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Canticle of Zechariah (Benedictus)

Luke 1:68-79


lessed be the Lord, the God of Israel; he has come to his people and set them free.

He has raised up for us a mighty savior, born of the house of his servant David. Through his holy prophets he promised of old that he would save us from our enemies, from the hands of all who hate us. He promised to show mercy to our fathers and to remember his holy covenant. This was the oath he swore to our father Abraham: to set us free from the hands of our enemies, free to worship him without fear, holy and righteous in his sight all the days of our life. You, my child, shall be called the prophet of the Most High; for you will go before the Lord to prepare his way, to give his people knowledge of salvation by the forgiveness of their sins. In the tender compassion of our God the dawn from on high shall break upon us, to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death, and to guide our feet into the way of peace. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

Give Us This Day


 1 First Week of Advent




2V 3W


St. Francis Xavier ✛ Maura Clarke and Companions Fr. Anthony Gittins

Fr. Michael Casey

Within the Word: Sundays of Advent



4V 5V 6V 7W [St. John Damascene]

✛ St. Francis Xavier Sr. Macrina Wiederkehr


✛ Clement of Alexandria Dorothy Day

✛ St. Christina of Markyate Mary DeTurris Poust

[St. Nicholas]

St. Ambrose

✛ St. Nicholas Nancy Dallavalle

✛ Swami Abhishiktananda Bd. Mother Teresa

Fr. Felix Just

 8 Second Week of Advent

9W 10V

11V 12W 13R 14W

Immaculate Conception

[St. Damasus I]

Our Lady of Guadalupe

✛ Ven. Fulton Sheen Sr. Miriam Pollard

✛ Our Lady of Guadalupe ✛ St. Lucy ✛ St. John of the Cross Card. Timothy Dolan Michelle Francl-Donnay Fr. Lawrence Mick


Jessica Powers

Within the Word: Voice in the Wilderness

Bp. Robert Morneau

✛ Thomas Merton Diana Gaillardetz

St. Lucy

St. John of the Cross

Fr. J. Patrick Mullen

15 Third Week of Advent

16V 17V


18V 19V 20V 21V [St. Peter Canisius]

✛ Mechthild of Magdeburg Mary Stommes

Guerric of Igny

Within the Word: Tamar

✛ St. Lazarus Fr. James Wallace

✛ Sr. Alicia Domon Sr. Ruth Burrows

✛ Meister Eckhart Fr. Paul Turner

✛ Origen Caryll Houselander

✛ Martyrs of Acteal Mahri Leonard-Fleckman

Sr. Irene Nowell

22 Fourth Week of Advent– Octave of Christmas

25W 26R 27W 28R

[St. John of Kanty]

Nativity of the Lord

St. Stephen

St. John

Holy Innocents

Sr. Barbara Reid

✛ St. Stephen Fr. Timothy Radcliffe

✛ St. John Rita Ferrone

✛ Holy Innocents St. Quodvultdeus

✛ St. Marguerite d’Youville Brian Doyle

Catherine de Hueck Doherty

Within the Word: Christmas Cards of the Gospels   Fr. Daniel Durken

29 Octave of Christmas

23V 24V


Within the Word: Anna

Nativity of the Lord

St. John Chrysostom

[St. Sylvester I] ✛ John Main Sr. Katherine Howard

Pheme Perkins

Key ✛ Blessed Among Us by Robert Ellsberg Reflection /Within the Word Author [ ] Optional Memorial Vestment colors: R Red  V Violet  W White


30W 31W


Holy Family Christopher Pramuk

Deacon Greg Kandra

✛ St. John Francis Regis Sr. Pat Kozak

December 2013

ThısDay Give Us



Editorial Advisors

James Martin, SJ ◆ Irene Nowell, OSB Bishop Robert F. Morneau ◆ Timothy Radcliffe, OP Kathleen Norris ◆ Ronald Rolheiser, OMI Peter Dwyer, Publisher Mary Stommes, Editor Catherine Donovan, Associate Publisher Nancy Bauer, OSB, Assistant Editor Robert Ellsberg, “Blessed Among Us” Author Irene Nowell, OSB, Scripture Editor, Morning and Evening Susan Barber, OSB, Intercessions Customer Service: 888-259-8470, Give Us This Day, Liturgical Press PO Box 7500, Collegeville, MN 56321-7500 © 2013 by the Order of Saint Benedict, Collegeville, Minnesota. Printed in the United States of America.

Give Us This Day® (ISSN 2159-2136, print; 2166-0654, large print; 2159-2128, online) is published monthly by Liturgical Press, an apostolate of Saint John’s Abbey, Collegeville, Minnesota. Rev. John Klassen, OSB, Abbot. For complete publication information see page 380. Published with the approval of the Committee on Divine Worship, United States Conference of Catholic Bishops.


December 2013 ◆ Volume 3, Issue 12

The Challenge of Waiting  Kathleen Norris  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   5 Teach Us to Pray: Praying with the Holy Family  Fr. James Martin  . . . . . . . .   7 O Wisdom  Sr. Genevieve Glen  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   8 Prayers and Blessings  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   10 Prayer at Night  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   14 Daily Prayer  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   17 Order of Mass  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   339 Liturgy of the Word (with Holy Communion)  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   366 Hymns  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   369 Guide to Lectio Divina  . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .   376


Sunday, December 15

Morning O Lord, open my lips. And my mouth will proclaim your praise. Psalm 148:1-6 Alleluia!

(opt. hymn, pp. 369–75)

Praise the Lord from the heavens; praise him in the heights. Praise him, all his angels; praise him, all his hosts. Praise him, sun and moon; praise him, all shining stars. Praise him, highest heavens, and the waters above the heavens. Let them praise the name of the Lord. He commanded: they were created. He established them forever and ever, gave a law which shall not pass away. Glory to the Father .  .  . Isaiah 61:8-9 Scripture , the Lord, love justice, / I hate robbery and wrongdoing; / I will faithfully give them their recompense, / an everlasting covenant I will make with them. / Their offspring shall be renowned among the nations, / and their descendants in the midst of the peoples; / All who see them shall


Illustration by Frank Kacmarcik, OblSB.

