: a baby, a stable, a mother, a father… little ones. (They have) big hearts but the attitude of a child. And the Spirit of the Lord, the Holy Spirit comes to rest on this shoot and this small shoot will have the virtue of the childlike and the fear of the Lord. He will walk in the fear of the Lord. Fear of the Lord is not terror: no, it is putting into practice God’s commandment that he gave to our father Abram: ‘Live in my presence, be perfect,’ Humble – this is humility, fear of the Lord is humility.”
The Pope stressed that only the childlike are capable of fully understanding the sense of humility and the fear of the Lord because they walk in front of the Lord, watched over and protected, feeling that the Lord gives them the strength to journey forward and this is true humility.
“Living our humility, Christian humility means having this fear of the Lord which, I repeat, is not terror but is:‘You are God, I am a person, I journey forward in this way with the little things of life but walking in Your presence and trying to be perfect.’ Humility is the virtue of the childlike and this is true humility and not a rather theatrical humility: no, not that: the humility of somebody who said: ‘I am humble but proud of being so.’ No, that is not true humility. The humility of the childlike is that of somebody who walks in the presence of the Lord, does not speak badly about others, looks only at serving and feels that he or she is the smallest …. That is where their strength lies.
In the same way, the Pope continued, we see the great humility of that girl to whom God sent His Son and who immediately afterwards hastened to her cousin Elizabeth and who said nothing about what had happened. He said humility is like this, journeying in the presence of the Lord, happy, joyful because they are humble just as we see in today’s gospel reading.
“Looking at Jesus who rejoiced because God reveals his mystery to the humble, we can ask for the grace of humility for all of us, the grace of fear of God, of walking in his presence trying to be perfect. And in this way with this humility, we can be vigilant in prayer, carrying out works of brotherly charity and rejoicing and giving praise.”
Pope Francis on Twitter
“There is so much noise in the world! May we learn to be silent in our hearts and before God.” – @Pontifex
Prayer for the Lighting of the Christmas Tree
This is a short prayer of blessing to be prayed just before the lights are lit for the first time on the Christmas tree and it can be used in schools, homes or places of work:
Lord our God,
we praise you for the light of creation:
the sun, the moon, and the stars of the night.
We praise you for the light of Israel:
the Law, the prophets, and the wisdom of the Scriptures.
We praise you for Jesus Christ, your Son:
he is Emmanuel, God-with-us, the Prince of Peace,
who fills us with the wonder of your love.
let your blessing come upon us
as we illumine this tree.
May the light and cheer it gives
be a sign of the joy that fills our hearts.
May all who delight in this tree
come to the knowledge and joy of salvation.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Sometimes it is a simple word offered, an experience of neighbourly love, or the witness of life on the part of a companion or an acquaintance that enables the person to see Jesus in a new light. (Share the Good News, 32)
Advent Prayer Intentions
1. We pray for those who are sick;
that they may experience
the Lord’s healing touch.
2. We pray for peace, especially in countries ravaged by war;
that nation will not lift sword against nation
and the weapons of war may be replaced
by instruments of peace.
Advent Prayers for Schools
- Class Prayer
God our Father,
Help us to feel all the happiness your Son brings,
and to celebrate his coming with Joy Amen.
- Staff Prayer
Loving God, as we gather here today we ask you to be with us.
Journey with us this Advent time and guide us so that we may strive
not so much to teach as to awaken, not so much to instruct as to
inspire. Give us courage and wisdom as we work here in (name of school),
so that this community is one of vision and joy. Amen
Advent Appeal – Archdiocese of Dublin
Archbishop Diarmuid Martin is asking parishioners throughout the Archdiocese of Dublin to donate food to help stock Crosscare Food Banks in the weeks leading up to Christmas. This is the fourth Annual Diocesan Christmas Food Appeal. Demand on the Food Banks continues to increase and the situation is once again urgent.
Last year, thanks to the enormous generosity of parishioners, Crosscare distributed more than 10,000 hampers – over 1,200 tonnes of non-perishable food items and hygiene products to those most in need, especially families. As demand for food remains high it is hoped that people will respond in a similar manner on the first weekend in December when collections begin.
Crosscare, is the social care agency of the Archdiocese of Dublin. It operates seven Food Banks around Dublin – the number of people seeking food supplies during these winter months is particularly demanding and staff are struggling to keep ahead.
In a letter to all priests and parishes in the Archdiocese, Archbishop Martin has strongly commended Crosscare’s initiative, He added, ” Throughout the Jubilee Year of Mercy, which has just closed, Pope Francis has called on the faithful to continue to practice new works of mercy, and to find new ways to give expression to the traditional works reminding us: “the door of mercy of our heart continues to remain wide open. I am asking you once again to help those in need by assisting in the collection of vital food and essentials for the Crosscare Food Banks.”
For more on this appeal see www.dublindiocese.ie
Advent Book Recommendation – Something Within
Something Within is a collection of poems, reflections, sketches, illustrations and vignettes from first-time author Nollaig O’Donnell.
A paean to the simple pleasures of life, such as taking solace in friendships and in the beauty of the natural world, Something Within encourages the reader to cultivate a sense of gratitude, to share in the mystery of existence and to truly savour life’s defining moments – both large and small.
The book, which is published by Veritas, contains this wonderful Advent piece:
Where is the hope
In long, dark days?
No light, nor heat
To lift the soul –
Ere joyful hearts ‘n grateful nations
Rejoice in Christmas Day once more!
For more see www.veritas.ie.
O Come Divine Messiah is a well known Advent hymn. Click here to listen to an instrumental version of it – the lyrics are included so you can sing along if you choose!