Daily Devotion for December 8, 2013
Second Sunday in Advent
Feast of the Immaculate Conception (primarily Catholic)
Christ is beardless and youthful in the Early Christian style. His pose recalls that of an enthroned Roman emperor. He is holding a scroll with the seven seals as described in the book of Revelation. He sits on an orb that represents the world.
Below him are the Four Rivers of Paradise. On his right, Christ extends a victory wreath (Roman symbol) to Saint Vitalis, who is accompanied by an angel. On his left stands another angel who is introducing Bishop Ecclesius. Ecclesius is presenting a model of the Church to Christ.
The foundations of the church were built under the authority of Bishop Ecclesius. Notice that both Saint Vitalis and Bishop Ecclesius are labeled above their heads.)
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.
For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever.
1. All things bright and beautiful,
All creatures great and small,
All things wise and wonderful,
The Lord God made them all.
2. Each little flower that opens,
Each little bird that sings,
He made their glowing colours,
He made their tiny wings.
3. The rich man in his castle,
The poor man at his gate,
God made them high and lowly,
And ordered their estate.
4. The purple headed mountain,
The river running by,
The sunset and the morning,
That brightens up the sky.
5. The cold wind in the winter,
The pleasant summer sun,
The ripe fruits in the garden,
He made them every one:
6. The tall trees in the greenwood,
The meadows where we play,
The rushes by the water,
We gather every day;
7. He gave us eyes to see them,
And lips that we might tell,
How great is God Almighty,
Who has made all things well.
Music from an English folk song, adapted by William Henry Monk (1879)
Lyrics by Mrs. Cecil F. Alexander (1848)
Prayer for Sunday Worship
O God, who makes us glad with the weekly remembrance of the glorious resurrection of your Son our Lord Jesus Christ; Give me this day such blessings through my worship of you, that the days to come may be spent in your service; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord.
Sunday Prayer for the Gifts of the Holy Spirit
O Lord Jesus Christ, before ascending into heaven you did promise to send the Holy Spirit to finish your work in the souls of your Apostles and Disciples, deign to grant the same Holy Spirit to me that He may perfect in my soul, the work of your grace and your love. Grant me:
- the Spirit of Wisdom that I may despise the perishable things of this world and aspire only after the things that are eternal,
- the Spirit of Understanding to enlighten my mind with the light of your divine truth,
- the Spirit of Counsel that I may ever choose the surest way of pleasing God and gaining heaven,
- the Spirit of Fortitude that I may bear my cross with you and that I may overcome with courage all the obstacles that oppose my salvation,
- the Spirit of Knowledge that I may know God and know myself and grow perfect in imitation of the Saints,
- the Spirit of Piety that I may find the service of God sweet and amiable, and
- the Spirit of Fear that I may be filled with a loving reverence towards God and may dread in any way to displease Him.
Mark me, dear Lord with the sign of your true disciples, and animate me in all things with your Spirit. In Christ's name, I pray that the Spirit may be with me and fill me, today and throughout the week to come.
Prayer of Penitence
My God, I am sorry for my sins with all my heart. In choosing to do wrong and failing to do good, I have sinned against You whom I should love above all things. I firmly intend, with Your help, to do penance, to sin no more, and to avoid whatever leads me to sin. Our Savior Jesus Christ suffered and died for us. In His name, my God, have mercy.
Now to him who is able to keep us from stumbling and to present ourselves blameless before the presence of his glory with great joy, to the only God, our Savior, through Jesus Christ our Lord, be glory, majesty, dominion, and authority, before all time and now and forever.
Think of the day ahead in terms of God with you, and visualize health, strength, guidance, purity, calm confidence, and victory as the gifts of His presence.
Psalm 135:13-18 (Contemporary English Version)
The name of the Lord will be remembered forever,
and he will be famous for all time to come.
The Lord will bring justice and show mercy to all who serve him.
Idols of silver and gold are made and worshiped in other nations.
They have a mouth and eyes, but they can't speak or see.
They are completely deaf, and they can't breathe.
Everyone who makes idols and all who trust them
will end up as helpless as their idols.
Romans 8:18-25 (New American Std Version)
I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory that is to be revealed to us. For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God.
For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God.
For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now. And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees?
But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.
Notes on the Scripture
In the first verse, Paul tells us that our happiness at the revelation of Christ will be greater than the pain we suffer during our lives. This is a wonderful comfort. We often feel that we suffer greatly during our lives. Just realize: no matter how much you have suffered, the joy and happiness that awaits you is greater!
Our struggles to free ourselves from pain are ultimately futile. Through our will and our nature, we make ourselves slaves to the corruption of the world. We are slaves to what we see. But what we hope for, and with the certainty of faith know that we will receive, cannot be seen. That is the very nature of faith and hope. Therefore, we wait for redemption eagerly.
We celebrate our waiting in December, during the season of Advent. Like children waiting for Santa Claus, we celebrate our waiting for the time when Christ will come again. Do you remember being a small child, lying in bed on Christmas Eve, so anxious for Christmas morning that you could hardly stand it? It seemed like forever. And Christmas always came, finally.
Just so, we wait for Christ to come again. Sometimes we wait in terrible pain, but no matter how anxious we become, we cannot force time to move faster. Christ will come when it is God's will for Him to come; we cannot make it happen any faster. We are like children on Christmas Eve, but now we have learned that we must simply wait, relying for comfort on our knowledge that the day will come.