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SAINT JOSEPH,

Patron of the Community of Hope

 

 

DEVOTION TO THE

HOLY FACE OF JESUS

This devotion will give us the special graces and fortitude needed to understand and  reject the current apostasy that exist in the post-Vatican II church.

Click here for more information

 

OUR LADY OF

GOOD SUCCESS

A must for the faithful who want to understand the current crisis in the Catholic Church. We have been warned by theologians, saints, popes and Our Lady herself about the loss of faith throughout the world, particularly coming to fruition by the mid-twentieth century, and how the devil would attack the Catholic Church. Our Lady of Good Success is an approved apparition of the Catholic Church and it directly connects and warns us of the errors of our time.

Click here for more information

 

 

COCOMMUNITY OF HOPE Catholic Book Store,Catholic charity,

COMMUNITYOFHOPE

COMMUNITY OF HOPE INC

Comunity of Hope, Inc - Communityofhopeinc - Community Hope Co -
Community
in Hope, MA - Hope Community -
 -  community of hope
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Lazarus House & Corpus Christi House

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Tewksbury Food Pantry  

CATHOLIC BELIEFS

Click On Catholic Beliefs for all Teachings

Two Greatest Commandments

Ten Commandments

Chief Commandments

Laws of the Church

The 7 Sacraments

he 7 Corporal Works of Mercy

The 7 Spiritual Works of Mercy

The 3 Eminent Good Works

The 7 Gifts of the Holy Ghost (& the Charismata)

The 12 Fruits of the Holy Ghost

The 4 Cardinal Virtues

The 3 Evangelical Counsels

The 6 Precepts of the Church

The Holy Days of Obligation

The 4 Pillars of the Catholic Faith

The 3 Pillars of the Church's Authority

The 3 Duties of the Ordained

he 3 Parts of the Church

The 4 Marks of the Church

The 12 Apostles The 12 Tribes of Israel

The 8 Beatitudes

The 7 Sorrows and 7 Joys of Our Lady

he 7 Sorrows and 7 Joys of St. Joseph

The Order of Creation

The 9 Choirs of Angels

The 3 levels of reverence

The 7 Last Words of Christ

The 4 Last Things

SIN

Click on Sin for all teachings

The 7 Capital Sins & Their Contrary Virtues

Four Sins that cry to Heaven for Vengeance

Six Sins against the Holy Ghost

Nine Ways of Being an Accessory to Sin3 Conditions for Mortal Sin

STATIONS OF THE CROSS

Click on Station of the Cross for all teachings

History

The 14 Stations of the Cross

Why pray the Stations?

St. Francis of Assisi Station of the Cross

Salesian Stations of the Cross

Indulgences
HOLY ROSARY

Click on Holy Rosary for all teachings

Praying the Rosary

he 15 Mysteries of the Rosary

Why the Daily Rosary?

Mary's Fifteen Promises to Christians who recite the Rosary

nstructions for Praying the Rosary

SACRED POSSESSIONS

Click on Sacred Possessions for full listing Introduction to Sacramentals Fire, Candles, Lamps Holy Water bells Holy Oil incenseSacred Images: Statues & Other Icons CrucifixesPalm Branches Ashes Blessed Salt ScapularsSt. Joseph's Cinctures (Cords) St. Benedict Medal The Miraculous Medal Relics and the Incorruptible Agnus Dei Holy Cards St. Anthony's Brief Disposing of Sacramentals

LITURGICAL VESTMENTS

What are the vestments for?

LITURGICAL COLORS

What the different colors of vestments mean

LITURGICAL VESSELS

What are all the Liturgical Vessels for?

POSTURE & GESTURE

When should I Kneel, Bow, Etc.?

FASTING & ABSTINENCE

When do you fast?

Heaven Hell Purgatory Limbo Our Lady of Lasalette Our Lady of Good Success Our Lady of Guadalupe  Our Lady of the Miraculous Medal Our Lady of Fatima Our Lady of Lourdes Medjugorie Ecumenical Councils Oath against Modernism Teachings of the popes Papal coronation oath dogma didache the church of Jesus Christ Popes Eastern Catholic Western Catholic Latin Catholic addressing clergy abbreviations of orders fifteen prayers of saint Bridget Holy Face devotions oseph five fold scapular SACRED HEART & FIRST FRIDAY DEVOTION Enthronement of the Sacred Heart Ceremony Invocation of the Sacred Heart Hymns of the Sacred HeartPious Practices of the Sacred HeartThe Badge of the Sacred HeartActs of Reparation and Consecration to the Sacred Heart of Jesus Prayers in Honor of the Sacred Heart Chaplet of the Sacred Heart of Jesus- Faith in Action Newsletter-Scholarship-Baptism-Holy Communion-Confirmation- Confession- Reconciliation-Holy Orders- Matrimony- Marriage-Examination of Conscience-Baptism of Desire and Blood-Salvation Outside the Church-Successors of Saint Peter-Which is the Church of Jesus Christ?-How old is your church?-The Didache- Dogmas of the Catholic Church-Catholic Catechisms-Marian Apparitions deemed worthy of belief- Sacred Heart First Friday- Immaculate Heart- First Saturday- Magnificent Prayers of Saint Bridget-Holy Face Devotion- Golden Arrow-Holy Rosary- Pilgrimage- Six Approved Litanies- Catholic Teaching on Mary- osary for Life-

 

Welcome to Community of Hope Inc.