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acknowledge them: / “They are offspring the Lord has blessed.” Read, Ponder, Pray on a word or phrase from today’s Scripture (Lectio Divina, p. 376)

Antiphon Here is your God, who comes to save you. Canticle of Zechariah (inside front cover) Intercessions God of justice, we eagerly await the coming of Christ, and we pray: r. Fill our hearts with joy, O Lord. Deepen the gifts of contemplation, justice, and charity in your Church. r. Open the hearts of all believers to belief in your unconditional love. r. Relieve those who suffer distress, persecution, or grave sorrow. r. Our Father .  .  . May God make us steadfast in faith, joyful in hope, and unwavering in love all the days of our lives. Amen.

Mass Third Sunday of Advent

Entrance Antiphon Philippians 4:4-5 Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. / Indeed, the Lord is near. (The Gloria is omitted.)

Collect O God, who see how your people faithfully await the feast of the Lord’s Nativity, enable us, we pray, to attain the joys of so great a salvation and to celebrate them always with solemn worship and glad rejoicing. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. A reading from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah 35:1-6a, 10 God himself will come to save us. he 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


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opened, / the ears of the deaf be cleared; / then will the lame leap like a stag, / then the tongue of the mute will sing. 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. The word of the Lord. 146:6-7, 8-9, 9-10 Responsorial Psalm r. (cf. Isaiah 35:4) Lord, come and save us. or: r. Alleluia.

The Lord God keeps faith forever, secures justice for the oppressed, gives food to the hungry. The Lord sets captives free. r. The Lord gives sight to the blind; the Lord raises up those who were bowed down. The Lord loves the just; the Lord protects strangers. r. The fatherless and the widow he sustains, but the way of the wicked he thwarts. The Lord shall reign forever; your God, O Zion, through all generations. r. A reading from the Letter of Saint James 5:7-10 Make your hearts firm, because the coming of the Lord is at hand. e patient, brothers and sisters, until the coming of the Lord. See how the farmer waits for the precious fruit of the earth, being patient with it until it receives the early and the late rains. You too must be patient. Make your hearts firm, because the coming of the Lord is at hand. Do not complain, brothers and sisters, about one another, that


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you may not be judged. Behold, the Judge is standing before the gates. Take as an example of hardship and patience, brothers and sisters, the prophets who spoke in the name of the Lord. The word of the Lord. Isaiah 61:1 (cited in Luke 4:18) Gospel Acclamation The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring glad tidings to the poor.

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew 11:2-11

Are you the one who is to come or should we look for another?


hen John the Baptist heard in prison of the works of the Christ, he sent his disciples to Jesus with this question, “Are you the one who is to come, or should we look for another?” Jesus said to them in reply, “Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind regain their sight, the lame walk, lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the poor have the good news proclaimed to them. And blessed is the one who takes no offense at me.” As they were going off, Jesus began to speak to the crowds about John, “What did you go out to the desert to see? A reed swayed by the wind? Then what did you go out to see? Someone dressed in fine clothing? Those who wear fine clothing are in royal palaces. Then why did you go out? To see a prophet? Yes, I tell you, and more than a prophet. This is the one about whom it is written: / Behold, I am sending my messenger ahead of you; / he will prepare your way before you. / Amen, I say to you, among those born of women there

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has been none greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” The Gospel of the Lord. Creed (p. 342) Prayer over the Offerings May the sacrifice of our worship, Lord, we pray, be offered to you unceasingly, to complete what was begun in sacred mystery and powerfully accomplish for us your saving work. Through Christ our Lord. Communion Antiphon Cf. Isaiah 35:4 Say to the faint of heart: Be strong and do not fear. / Behold, our God will come, and he will save us. Prayer after Communion We implore your mercy, Lord, that this divine sustenance may cleanse us of our faults and prepare us for the coming feasts. Through Christ our Lord.

Reflection Rejoice in the One Who Comes Our King and Saviour is coming; let us run to meet him! Good news from a far country, in the words of Solomon, is like cold water to a thirsty soul ; and he brings good news indeed who announces the coming of our Saviour and the reconciliation of the world, together with the good things of the life to come.  .  .  .

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Let us too arise with joy and run in spirit to meet our Saviour. Hailing him from afar, let us worship him, saying: We have waited for you, Lord, be our stronghold, our salvation in time of trouble. This was how the prophets and holy men of old, filled with immense desire to see with their eyes what they already saw in spirit, ran to meet the Messiah. We must look forward to the day, so soon to come, on which we celebrate the anniversary of Christ’s birth. Scripture itself insists on the joy which must fill us—a joy which will lift our spirit out of itself in longing for his coming, impatient of delay as it strains forward to see even now what the future holds in store. I believe that the many texts of Scripture which urge us to go out to meet him speak of Christ’s first coming as well as his second. This may raise a query in your mind. Surely, however, we are to understand that as our bodies will rise up rejoicing at his second coming, so our hearts must run forward in joy to greet his first. Guerric of Igny, Sermon 2 Guerric of Igny (ca. 1070–1157) was educated in the humanities and theology. He visited the Cistercian abbey of Clairvaux as a seasoned scholar, with no intention of abandoning academic life for the cloister. Urged to stay by Abbot Bernard, however, Guerric became a monk. He was elected abbot of Igny in 1138.

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Sunday  163



God, come to my assistance. Lord, make haste to help me. (opt. hymn, pp. 369–75)

Psalm 139:1-10 O Lord, you search me and you know me. You yourself know my resting and my rising; you discern my thoughts from afar. You mark when I walk or lie down; you know all my ways through and through. Before ever a word is on my tongue, you know it, O Lord, through and through. Behind and before, you besiege me, your hand ever laid upon me. Too wonderful for me, this knowledge; too high, beyond my reach. O where can I go from your spirit, or where can I flee from your face? If I climb the heavens, you are there. If I lie in the grave, you are there. If I take the wings of the dawn or dwell at the sea’s furthest end, even there your hand would lead me; your right hand would hold me fast. Glory to the Father .  .  .

