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Catholic Prayer: Fourth Sunday of Advent: Devotions

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Prayer:

Today's Mass is really a celebration of the Advent Ember Days for those people who were unable to come to church during the preceding week. Formerly the Saturday Ember Day Mass was actually celebrated early Sunday morning, and the Mass of this Sunday is now a composite of the Masses of the Ember Days. With the lighting of the fourth and last candle on the Advent wreath, the children are made to realize that the Saviour is almost at the gate of their souls. Jerusalem awaits the great King and Saviour in silent and awed expectancy. With the singing of the Magnificat and the "O antiphon" of the day, a little pageant could be organized to suggest the Mass of this Sunday. The first figure (Introit) represents the first two weeks of Advent, the long and ardent awaiting of the ancient world. The second figure represent St. John the Baptist, who sounds the joyous trumpet announcing the arrival of "Him who is to follow", it is he who leads the Groom (Christ) to the Spouse (the Church), as we read in the Gospel. The third and final figure is our Blessed Lady. The Hail Mary of the Offertory tells us that the period of preparation is drawing to a close. During all the Mass of the Faithful, it is Mary who is our shepherd and guide. On Sunday evening, Marian Advent hymns and carols remind home and neighborhood that our hearts must be made ready for the coming of Christ. The valleys must be filled and the hills leveled. What an apostolic reminder of the need for a good confession before Christmas! That is why the stational church of this Sunday is the Basilica of Reconciliation. By means of the divinely instituted powers given to the shepherds of the flock, the sacrament of Penance makes us ready for the coming of the Redeemer. The purity and simplicity of the children may remind their elders that in order to enter heaven they must become as little children.

Prayer Source: True Christmas Spirit by Rev. Edward J. Sutfin, Grail Publications, St. Meinrad, Indiana, 1955
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