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Third (Gaudete) Sunday Of Advent
Isaiah, chapter 35, verse 3-4
3 Strengthen hands that are feeble, make firm knees that are weak, 4 Say to the fearful of heart: Be strong, do not fear! Here is your God, he comes with vindication; With divine recompense he comes to save you.
Isaiah in this chapter is proclaiming the deliverance of Israel specifically but upon examining the wording in this verse it is referring to the day of our death. On that day our hands will be feeble, but our hearts must remain strong. Will you be vindicated and what recompense will be due you? Honestly few will be due recompense, but our Lords love is such that he wishes to save us at this final hour with the sacrament which was formerly called the “Last Rites”.
1524 In addition to the Anointing of the Sick, the Church offers those who are about to leave this life the Eucharist as viaticum. Communion in the body and blood of Christ, received at this moment of "passing over" to the Father, has a particular significance and importance. It is the seed of eternal life and the power of resurrection, according to the words of the Lord: "He who eats my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up at the last day." The sacrament of Christ once dead and now risen, the Eucharist is here the sacrament of passing over from death to life, from this world to the Father.
1525 Thus, just as the sacraments of Baptism, Confirmation, and the Eucharist form a unity called "the sacraments of Christian initiation," so too it can be said that Penance, the Anointing of the Sick and the Eucharist as viaticum constitute at the end of Christian life "the sacraments that prepare for our heavenly homeland" or the sacraments that complete the earthly pilgrimage.
Such is the Love of our Lord that we should be delivered. His love is such that by receiving our Lord in the viaticum he delivers us to the Father saying here is blood of my blood and He transfers His recompense; His vindication to us. There is no greater love then this!
The Last Blessing
Let us pray. Most gracious God, Father of mercies and God of all consolation, Thou wish none to perish that believes and hopes in Thee, according to Thy many mercies look down favourably upon Thy servant (handmaid) N.____ whom true faith and Christian hope commend to Thee. Visit him (her) in Thy saving mercy, and by the passion and death of Thy only-begotten Son, graciously grant to him (her) forgiveness and pardon of all his (her) sins that his (her) soul in the hour of its leaving the earth may find Thee as a Judge appeased, and being washed from all stain in the Blood of Thy same Son may deserve to pass to everlasting life. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.
Lord, teach me to be generous. Teach me to serve you as you deserve; to give and not to count the cost…to labor and not to ask for reward, except to know that I am doing your will. (Saint Ignatius, Prayer for Generosity)
Lord, let me not fear death with an empty fear, but with a wise and holy fear. An empty fear does not make men any better, but a wise and holy fear urges them to improve their lives. I will prepare for death by trying today to please you more and more in my thoughts, desires, words and actions. If I live this day as You desire, I shall be ready at any moment, and death will be nothing worse than Your loving call. Amen
THE nearer the coming of the Lord the more earnestly the Church calls upon us to rejoice; and to-day, therefore, at the Introit of the Mass, she sings in the words of St. Paul: “Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men: The Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous, but in everything by prayer let your petitions be made known to God.” (Phil. iv. 4-6.) “Lord, thou hast blessed Thy land; Thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob”.
We beseech Thee, O Lord, mercifully incline Thine ear unto our prayers, and enlighten the darkness of our minds by the grace of Thy heavenly visitation.
EPISTLE. Phil. iv. 4-7.
Rejoice in the Lord always; again, I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men: the Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your petitions be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.
What does it mean to rejoice in the Lord? It means to be glad in remembering the grace by which God called us to the true faith, and gave us the hope of eternal salvation, and to rejoice even in all our tribulations and adversities for the Lord’s sake, as St. Paul did (n. Cor. vii. 4). It also admonishes us to give a good example by modesty and an edifying life, and to fix our desires on God, Who will never fail us if we make our wants known to Him by prayer and supplication, and give Him thanks for benefits received.
In what does the peace of God consist? It consists in a good conscience, such as St. Paul enjoyed. It is this peace, this tranquility of the soul, which sustained the holy martyrs in their agonies, and consoled others under persecution for Christ s sake (St. Matt. v. 11, 12).
O Lord grant that Thy peace, which Thou hast given us, and which the world knows not, may keep our hearts and minds in Thee. O wisdom! proceeding from the mouth of the Highest, and reaching to the ends of the world, who governest with power and grace, come and direct us all, that we may walk in the path of wisdom and of the peace which surpasseth all understanding. Amen.
THE BEST REMEDY IN THE HOUR OF SORROW.
In need, sorrow, and dejection the best means to relieve our distressed hearts is humble and confiding prayer, in which we can pour out our hearts before God, and give ourselves up to His love and mercy, as did Anna, the sorrowful mother of Samuel the prophet, Josaphat in painful uncertainty, Susanna falsely accused and condemned to death, and innumerable other servants of God. These all prayed to God and were delivered from their afflictions, receiving help and consolation. St. James therefore admonishes us, “Is any one of you sad? let him pray” (James v. 13); and St. Paul, in the epistle for this Sunday, encourages us not to be solicitous about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, to let our requests be known to God. Are you, then, sad and discouraged? Lift up your soul to God, and say with David, “Give joy to the soul of Thy servant, for to Thee, O Lord, I have lifted up my soul” (Ps. Ixxxv. 4).