Hebrews 10:36-39 Scripture ou need endurance to do the will of God and receive what he has promised. / “For, after just a brief moment, / he who is to come shall come; / he shall not delay. / But my just one shall live by faith, / and if he draws back I take no pleasure in him.” / We are not among those who draw back and perish, but among those who have faith and will possess life.

Read, Ponder, Pray on a word or phrase from today’s Scripture (Lectio Divina, p. 376)

Antiphon Make your hearts firm, because the coming of the Lord is at hand. Canticle of Mary (inside back cover) Intercessions God, you know us and we belong to you. In hope and trust we pray: r. Deepen our faith, O God. Satisfy our hunger for you. r. Enlarge the horizon of your Church. r. Calm the fears of those who sojourn to new places. r. Our Father .  .  . May God fill our hearts with peace and gladness and grant us endurance to do God’s will. Amen.

December 15–21 Third Week of Advent

Within the Word Tamar Chances are that when you hear the genealogy of Jesus in Matthew’s Gospel, Tamar is just another forgettable name in the long list. What do we know about Tamar? What can we possibly learn from this woman who is one of Jesus’ greatgrandmothers? She is a crafty and daring woman. When not only she but her dead husband are treated unjustly, she takes matters into her own hands and shocks us with her solution. The story, as it is told in Genesis 38, begins when Judah takes Tamar as a wife for his eldest son, Er. Er, however, offended God in some unreported way and subsequently died. According to custom and law a dead man’s brother is required to marry his widow and raise up children for his brother (see Deut 25:5). So Tamar is given to Judah’s second son, Onan. But Onan does not want to father children who will not be counted as his own, so he refuses to impregnate Tamar. His actions offend God, and he also dies. Now Tamar is twice widowed. But Judah still has a third son, Shelah. What do you suppose? Will Judah want to give Tamar to this third son? Will Shelah be eager to raise up sons for his brother? No way! Judah thinks this woman is dangerous. He makes the excuse that Shelah is too young and sends Tamar back to her father’s home. On the one hand Tamar is fortunate. Often women could not go back to their family home. Parents might be dead or might not want an unmarriageable female in need of support. On the other hand Tamar is caught. She cannot marry anyone else because she is committed to Shelah. She is completely 164


dependent on Judah. Does she sit home and mope? No! She waits for an opportunity to set things right. She is still faithful to Er, her first husband. Tamar waits until Shelah is grown up and Judah’s wife has died. All along she has been keeping tabs on her father-in-law, so when she hears that he is on his way to a sheep-shearing in Timnah she knows it is time to act. She disguises herself and waits at a crossroads for Judah to pass by. When he sees her he assumes she is a prostitute. So, in the Bible’s shortest business deal, he propositions her, and she asks for the ancient equivalent of “three valid forms of identification”: his staff, seal, and cord. A few months later Tamar is discovered to be pregnant. Judah condemns her to death for adultery. (Remember, she is committed to Shelah.) But on the way to execution Tamar produces the evidence that identifies Judah as the father. Judah is to be admired for his response: “She is more righteous than I.” In time Tamar gives birth to twins, the eldest of whom is an ancestor of David. What can we learn from this racy story? Tamar is righteous, as Judah says, because she has honored the rights of her dead husband. Her method is unorthodox, but her motive is just. In a world where women appear rarely in genealogies, Tamar is the exception. She is named in the women’s blessing of Ruth (Ruth 4:12) and in Matthew’s genealogy. She is a woman who risks everything—reputation and life—to raise children for her dead husband. A bold and inventive woman indeed, and we are grateful—since one of her great-grandsons is our close personal friend and Savior! —Sr. Irene Nowell Irene Nowell, OSB, a member of Mount Saint Scholastica Monastery in Atchison, Kansas, is author of Pleading, Cursing, Praising: Conversing with God through the Psalms. She is an adjunct professor of Scripture at Saint John’s School of Theology•Seminary and a frequent retreat director.

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Monday, December 16

Morning O Lord, open my lips. And my mouth will proclaim your praise. (opt. hymn, pp. 369–75)

Psalm 83:2-3, 14-19 O God, do not be silent; do not be still and unmoved, O God. For your enemies raise a tumult; those who hate you lift up their heads.

My God, scatter them like the whirlwind, drive them like chaff in the wind! As fire that burns away the forest, as the flame that sets the mountains ablaze, drive them away with your tempest, and fill them with terror at your storm. Cover their faces with shame, so that they seek your name, O Lord. Shame and terror be theirs forever. Let them be disgraced; let them perish! Let them know that you alone, you whose name is the Lord, are the Most High over all the earth. Glory to the Father .  .  . Wisdom 6:2-3, 6-8 Scripture ive ear, you who have power over multitudes / and lord it over throngs of peoples! / Because authority was given you by the Lord / and sovereignty by the Most High,


/ who shall probe your works and scrutinize your counsels! / For the lowly may be pardoned out of mercy / but the mighty shall be mightily put to the test. / For the Ruler of all shows no partiality, / nor does he fear greatness, / Because he himself made the great as well as the small, / and provides for all alike; / but for those in power a rigorous scrutiny impends. Read, Ponder, Pray on a word or phrase from today’s Scripture (Lectio Divina, p. 376)

Antiphon The chief priests and the elders challenged Jesus’ authority. Canticle of Zechariah (inside front cover) Intercessions Lord God, your love is supreme above the earth. In hope we pray: r. O God, hear us. Counsel our Church leaders, and fill them with every gift of your Spirit. r. Inspire catechists, teachers, and all who nurture faith in the young. r. Unite people of all faiths in the pursuit of justice for the poor. r. Our Father .  .  . May God enrich us in every way to be generous and loving, for the glory of God. Amen.

