Day 7: Saturday 7 December 2019

Setting up the Christmas crèche (crib) in our homes helps us to relive the history of what took place in Bethlehem. Naturally, the Gospels remain our source for understanding and reflecting on that event. At the same time, its portrayal in the crèche helps us to imagine the scene. It touches our hearts and makes us enter into salvation history as contemporaries of an event that is living and real in a broad gamut of historical and cultural contexts. – Pope Francis  

Readings for Saturday of the First Week of Advent 

Is 30:19-21, 23-26. Ps 146: 1-6, R/ Is 30:18. Mt 9:35-10:1, 6-8.

God’s ears are not deaf to the cries of the needy. Jesus, as a shepherd, feels compassion for those who have lost the way. 

Advent Saint of the Day – Saint Nicholas

Saint Nicholas was 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. 

Audio: Advent Thought for the Day

Each day during Advent we are bringing you an audio Thought for Today on a different theme. Today’s Thought for Today is  from Brother Richard Hendrick OFm Cap. In this piece Brother Richard invites us to pause in this Season of Advent to contemplate the scene of the Nativity and on why Jesis was born into such humble surroundings.

Click below to listen to the reflection: 

Visual Thought for the Day 

Today’s Thought for the Day visual that we invite you to share on social media is from Pope Francis. 

The Words of Pope Francis 

“Christ is alive! He is our hope, and in a wonderful way he brings youth to our world.  The very first words, then, that I would like to say to every young Christian are these: Christ is alive and he wants you to be alive!”.

Thus begins the post-synodal Apostolic Exhortation, Christus vivit (Christ is alive) by Pope Francis published in April.  This year’s Advent Calendar is featuring Pope Francis’ words from Christus vivit which he has addressed to young people , and to the entire People of God and published on 2 April 2019. In the document, the Pope explains that he allowed himself to be “inspired by the wealth of reflections and conversations of the Synod” on Young People, the Faith and Vocational Discernment which took place in the Vatican in October 2018.

Today’s excerpt is a piece on how the life of Jesus is a love story offered to us: 

“The life that Jesus gives us is a love story, a life history that wants to blend with ours and sink roots in the soil of our own lives. That life is not salvation up ‘in the cloud’ and waiting to be downloaded, a new ‘app’ to be discovered, or a technique of mental self-improvement. Still less is that life a ‘tutorial’ for finding out the latest news. The salvation that God offers us is an invitation to be part of a love story interwoven with our personal stories; it is alive and wants to be born in our midst so that we can bear fruit just as we are, wherever we are and with everyone all around us. The Lord comes there to sow and to be sown”. (CV 252) 

#LivingAdvent 2019

During Advent 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 

Sit down as family and share a meal around the table without the distractions of digital devices! 

Let’s Be Family – Act of Charity 

Bring some food along to the nearest collection point for Christmas food appeals. 

Living Advent by Caring for Our Common Home 

Hundreds of millions are spent on chocolate each year at Christmas. Make sure that you buy fair trade!

Living Advent by welcoming Migrants and Refugees

At home, at school, at work, wherever we go today, let us be committed to welcoming the vulnerabilities of our brothers and sisters with whom we come into contact. 

Advent Prayers

Our Prayer Intention for the Day to Pray Together 

1. We pray for the dead;
that they may enjoy eternal life
rejoicing in the Lord’s house.

2. We pray for those who feel lonely at this time of year,
those who mourn and those who are far from
family and friends.

Blessing of the Crib in the Home

In homes across Ireland this weekend Christmas trees and cribs may be put in place in preparation for Christmas. Below are links to two short videos: (i) A Blessing of the Crib in the home and (ii) A Blessing of the Christmas Tree: 

Prayer for Hospitality

Advent Music

O Sanctissima, a Marian hymn from around the 18th century. This particular version, by the Cathedral Singers of Richard Proulx, is highly abridged of the original.

O sanctissima, O piissima,
Dulcis Virgo Maria.
Mater amata, intemerata,
Ora, ora pro nobis

Tota pulchra es, O Maria
Et macula non est in te
Mater amata, intemerata,
Ora, ora pro nobis.

Sicut lilium inter spinas,
Sic Maria inter filias
Mater amata, intemerata,
Ora, ora pro nobis.