GOSPEL. John i. 19-28.
At that time: The Jews sent from Jerusalem priests and Levites to John to ask him, Who art thou? And he confessed and did not deny and he confessed: I am not the Christ. And they asked him: What then? Art thou Elias? And he said: I am not. Art thou the prophet? And he answered: No. They said, therefore, unto him: Who art thou, that we may give an answer to them that sent us? what sayest thou of thyself? He said: I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, Make straight the way of the Lord, as said the prophet Isaias. And they that were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him and said to him: Why then dost thou baptize, if thou be not Christ, nor Elias, nor the prophet? John answered them, saying: I baptize with water; but there hath stood One in the midst of you, Whom you know not. The same is He that shall come after me, Who is preferred before me: the latchet of Whose shoe I am not worthy to loose. These things were done in Bethania, beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.
Why did the Jews send messengers to John to ask him who he was? Because his baptizing and preaching, with his life of austerity and penance, made such an impression that the people took him not for an ordinary prophet, but for the Messias Himself.
Why did the messengers ask John whether he was Elias or the prophet?
The Jews believed that either Elias or another of the prophets would return to earth to prepare the way for the coming of Christ; and from St. John’s denying that he was the Christ they concluded that he was either Elias or that prophet.
Why did St. John say that he was not that prophet, but only the voice of one crying in the wilderness?
He said so out of humility; but he uttered no untruth, since he was not the prophet predicted by Moses (Deut. xviii. 15), but only the voice of one crying in the wilderness,” Make straight the way of the Lord”, as the prophet Isaias said (Is. Ix. 3).
How do we make straight the way of the Lord?
By sincere penance, which consists not merely in going to confession, and making hollow resolutions, but in bringing forth fruits worthy of penance (Matt. iii. 8; Luke iii. 8).
How do we bring forth fruits worthy of penance?
If we wish to bring forth fruits worthy of penance, we must endeavor to make amends for what is past, and use all possible means to avoid in future those sins to which we have been most given; we must love and serve God as much as and more than we before loved and served the world.
What was the baptism of John, and what was the effect of it?
It was a baptism of penance, for the forgiveness of sins; thus it was a preparation for the Baptism of Christ, through which sins are actually forgiven, and the Holy Ghost received (Mark i. 4, 5).
What are we further taught by this gospel?
We are taught to always speak the truth, like St. John; not to desire to appear more, or better, than we are; and, in particular, to make a good and sincere confession. We should, therefore, before confession often ask ourselves, Who am I? How do I live? How do I stand before God? How do I deal with my neighbor?
We learn also from St. John to confess our sins without reserve, neither concealing nor excusing them; above all, we learn to be humble, for although he might have passed for the Messiah had he chosen to, he refused that honor, and held himself unworthy to loose the latchet of Christ’s shoe.
O Lord, banish from my heart envy, self-love, and pride; give me grace so to know Thee and myself that, in contemplation of Thy majesty, omnipotence, love and wisdom, and other perfections, I may love Thee above all things, and in regarding my own nothingness, misery, and sins may always humble myself before Thee, and be little in my own eyes. Grant also that I may judge my neighbor with justness and tenderness, and love him as myself.
A joyful warning comes from the Lord's heralds. "Rejoice: The Lord is nigh." As Christmas draws near, the Church emphasizes the joy which should be in our hearts over all that the birth of our Savior means for us. The great joy of Christians is to see the day drawing nigh when the Lord will come again in His glory to lead them into His kingdom. The oft-repeated Veni ("Come") of Advent is an echo not only of the prophets but also of the conclusion of the Apocalypse of St. John: "Come, Lord Jesus," the last words of the New Testament. Today is known as Gaudete Sunday. The term Gaudete refers to the first word of the Entrance Antiphon, "Rejoice". Rose vestments are worn to emphasize our joy that Christmas is near, and we also light the rose candle on our Advent wreath.
A special devotion that can be performed during Advent to prepare for the coming of the Infant Savior. It can be adapted for adults and/or children and applied as is appropriate to your state in life.
· 5th day, December 15th: THE STRAW—Mortification Today the infant Jesus desires mortification from us; therefore, let us watch for opportunities with a joyful heart. Not look about when we are walking; not lean back when sitting; not warm ourselves when cold; not satisfy the taste at table; when tempted to impatience not to show it, and yield our own opinion to that of others. Today really listen to others
· Today in honor of the Holy Trinity do the Divine Office giving your day to God. To honor God REST: no shopping after SUNSET ON SATURDAY till Monday. Don’t forget the internet.
 Paone, Anthony J., S.J. My Daily Bread, Confraternity of the Precious Blood.
Goffine’s Devout Instructions, 1896.
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