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Blessed Among Us


Mechthild of Magdeburg Mystic (ca. 1210–ca. 1282)

Mechthild of Magdeburg, a German mystic of the thirteenth century, is known to us entirely through The Flowing Light of the Godhead, a kind of spiritual journal, written in her own hand, which she continuously amended over the course of her life. At the age of twenty she left her wealthy family near Magdeburg in Saxony to join a house of Beguines—a movement of women who fashioned an independent religious life without rules or enclosure or ecclesiastical approval. In her writings, which were copied and widely circulated, she offered a vivid account of her dialogues with Christ, along with unsparing criticism of ecclesial worldliness and corruption: “Alas! Crown of holy Church, how tarnished you have become.  .  .  . Alas crown of holy priesthood, you have dis­ appeared, and you have nothing left but your external shape—namely, priestly power—with this you do battle against God and His chosen friends.” Not surprisingly, such sentiments attracted negative attention, so that she described herself as “a post or target at which people throw stones.” At the age of sixty she left the Beguines for the safe haven of the Cistercian convent in Helfta. There, almost blind, she was welcomed and cared for until her death. Mechthild’s life of intimacy with God brought with it much loneliness and estrangement from the world. She accepted the price along with the rewards of her vocation. “Fish cannot drown in water. Birds cannot sink in air. This has God given to all creatures, to foster and seek their own nature. How then can I withstand mine?” —Mechthild of Magdeburg

Monday of the Third Week of Advent Cf. Jeremiah 31:10; Isaiah 35:4 Entrance Antiphon Hear the word of the Lord, O nations; / declare it to the distant lands: / Behold, our Savior will come; you need no longer fear.

Collect Incline a merciful ear to our cry, we pray, O Lord, and, casting light on the darkness of our hearts, visit us with the grace of your Son. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. A reading from the Book of Numbers 24:2-7, 15-17a A star shall advance from Jacob. hen Balaam raised his eyes and saw Israel encamped, tribe by tribe, the spirit of God came upon him, and he gave voice to his oracle: / The utterance of Balaam, son of Beor, / the utterance of a man whose eye is true, / The utterance of one who hears what God says, / and knows what the Most High knows, / Of one who sees what the Almighty sees, / enraptured, and with eyes unveiled: / How goodly are your tents, O Jacob; / your encampments, O Israel! / They are like gardens beside a stream, / like the cedars planted by the Lord. / His wells shall yield free-flowing waters, / he shall have the sea within reach; / His king shall rise higher, / and his royalty shall be exalted. Then Balaam gave voice to his oracle: / The utterance of Balaam, son of Beor, / the utterance of the man whose eye is true, / The utterance of one who hears what God says, /


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and knows what the Most High knows, / Of one who sees what the Almighty sees, / enraptured, and with eyes unveiled. / I see him, though not now; / I behold him, though not near: / A star shall advance from Jacob, / and a staff shall rise from Israel. The word of the Lord. 25:4-5ab, 6 and 7bc, 8-9 Responsorial Psalm r. (4) Teach me your ways, O Lord.

Your ways, O Lord, make known to me; teach me your paths, Guide me in your truth and teach me, for you are God my savior. r.

Prayer over the Offerings Accept, we pray, O Lord, these offerings we make, gathered from among your gifts to us, and may what you grant us to celebrate devoutly here below gain for us the prize of eternal redemption. Through Christ our Lord.

Remember that your compassion, O Lord, and your kindness are from of old. In your kindness remember me, because of your goodness, O Lord. r. Good and upright is the Lord; thus he shows sinners the way. He guides the humble to justice, he teaches the humble his way. r. Gospel Acclamation Show us, Lord, your love, and grant us your salvation.

Communion Antiphon Cf. Psalm 106 (105):4-5; Isaiah 38:3 Come, O Lord, visit us in peace, / that we may rejoice before you with a blameless heart. Psalm 85:8

A reading from the holy Gospel according to Matthew 21:23-27

John’s baptism: where did it come from? hen Jesus had come into the temple area, the chief priests and the elders of the people approached him as he was teaching and said, “By what authority are you


doing these things? And who gave you this authority?” Jesus said to them in reply, “I shall ask you one question, and if you answer it for me, then I shall tell you by what authority I do these things. Where was John’s baptism from? Was it of heavenly or of human origin?” They discussed this among themselves and said, “If we say ‘Of heavenly origin,’ he will say to us, ‘Then why did you not believe him?’ But if we say, ‘Of human origin,’ we fear the crowd, for they all regard John as a prophet.” So they said to Jesus in reply, “We do not know.” He himself said to them, “Neither shall I tell you by what authority I do these things.” The Gospel of the Lord.

Prayer after Communion May these mysteries, O Lord, in which we have participated, profit us, we pray, for even now, as we walk amid passing things, you teach us by them to love the things of heaven and hold fast to what endures. Through Christ our Lord.

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Reflection We Can See God’s House From Here Gifted with particularly sharp vision as he was, the seer Balaam would have been at home piled in the backseat of our family sedan. And I mean piled. As many as ten of us shared the space at times. Window seats were coveted, since the ride home always included a contest to see who would be the first to spot our house. The first to see started the chant: “I can see our house from here!” If one could see, then all could see, and the chant grew louder and more rapid and continued until we pulled in the driveway: “I can see our house from here. I can see our house from here. Icanseeourhousefromhere. Icanseeourhousefromhere.” A number of us, despite being at the bottom center of the backseat heap with a view of only backsides and elbows, could still “see” our house more than five miles away. In our mind and heart, we could see it, and so it was there. Balaam did not have the best vantage point to see and hear all that he did either. He was not an Israelite (think: bottom center of a heap), yet God still used him as a mouthpiece. Summoned by an enemy king to curse the Israelites, Balaam can utter only blessing. What God says is true, Balaam knows to be true. What God sees, Balaam sees too. Balaam sees the Israelites encamped in the desert but so much more: “a king that will rise and be exalted” .  .  . “a star that will advance from Jacob and a staff that will rise from Israel.” In this third week of Advent, do you see what Balaam sees? Rather, who Balaam sees? God incarnate, dwelling among us in the humble abode of a newborn baby. We can see God’s house from here. Mary Stommes Mary Stommes is editor of Give Us This Day.

