In her concern for our salvation, our loving mother the Church uses this holy season to teach us through hymns, canticles and other forms of expression, of voice or ritual, used by the Holy Spirit. She shows us how grateful we should be for so great a blessing, and how to gain its benefit: our hearts should be as much prepared for the coming of Christ as if He were still to come into this world.St. Charles Borromeo, from the Office of Readings for the First Monday in Advent
To aid me in my Advent meditations this year I have, as I mentioned yesterday, Caryll Houselander's Reed of God, which I am reading for the second time this year, and Ronald Thomas's (husband of Sally) Prepare Ye the Way. That's the book that's standing up on my bookshelf so you can see the cover. I was very anxious to get Ron's book in time to have it on the first day, and then I was so busy that I didn't even open it until this morning. This seems to be the way with all my Advent plans this year, so I'm just waiting in joyful hope to see what else happens (although yesterday I wasn't so joyful).
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Today is the feast of St. Francis Xavier, one of the first Jesuits, and missionary to Asia. After his meditation on St. Francis today, Ron Thomas offers this prayer, "St. Francis Xavier, pray for us, that we who live in a culture where the Gospel is everywhere present, but seldom believed and lived, may see it take root through the Catholic Faith!" Everywhere present, but seldom believed and lived--this contrast never really stood out for me so much as when I read this. The evidence of Christianity really is almost inescapable in our country, and yet it's true import is most often overlooked. May St. Francis pray for us all today.
By the way, the title of this post is the antiphon that we will be using with the Invitatory Psalm from now until December 16, or is it the 17th? I don't have my breviary handy.