 

Our Mission Statement

 

The Community of Hope is a Catholic charitable organization.  We  dedicate our efforts to providing assistance to those that are in physical, emotional, spiritual, and financial need. We recognize that as a community we must care for one another.

The Community of Hope lay apostolate has been established with the purpose of encouraging hope and faith for all people throughout New England. The Community of Hope is dedicated to providing those less fortunate with assistance and support. This could take whatever form is deemed necessary to fit that particular need.

"To restore all things in Christ has ever been the motto of the Church, and it is in a special way Our own in the perilous times in which We live."  Pope St. Pius X: Il Fermo Proposito

 

Click on Month or Liturgical Season for Prayers and Calendar

January February March
April May June
July August September
October November December
Season of Advent Christmastide Season of Lent

 

The MONTH of JUly is dedicated in honor OF THE

 Most Precious Blood of Jesus

PROMINENT FEASTS OF JULY

Feast of Most Precious Blood

July 1st

Feast of the Visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary

July 2nd

Feast of St. Elizabeth, Queen & Widow

July 8th

Feast of St. John of Cologne & Companions, Martyrs

July 9th
Feast of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel July 16th
Feast of St. Vincent de Paul, Confessor July 19th
Feast of St. Mary Magdalene, Penitent July 22nd

Feast of St. James the Greater, Apostle & St. Christopher, Martyr

July 25th
Feast of St. Anne, Mother of the Blessed Virgin Mary July 26th
Feast of St. Martha, Virgin July 29th
Feast of St. Ignatius, Confessor July 31st
FIRST FRIDAY: ...for more info click here July 4th
FIRST SATURDAY: ...for more info click here July 5th

 



 


THE MONTH OF APRIL IS DEDICATED IN HONOR OF THE

Most Blessed Sacrament

PROMINENT FEASTS OF APRIL

Feast of St. Vincent Ferrer, Confessor April 5th
Passion Sunday April 6th
St. Mary of Egypt, Penitent April 9th
Feast of Pope St. Leo the Great, Doctor & St. Gemma Galgani, Virgin April 11th
Palm Sunday April 13th
Feast of St. Justin, Martyr April 14th
Holy Thursday April 17th
Good Friday April 18th
Holy Saturday April 19th
Easter Sundaylittlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) April 20th
Feast of St. Agnes of Montepulciano, Virgin April 20th
Feast of St. Anslem, Bishop, Confessor & Doctor April 23rd
Feast of St. Mark, Evangelist (transferred from April 25th) April 28th
Feast of St. Paul of the Cross, Confessor & St. Lewis de Montfort, Confessor April 29th
Feast of St. Catherine of Siena, Virgin April 30th
Major Rogation: April 25th- Pray the Greater Litanies (Litany of Saint with Prayers)


PRAYER IN HONOR OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT

My Lord Jesus Christ, Who, for the love which Thou bearest to men, remainest night and day in this Sacrament full of compassion and of love, awaiting, calling, and welcoming all who come to visit Thee: I believe that Thou art present in the Sacrament of the Altar: I adore Thee from the abyss of my nothingness, and I thank Thee for all the graces which Thou hast bestowed upon me, and in particular for having given me Thyself in this Sacrament, for having given me Thy most holy Mother Mary for my advocate, and for having called me to visit Thee in this church. I now salute Thy most loving Heart: and this for three ends:

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) In Thanksgiving for this great gift;

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) To make amends to Thee for all the outrages which Thou receivest in this Sacrament from all Thine enemies;

littlegoldcross.gif (962 bytes) I intend by this visit to adore Thee in all the places on earth in which Thou art the least revered and the most abandoned.

My Jesus I love Thee with my whole heart. I grieve for having hitherto so many times offended Thy infinite goodness. I purpose by Thy grace never more to offend Thee for the time to come; and now, miserable and unworthy though I be, I consecrate myself to Thee without reserve; I give Thee and renounce my entire will, my affections, my desires, and all that I possess. From henceforward do Thou dispose of me and of all that I have as Thou pleasest. All that I ask of Thee and desire is Thy holy love, final perseverance, and the perfect accomplishment of Thy will.

I recommend to Thee the souls in purgatory; but especially those who had the greatest devotion to the Most Blessed Sacrament and to the Most Blessed Virgin Mary. I also recommend to Thee all poor sinners.

Finally, my dear Savior, I unite all my affections with the affections of Thy most loving Heart; and I offer them, thus united, to Thy Eternal Father, and beseech Him in Thy name to vouchsafe, for Thy love, to accept and grant them. Amen (prayer authored by St. Alphonsus Liguori)


THE MIRACLE OF THE BLESSED SACRAMENT AND ST. DOMINIC

St. Dominic was once saying Mass in London, England, in the presence of the King and Queen and three hundred other persons. As he was making the Memento for the Living he suddenly became enraptured, remaining motionless in the space of a whole hour. All present were greatly astonished, and did not know what to think or to make of it. The King ordered the server to pull the priest's  robe, that he might go on with his Mass. But on attempting to do so, the server became so full of wonder that he was unable to comply with the King's order.