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Evening God, come to my assistance. Lord, make haste to help me. (opt. hymn, pp. 369–75)

Psalm 29:1-4, 7-11 Ascribe to the Lord, you heavenly powers, ascribe to the Lord glory and strength. Ascribe to the Lord the glory of his name; bow down before the Lord, majestic in holiness. The voice of the Lord upon the waters, the God of glory thunders; the Lord on the immensity of waters; the voice of the Lord full of power; the voice of the Lord full of splendor. The voice of the Lord flashes flames of fire. The voice of the Lord shakes the wilderness, the Lord shakes the wilderness of Kadesh; the voice of the Lord rends the oak tree and strips the forest bare. In his temple they all cry, “Glory!” The Lord sat enthroned above the flood; the Lord sits as king forever. The Lord will give strength to his people, the Lord will bless his people with peace. Glory to the Father .  .  .

2 Peter 1:16-19 Scripture e did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we had been eyewitnesses of his majesty.


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For he received honor and glory from God the Father when that unique declaration came to him from the majestic glory, “This is my Son, my beloved, with whom I am well pleased.” We ourselves heard this voice come from heaven while we were with him on the holy mountain. Moreover, we possess the prophetic message that is altogether reliable. You will do well to be attentive to it, as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts. Read, Ponder, Pray on a word or phrase from today’s Scripture (Lectio Divina, p. 376)

Antiphon A star shall advance from Jacob and a scepter shall rise from Israel. Canticle of Mary (inside back cover) Intercessions God, you call all people to yourself. We praise you, and we pray: r. God of goodness, hear us. Give us insight as we ponder the voices of the prophets in Scripture. r. Animate faith communities in evangelization and in outreach to the needy. r. Protect the homeless from inclement weather. r. Our Father .  .  . May the God of hope fill us with all joy and peace in believing, so that we may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Amen.


Tuesday, December 17

Morning O Lord, open my lips. And my mouth will proclaim your praise. (opt. hymn, pp. 369–75)

Psalm 77:2-4, 11-16 I cry aloud to God, cry aloud to God that he may hear me.

In the day of my distress I seek the Lord. In the night my hands are raised unwearied; my soul refuses comfort. As I remember my God, I groan. I ponder, and my spirit faints. I said, “This is what causes my grief: that the right hand of the Most High has changed.” I remember the deeds of the Lord, I remember your wonders of old; I muse on all your works, and ponder your mighty deeds. Your way, O God, is in the holy place. What god is as great as our God? You are the God who works wonders. Among the peoples you showed your power. Your strong arm redeemed your people, the descendants of Jacob and Joseph. Glory to the Father .  .  .

176  December 17

Scripture Sirach 24:1-6 isdom sings her own praises, / among her own people she proclaims her glory. / In the assembly of the Most High she opens her mouth, / in the presence of his host she tells of her glory: “From the mouth of the Most High I came forth, / and covered the earth like a mist. / In the heights of heaven I dwelt, / and my throne was in a pillar of cloud. / The vault of heaven I compassed alone, / and walked through the deep abyss. / Over waves of the sea, over all the land, / over every people and nation I held sway.”


Read, Ponder, Pray on a word or phrase from today’s Scripture (Lectio Divina, p. 376)

Antiphon Whoever obeys Wisdom will not be put to shame. Canticle of Zechariah (inside front cover) Intercessions Lord God, we remember your mighty works, and we pray: r. Come to us, Wisdom of God. Guide our Church leaders along the path of reconciliation and unity. r. Help us to counter the culture of busyness and frenzy with mindfulness and peace. r. Grant integrity, knowledge, and humility to researchers and scientists. r. Our Father .  .  . May God dwell in our hearts through faith and bless us with peace, hope, and joy. Amen.

Tuesday  177

Blessed Among Us St. Lazarus

Jesus’ Friend (First Century) Lazarus and his sisters Martha and Mary often entertained Jesus in their home in Bethany. More than simply devoted followers, they were truly his friends. Thus, when Lazarus fell ill his sisters hastened to notify Jesus. But he did not hasten to come. After deliberately dawdling, he arrived some days later to find Lazarus already dead and buried. The sisters’ greeting implied a reproach: “If you had been here our brother would not have died.” Nevertheless, Jesus proclaimed: “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me shall live even though he dies.” After instructing that the stone be rolled away from the tomb, Jesus issued a command: “Lazarus, come out!” Deep in the darkness there was unmistakable movement; Lazarus emerged, alive again. How Lazarus made use of this new gift is unknown. John reports that this extraordinary sign added new fuel to the hatred of Jesus’ enemies, who began to plot not only his death but that of Lazarus as well. Various legends describe the later post-Easter adventures of Lazarus—whether preaching in Cyprus or, according to more fanciful accounts, escaping with Mary Magdalene to the south of France. The Gospels record no words of Lazarus. He serves silently as a powerful witness to Christ’s power over death, and as the first to respond to Christ’s call—addressed to all of us—to leave behind the ways of deadness, to embrace the Risen Life. “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.” —John 11:11

178  December 17

Tuesday  179

Mass Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent

72:1-2, 3-4ab, 7-8, 17 Responsorial Psalm r. (see 7) Justice shall flourish in his time, and fullness of peace for ever.

Cf. Isaiah 49:13 Entrance Antiphon Rejoice, O heavens, and exult, O earth, / for our Lord will come to show mercy to his poor.

O God, with your judgment endow the king, and with your justice, the king’s son; He shall govern your people with justice and your afflicted ones with judgment. r.

Collect O God, Creator and Redeemer of human nature, who willed that your Word should take flesh in an ever-virgin womb, look with favor on our prayers, that your Only Begotten Son, having taken to himself our humanity, may be pleased to grant us a share in his divinity. Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.

The mountains shall yield peace for the people, and the hills justice. He shall defend the afflicted among the people, save the children of the poor. r.

