Prayer to Our Lady of Grace
“O glorious Mother of God, our Lady of Grace, hear my humble prayers, seeking your maternal intercession in obtaining from the Heart of Jesus, your Divine Son, all the graces and favors necessary for my spiritual and temporal welfare, and for the special needs I now place before you. (Here mention your intentions.) O Heavenly Queen, be my comfort, hope, strength and consolation as, through God’s goodness and mercy, I await the great day of glory. Amen.”
In this Season of pre-Christmas preparation when we can get caught up in anticipation of celebrating Dec. 25, today’s gospel challenges us to acknowledge whatever within us is opposing His coming. The gospel challenges us to “repent,” to return our minds and hearts to God because “the Kingdom of God is at hand.” Each of us must make a decision to turn away from the Kingdom of Evil and toward God, His Kingdom. For our hopes and fears meet in Jesus the Christ, the Messiah. We must decide which Kingdom we will serve. If we choose God’s Kingdom, then the way into this Kingdom is heralded by John the Baptist: “Repent for the Kingdom of God is at hand!”
Prayer to our Lady of Guadalupe
“Most gracious Virgin of Guadalupe, in your apparitions to St. Juan Diego at Tepeyac you promised to show mercy and compassion to all who sought your help and protection. In love and trust, I place my petitions before you (here mention your requests) and ask your motherly care. I come to you hopeful and confident that, relying on your heavenly intercession, nothing can trouble or harm me. As you have remained with us through your adorable image, O Blessed Lady, so now obtain for us the graces we need. Amen.”
Today’s Feast has nothing to do with the Virgin birth but it honors Mary as the only human (outside Jesus, God Himself) who was never scarred by Original Sin. The conviction that Mary was born without sin is rooted in the angelic greeting we hear in the Gospel: “Hail, full of grace.” Like every Marian Feast, today’s celebration points to God, because it was to God that Mary’s attention was always turned. We need to follow her example.
Isaiah poetry tries to capture the idea that God is trustworthy as a rock. We can count on God’s sureness no matter what may come our way. We can count on God in family crises, bad days, etc. During Advent we have the opportunity to strengthen our trust in God and raise our awareness of all the reasons why we can hope in God.
Scholars have pointed out that in the Synoptic Tradition that Jesus’ ministry can be divided into three phases: Galilean ministry that ends with the feeding of the 5,000; the ministry in the area of the “Decapolis” ending with the feeding of the 4,000; and the Jerusalem ministry ending with the Last Supper. All 3 ministries end in Jesus feeding others. He still feeds us today at every mass in the Eucharist.
Isaiah used the shoot sprouting from the stump of Jesse (David’s father) to describe David’s lineage. Isaiah hoped that from David’s family tree there would be a leader filled with God’s spirit of justice and faithfulness. In such a world, animals who were natural enemies would co-exist in peace. During Advent let’s make peace in our families where strife exists.