ADVENT

 
 
St. Andrew
 
 
St. Andrew, St. Peter's brother, remembered for his gift of friendship, is celebrated on November 30th, the threshold of Advent. He was one of the disciples of St. John the Baptist. Who recognized Jesus as the Lamb of God and followed Him after Jesus invited him to "come and see."

 

 

Later, Andrew found Peter and brought him to Jesus, and they followed the Lamb from the beginning of His public life, through His Passion and Death. They witnessed to His resurrection. In the course of time, Andrew brought others to Jesus: the boy with the loaves and fish, the Greeks, and most likely many who are not recorded - he was that kind of an obliging and friendly man..

 
 
Now, every year, thanks to the liturgical cycle, he brings us to Jesus, the Lamb of God come down from heaven as He begins His earthly life. So it is quite fitting that we begin this prayer on the feast of this great saint, remembering that "Jesus loved Andrew and cherished his friendship."
 
 
 
St Andrew Christmas Novena
 
  Prayer: 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 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 - Author Unknown  
 

St. John the Baptist
 
There was a man sent by God
who came as a witness to testify to the Light
that all might believe through him.
 
At the beginning of this Advent season, we see the towering figure of St. John the Baptist coming to show us the Lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.
 
We needn't spend much time thinking about the sins of the world. They are all to painfully obvious.
 
But we do need to spend as much time as possible contemplating the Lamb of God who has overcome the world and all its evil, who takes them all away. He and John both call us to repent and believe in this good news.
 
 
 
The Jesse Tree
 
The Jesse Tree is the symbolic expression of God's enduring mercy. It traces this gift through every age of salvation history, using the ordinary lives of ordinary people to prepare for the coming of Christ who is the fulfillment of the covenant, the promise, the redeemer.
 
 
 
 
St. Nicholas
 

St. Nicholas was a beloved bishop of the fourth century. He was born in Asia Minor and became the bishop of Myra, a seaport. He is known for his generous and often anonymous charity, his love for children and defense of the poor and oppressed. When the Turks invaded Asia Minor, the Christians took his relics with them as they fled west to Bari, another seaport along the Mediterranean coast. In time, he became co-patron with St. Andrew of Scotland and Russia.

The many accounts of St. Nicholas' miracles and goodness to those in distress made him a popular patron of sailors who carried his cult to every port they visited. They erected chapels in his honor which often became shrines welcoming many pilgrims. He became loved in virtually every nation, from Greece to Italy to Russia to Germany to the Netherlands to the New World. Wherever there was a seaport, there were devotees of St. Nicholas, always recounting stories of his gift-giving, care of children, and assistance to the poor, making sure that everyone had enough to eat, shelter from the cold, and safety from violence and accidents.

It is easy to imagine how such a cheerful saint, know the world over, would come to be associated with the Christ Child who comes to bring us every good gift. Who is our food, light and warmth, and protection from every harm, our comfort and our joy.

 
 
"Advent means a presence begun,
the presence of God.
To celebrate Advent means to bring life within ourselves
the hidden presence of God." Pope-emeritus Benedict XVI
 
 
 
Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above,
and let clouds rain down the Just One.
Let the earth be opened and bud forth a Savior. Isaiah 48:8
 
This verse expressed the centuries-long yearning for a savior. In Isaiah's time the fulfillment was still hundreds of years away. Today, thousands of years later, we can identify Mary as the earth and the Holy Spirit as the dew received by the earth, which it makes fruitful so that in the fullness of time the Savior buds forth.
 

It was fitting that the soil be prepared by preserving it from any contamination of sin, so that the Divine Seed might be received into a totally pure environment. This was achieved by Mary's Immaculate Conception, a unique privilege granted her in view of her destiny as the Mother of the Son of God.

 
O Mary, of all women, thou art the chosen one
Whom ancient prophets promised would bear God's only Son,
All Hebrew generations prepared the way to thee
That in your womb the God-Man might come to set us free.
 
O Mary, you embody all God taught to our race
For you are first and foremost in fullness of His grace.
We praise that wondrous honor that you gave birth to Him.
Who took His manhood from you and saved us from our sin.
 
O Mary, conceived without sin, pray for us who have recourse to thee!
 
 
I rejoice heartily in the Lord, in my God is the joy of my soul.
 
 
 
 
Eagerly we await the fulfillment of our hope
the glorious coming of our Savior

 

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