A reading from the Book of Genesis 49:2, 8-10 The scepter shall not depart from Judah. acob called his sons and said to them: / “Assemble and listen, sons of Jacob, / listen to Israel, your father. “You, Judah, shall your brothers praise / —your hand on the neck of your enemies; / the sons of your father shall bow down to you. / Judah, like a lion’s whelp, / you have grown up on prey, my son. / He crouches like a lion recumbent, / the king of beasts—who would dare rouse him? / The scepter shall never depart from Judah, / or the mace from between his legs, / While tribute is brought to him, / and he receives the people’s homage.” The word of the Lord.


Justice shall flower in his days, and profound peace, till the moon be no more. May he rule from sea to sea, and from the River to the ends of the earth. r. May his name be blessed forever; as long as the sun his name shall remain. In him shall all the tribes of the earth be blessed; all the nations shall proclaim his happiness. r. Gospel Acclamation O Wisdom of our God Most High, guiding creation with power and love: come to teach us the path of knowledge! A reading from the beginning of the holy Gospel according to Matthew 1:1-17 The genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David. he book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham. Abraham became the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers. Judah


180  December 17

became the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar. Perez became the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram, Ram the father of Amminadab. Amminadab became the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon, Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab. Boaz became the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth. Obed became the father of Jesse, Jesse the father of David the king. David became the father of Solomon, whose mother had been the wife of Uriah. Solomon became the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asaph. Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, Joram the father of Uzziah. Uzziah became the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah. Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amos, Amos the father of Josiah. Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers at the time of the Babylonian exile. After the Babylonian exile, Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel, Zerubbabel the father of Abiud. Abiud became the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor, Azor the father of Zadok. Zadok became the father of Achim, Achim the father of Eliud, Eliud the father of Eleazar. Eleazar became the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Christ. Thus the total number of generations from Abraham to David is fourteen generations; from David to the Babylonian exile, fourteen generations; from the Babylonian exile to the Christ, fourteen generations. The Gospel of the Lord.

Tuesday  181

Prayer over the Offerings Sanctify these gifts of your Church, O Lord, and grant that through these venerable mysteries we may be nourished with the bread of heaven. Through Christ our Lord. Communion Antiphon Cf. Haggai 2:7 Behold, the Desired of all the nations will come, / and the house of the Lord will be filled with glory. Prayer after Communion Nourished by these divine gifts, almighty God, we ask you to grant our desire: that, aflame with your Spirit, we may shine like bright torches before your Christ when he comes. Who lives and reigns for ever and ever.

Reflection Matthew’s Roll Call I love reading aloud Matthew’s genealogy with its listing of forty-two names. I didn’t always. At first it was intimidating, especially such monikers as Rehoboam, Amminadab, ­Jehoshaphat, Shealtiel, and Zerubbabel. But these eventually became favorites, sounding so rhythmic, even musical. Here we have the family tree with the series of branches that blossomed into Jesus—three sets of fourteen names, taking us from father in faith Abraham to royal favorite David to the tragic exile in Babylon to Joseph the Just, husband of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Matthew collapses salvation history into a roll call.

182  December 17

Of particular interest are the names of five women. Four were Gentiles, each having her own fascinating story: wily Tamar, who seduced her father-in-law when he refused her right to wed his last son; the prostitute Rahab, whose courage led her to conceal Joshua’s spies, winning her a place in Israel’s heart; the loyal Ruth, who left her own people to care for her mother-in-law Naomi; and Bathsheba, whose name Matthew won’t even mention, as if blaming her rather than Israel’s darling David, who impregnated her, then sent her husband Uriah to his death. Finally, there is Mary, teenage mother of the Messiah. Matthew’s listing links Jesus with the world of Chosen People Israel and the world of the Gentiles, reminding us he came for all. His family, like most families, was a mess, a mix of saints and sinners, brokenness and fidelity, shame and glory. Into this clan came the Savior, as he continues to come, yesterday, today, and always. Fr. James Wallace James A. Wallace, CSsR, PhD, is a member of the preaching team at San Alfonso Retreat House in Long Branch, New Jersey.

Tuesday  183

Evening God, come to my assistance. Lord, make haste to help me. (opt. hymn, pp. 369–75)

Psalm 6 O Lord, do not rebuke me in your anger; reprove me not in your rage. Have mercy on me, Lord, for I languish. Lord, heal me; my bones are shaking, and my soul is greatly shaken.

But you, O Lord, how long? Return, Lord, rescue my soul. Save me in your merciful love. For in death there is no remembrance of you; from the grave, who can give you praise? I am exhausted with my groaning; every night I drench my bed with tears, I bedew my couch with weeping. My eyes waste away with grief; I have grown old surrounded by all my foes. Leave me, all who do evil, for the Lord heeds the sound of my weeping. The Lord has heard my plea; the Lord will receive my prayer. All my foes will be shamed and greatly shaken, suddenly put to shame. Glory to the Father .  .  .

The Order of Mass ❙❚ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. ❙❚ Amen. Greeting A The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all. And with your spirit. B Grace to you and peace from God our Father

and the Lord Jesus Christ. And with your spirit.

C The Lord be with you.

And with your spirit.

Penitential Act Brethren (brothers and sisters), let us acknowledge our sins, and so prepare ourselves to celebrate the sacred mysteries. (Pause) A I confess to almighty God

and to you, my brothers and sisters, that I have greatly sinned, in my thoughts and in my words, in what I have done and in what I have failed to do,

  And, striking their breast, they say:

through my fault, through my fault, through my most grievous fault;   Then they continue: 339

340  The Order of Mass

The Order of Mass  341

therefore I ask blessed Mary ever-Virgin, all the Angels and Saints, and you, my brothers and sisters, to pray for me to the Lord our God. B Have mercy on us, O Lord. For we have sinned against you.

Show us, O Lord, your mercy. And grant us your salvation. These or other invocations may be used.

C You were sent to heal the contrite of heart:

Lord, have mercy. Or: Kyrie, eleison. Lord, have mercy. Or: Kyrie, eleison.

