Day 5: Thursday 6 December 2018

Readings for Thursday of the First Week of Advent 
Is 26:1-6. Ps 117:1, 8-9, 19-21, 25-27, R/ v 26. Mt 7:21, 24-27. www.catholicbishops.ie/readings.

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.

Advent Saint of the Day 
It’s an optional memorial today of Saint Nicholas, a fourth century Bishop of Myra in modern-day Turkey of whom little is known. He is patron of Russia, of sailors, of pawnbrokers and of children. 

Thought for the Day 

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 

This year’s Advent Calendar is providing a special focus on family as part on ongoing reflections following Pope Francis’ visit to Ireland for the World Meeting of Families 2018.

The words we are sharing from Pope Francis today are taken from a morning Mass he celebrated in the chapel of the Santa Marta residence where he spoke about Christian humility saying it is the virtue of the childlike and is never a theatrical humility. The Holy Father went on to speak about the Christmas story and how the leading figures are the small and the humble.

“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.”

During Advent we are sharing family prayers and suggestions for acts of kindness or charity that all of us are encouraged to undertake during the month of December. The Advent Calendar is also also offering tips on how families can care for our common home by having a more sustainable Christmas. 

Advent Random Act of Kindness 

Don’t just buy presents – be present to someone. 

Don’t just wrap gifts – wrap a loved one in a hug. 

Don’t just send gifts – send peace. 

Don’t just see the lights at this time of year – be the light! 

Let’s Be Family – Act of Charity 

Give some time to volunteering with one of the many worthy charities and causes, especially at this time of the year when there are extra demands on their services. 

Let’s Live Advent by Caring for Our Common Home 

Advent and Christmas offer us an opportunity to reflect on how we co-exist with the animal world. In Laudato Si’, Pope Francis says, “If we approach nature and the environment without this openness to awe and wonder, if we no longer speak the language of fraternity and beauty in our relationship with the world, our attitude will be that of masters, consumers, ruthless exploiters, unable to set limits on their immediate needs. By contrast, if we feel intimately united with all that exists, then sobriety and care will well up spontaneously.”

Look out for the birds and other small wild animals over the winter period. 

Advent Prayers

Our Prayer Intention for the Day to Pray Together 

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.

We ask this through Christ, Our Lord. 

Amen 

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.

Lord God,
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.

Amen.

prayer word 1

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 Book Recommendation – Something Within

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

christmas music 3

Advent Music 
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!

 

 

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