You came to call sinners: Christ, have mercy. Or: Christe, eleison. Christ, have mercy. Or: Christe, eleison. You are seated at the right hand of the Father to   intercede for us: Lord, have mercy. Or: Kyrie, eleison. Lord, have mercy. Or: Kyrie, eleison. ❙❚ May almighty God have mercy on us, forgive us our sins, and bring us to everlasting life. ❙❚ Amen. Kyrie

The Kyrie, eleison (Lord, have mercy) invocations follow, unless they have just occurred in a formula of the Penitential Act.

❙❚  Lord, have mercy. ❙❚  Lord, have mercy.

❙❚  Kyrie, eleison. ❙❚  Kyrie, eleison.

❙❚  Christ, have mercy. ❙❚  Christ, have mercy.

❙❚  Christe, eleison. ❙❚  Christe, eleison.

❙❚  Lord, have mercy. ❙❚  Lord, have mercy.

❙❚  Kyrie, eleison. ❙❚  Kyrie, eleison.

Gloria Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to people of good will. We praise you, we bless you, we adore you, we glorify you, we give you thanks for your great glory, Lord God, heavenly King, O God, almighty Father. Lord Jesus Christ, Only Begotten Son, Lord God, Lamb of God, Son of the Father, you take away the sins of the world, have mercy on us; you take away the sins of the world, receive our prayer; you are seated at the right hand of the Father, have mercy on us. For you alone are the Holy One, you alone are the Lord, you alone are the Most High, Jesus Christ, with the Holy Spirit, in the glory of God the Father. Amen. Collect (Opening Prayer)

Liturgy of the Word First Reading Responsorial Psalm

342  The Order of Mass

Second Reading Gospel Acclamation Gospel Cleanse my heart and my lips, almighty God, that I may worthily proclaim your holy Gospel. ❙❚  The Lord be with you. ❙❚  And with your spirit. ❙❚  A reading from the holy Gospel according to N. ❙❚  Glory to you, O Lord. At the end:

❙❚  The Gospel of the Lord. ❙❚  Praise to you, Lord Jesus Christ. Through the words of the Gospel may our sins be wiped away. Homily Profession of Faith

[The Apostles’ Creed can be found on p. 367]

I believe in one God, the Father almighty, maker of heaven and earth, of all things visible and invisible. I believe in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Only Begotten Son of God, born of the Father before all ages. God from God, Light from Light, true God from true God, begotten, not made, consubstantial with the Father; through him all things were made. For us men and for our salvation he came down from heaven,

The Order of Mass  343  At the words that follow, up to and including and became man, all bow.

and by the Holy Spirit was incarnate of the Virgin Mary, and became man. For our sake he was crucified under Pontius Pilate, he suffered death and was buried, and rose again on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of the Father. He will come again in glory to judge the living and the dead and his kingdom will have no end. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the Lord, the giver of life, who proceeds from the Father and the Son, who with the Father and the Son is adored and glorified, who has spoken through the prophets. I believe in one, holy, catholic and apostolic Church. I confess one Baptism for the forgiveness of sins and I look forward to the resurrection of the dead and the life of the world to come. Amen. Prayer of the Faithful (Bidding Prayers)

Liturgy of the Eucharist Presentation and Preparation of the Gifts Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the bread we offer you: fruit of the earth and work of human hands, it will become for us the bread of life. Blessed be God for ever.

344  The Order of Mass

By the mystery of this water and wine may we come to share in the divinity of Christ who humbled himself to share in our humanity. Blessed are you, Lord God of all creation, for through your goodness we have received the wine we offer you: fruit of the vine and work of human hands, it will become our spiritual drink. Blessed be God for ever. With humble spirit and contrite heart may we be accepted by you, O Lord, and may our sacrifice in your sight this day be pleasing to you, Lord God. Wash me, O Lord, from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. Invitation to Prayer Pray, brethren (brothers and sisters), that my sacrifice and yours may be acceptable to God, the almighty Father. May the Lord accept the sacrifice at your hands for the praise and glory of his name, for our good and the good of all his holy Church. Prayer over the Offerings Eucharistic Prayer ❙❚  The Lord be with you. ❙❚  And with your spirit. ❙❚  Lift up your hearts. ❙❚  We lift them up to the Lord. ❙❚  Let us give thanks to the Lord our God. ❙❚  It is right and just.

Celebration of the Liturgy of the Word [With Holy Communion]

Introductory Rites Introduction

Deacon or lay leader:

We gather here to celebrate the Lord’s Day. Sunday has been called the Lord’s Day because it was on this day that Jesus conquered sin and death and rose to new life. Unfortunately, we are not able to celebrate the Mass today because we do not have a priest. Let us be united in the spirit of Christ with the Church around the world and celebrate our redemption in Christ’s suffering, death, and resurrection. Sign of the Cross Deacon or lay leader:

❙❚ In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit. ❙❚ Amen. Greeting

Deacon or lay leader:

❙❚ Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Blessed be God for ever. ❙❚  Blessed be God for ever. Collect

Liturgy of the Word

First Reading Responsorial Psalm Second Reading Gospel Acclamation Gospel Homily or Reflection on the Readings 366

Celebration of the Liturgy of the Word  367

Period of Silence Profession of Faith

[The Nicene Creed can be found on p. 342]

Apostles’ Creed I believe in God, the Father almighty, Creator of heaven and earth, and in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord.  At the words that follow, up to and including the Virgin Mary, all bow.

who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died and was buried; he descended into hell; on the third day he rose again from the dead; he ascended into heaven, and is seated at the right hand of God the Father almighty; from there he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and life everlasting. Amen. Prayer of the Faithful

Communion Rite Lord’s Prayer

Deacon or lay leader:

The Father provides us with food for eternal life. At the Savior’s command and formed by divine teaching, we dare to say:

368  Celebration of the Liturgy of the Word

Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy name; thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven. Give us this day our daily bread, and forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us; and lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil. Amen. Invitation to Communion Deacon or lay leader:

Behold the Lamb of God, behold him who takes away the sins of the world. Blessed are those called to the supper of the Lamb. Lord, I am not worthy that you should enter under my roof, but only say the word and my soul shall be healed. Communion Act of Thanksgiving

Concluding Rite

Invitation to Pray for Vocations to the Priesthood Deacon or lay leader:

Mindful of our Lord’s word, “Ask the Master of the harvest to send out laborers for the harvest,” let us pray for an increase of vocations to the priesthood. May our prayer hasten the day when we will be able to take part in the celebration of the Holy Eucharist every Sunday. Blessing Sign of Peace

Hymns  371

370 Hymns

The King Shall Come When Morning Dawns


4. To heal the sick stretch out your hand, / and bid the fallen sinner stand: / shine forth, and let your light restore / earth’s own true loveliness once more. 5. All praise the Son eternally, / whose advent sets his people free, / whom with the Father we adore / and Spirit blest for evermore. Text: Jordanis oras praevia; Charles Coffin, 1676–1749; tr. John Chandler, 1806–1876. Music: WINCHESTER NEW, LM; adapt. from Musikalisches Handbuch, Hamburg, 1690.

Come, Thou Long Expected Savior

On Jordan’s Bank


1. On Jordan’s bank the Baptist’s cry / announces that the Lord is nigh; / awake and hearken for he brings / glad tidings of the King of kings. 2. Then cleansed be ev’ry heart from sin; / make straight the way of God within. / And let each heart prepare a home / where such a mighty guest may come. 3. For you are our salvation, Lord, / our refuge and our great reward; / without your grace we waste away / like flow’rs that wither and decay.


Hymns  373

372 Hymns

Angels We Have Heard on High


1. Angels we have heard on high sweetly singing o’er the plains, and the mountains in reply echo back their joyous strains.

Joseph Mohr, 1792–1848, tr. John F. Young, 1820–1885. Music: STILLE NACHT Irregular

Refrain: Gloria in excelsis Deo, Gloria in excelsis Deo. 2. Shepherds, why this jubilee? Why your joyous strains prolong? Say what may the tidings be, which inspire your heav’nly song.  Refrain

O Come, All Ye Faithful / Adeste, Fideles


1. O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant; O come ye, O come ye to Bethlehem. Come and behold him, born the King of angels.

3. Come to Bethlehem and see Him whose birth the angels sing; come adore, on bended knee, Christ, the Lord, the newborn King.  Refrain

Refrain: O  come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him, O come, let us adore him, Christ, the Lord! 2. Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation; Sing, all ye citizens of heav’n above! Glory to God, all glory in the highest.  Refrain

4. See him in a manger laid, whom the choirs of angels praise; Mary, Joseph, lend your aid, while our hearts in love we raise.  Refrain Text: Traditional French carol, tr. by James Chadwick, 1813–1882, in Crown of Jesus, 1862, alt. Music: GLORIA, 77 77 with refrain, traditional French carol.

Silent Night

3. Silent night, holy night, Son of God, love’s pure light Radiant beams from thy holy face, With the dawn of   redeeming grace, Jesus, Lord, at thy birth, Jesus, Lord, at thy birth!


1. Silent night, holy night, All is calm, all is bright Round yon Virgin Mother and Child. Holy Infant,   so tender and mild, Sleep in heavenly peace, Sleep in heavenly peace. 2. Silent night, holy night, Shepherds quake at the sight; Glories stream from heaven afar. Heav’nly hosts sing  Alleluia; Christ, the Savior, is born, Christ, the Savior, is born!

3. Yes, Lord we greet thee, born this happy morning; Jesus, to thee be glory giv’n. Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing. Refrain 1. Adéste, fidéles, laéti, triumphántes; Veníte, veníte in Béthlehem. Natum vidéte Regem angelórum. Refrain: V  eníte, adorémus, Veníte, adorémus, Veníte, adorémus Dóminum. 2. Deum de Deo, Lumen de Lúmine, Gestant puéllae víscera. Deum verum, Génitum, non factum. Text: attr. to John F. Wade, 1711–1786. Tr. by Frederick Oakeley, 1802–1880, alt. Music: ADESTE FIDELES Irregular with Refrain

Guide to Lectio Divina Choose a word or phrase of the Scriptures you wish to pray. It makes no difference which text is chosen, as long as you have no set goal of “covering” a certain amount of text. The amount of text covered is in God’s hands, not yours. Read. Turn to the text and read it slowly, gently. Savor each portion of the reading, constantly listening for the “still, small voice” of a word or phrase that somehow says, “I am for you today.” Do not expect lightning or ecstasies. In lectio divina, God is teaching us to listen, to seek him in silence. God does not reach out and grab us but gently invites us ever more deeply into his presence. Ponder. Take the word or phrase into yourself. Memorize it and slowly repeat it to yourself, allowing it to interact with your inner world of concerns, memories, and ideas. Do not be afraid of distractions. Memories or thoughts are simply parts of yourself that, when they rise up during lectio divina, are asking to be given to God along with the rest of your inner self. Allow this inner pondering, this rumination, to invite you into dialogue with God. Pray. Whether you use words, ideas, or images—or all three—is not important. Interact with God as you would with one who you know loves and accepts you. Give to God what you have discovered during your experience of meditation. Give to God what you have found within your heart. It is not necessary to assess the quality of your lectio divina, as if you were “performing” or seeking some goal. Lectio divina has no goal other than that of being in the presence of God by praying the Scriptures. —Fr. Luke Dysinger Luke Dysinger, OSB, is a Benedictine monk of Saint Andrew’s Abbey, Valyermo, California.

Canticle of Mary (Magnificat)

Luke 1:46-55


y soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior for he has looked with favor on his lowly servant. From this day all generations will call me blessed: the Almighty has done great things for me, and holy is his Name. He has mercy on those who fear him in every generation. He has shown the strength of his arm, he has scattered the proud in their conceit. He has cast down the mighty from their thrones, and has lifted up the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich he has sent away empty. He has come to the help of his servant Israel for he has remembered his promise of mercy, the promise he made to our fathers, to Abraham and his children for ever. Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen.

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