After an hour's time, St. Dominic was able to continue the Mass, when , behold! At the Elevation f the Sacred Host, the King and all who were present saw, instead of the Host in the hands of the priest, the Holy Infant Jesus, at the sight of which all experienced great interior joy. At the same time they beheld the Mother of God in great brilliancy and splendor and surrounded by twelve bright stars. She took the hand of her Divine Infant to bless with it all those who were present at the Mass. At this blessing many experienced an ineffable joy and shed tears of tenderness. At the Elevation of the chalice, everyone saw a cross uprising from it, with Jesus Christ hanging upon it in almost pitiable condition and shedding all His Blood. The Blessed Virgin was also seen sprinkling , as it were, the Sacred Blood over the people, upon which everyone received a clear knowledge of his or her sins with a deep sorrow for the same, so much so that everyone who saw them could not help weeping with them.


Mass being ended, St. Dominic ascended the pulpit and addressed the people as follows: "' Sing ye to the Lord a new Canticles, because he hath done wonderful things.' (Psalm 97). You have seen with your own eyes and experienced in your own hearts the wonderful things which Jesus Christ has done in the Most Blessed Sacrament. You have seen with your eyes, and it has been given to you to understand how Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world and the Son of Mary, has been pleased to be born anew and to be again crucified for you. In this divine and tremendous mystery of Holy Mass you have witnessed only things most holy, most sublime, most consoling and most touching. It is not only one or a few of you who have seen these wonderful things, but the entire three hundred here assembled have witnessed them. Now if there be but one little spark of divine love in your hearts, sentiments of gratitude and hymns of praise in honor of the Divine goodness and Majesty ought to flow incessantly from your lips."
(Ex. lib. inter. B. Alanus rediv., Par. 3, Chap. 22).


 

 

THE MONTH OF MARCH IS DEDICATED IN HONOR OF

Saint Joseph

     

PROMINENT FEASTS OF MARCH

Feast of the Holy Face of Jesus...for more info click here March 4th

Ash Wednesday... for more info click here

March 5th
Feast of St. Thomas Aquinas, Confessor, Doctor... for more info click here March 7th

Feast of St. John of God, Confessor

March 8th
Feast of the Forty Holy Martyrs of Sabaste, Martyrs March 10th
Feast of St. Gregory I, Pope, Confessor, Doctor March 12th
Feast of St. Patrick, Confessor, Bishop... for more info click here March 17th
Feast of St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Bishop, Confessor, Doctor March 18th

Feast of St. Joseph, Spouse of the Blessed Virgin Mary...for more info click here

March 19th
Feast of St. Benedict, Abbot March 21st

Feast of St. Gabriel, Archangel

March 24th
Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary...for more info click here March 25th
EMBER DAYS: March th , th & th ...for more info click here

 

The MONTH of FEBRUARY is dedicated in honor OF THE

SACRED PaSSION of Jesus

     

PROMINENT FEAST OF FEBRUARY

Purification of the Blessed Virgin Mary & Our Lady of Good Success February 2nd

Feast of St. Blaise, Bishop, Martyr

February 3rd
Feast of St. Agatha, Virgin, Martyr February 5th

Feast of St. Scholastica, Virgin

February 10th
Our Lady of Lourdes February 11th
Feast of the Seven Holy Founders February 12th
Feast of St. Catherine de Ricci, Virgin February 13th
Feast of St. Valentine, Confessor, Martyr February 14th

Feast of St. Peter's Chair at Antioch

February 22nd
Feast of St. Peter Damian, Bishop, Confessor, Doctor February 23rd

Feast of St. Matthias, Apostle

February 24th
Feast of St. Gabriel of Our Lady of Sorrows, Confessor February 27th

 

 

For More information on

Our Lady of Good Success...Click Here


 

 

The MONTH of DECEMBER is dedicated in honor OF THE

Divine Infant

     

PROMINENT FEAST OF DECEMBER

Feast of St. Francis Xavier, Confessor December 3rd

Feast of St. Nicholas, Confessor, Bishop

December 6th
Feast of St. Ambrose, Doctor, Bishop, Confessor December 7th

Feast of the Immaculate Conception -Holy Day of Obligation

(transferred from December 8th due to the II Sunday of Advent)

December 9th
Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe December 12th
Feast of St. Lucy, Virgin, Martyr December 13th
Feast of St. Thomas, Apostle December 21st
Feast of St. Frances Xavier Cabrini, Virgin December 22nd

Feast of Sts. Adam & Eve

Fast and Abstain on December 24th in preparation of Christmas

December 24th
Christmas- Holy Day of Obligation December 25th

Feast of St. Stephen, First Martyr of the Catholic Church

December 26th
Feast of St. John, Apostle, Evangelist December 27th
Feast of the Holy Innocents, Martyrs December 28th
Feast of Thomas Becket, Confessor, Martyr & King David, Prophet December 29th
   
Ember Days: December , & - For more information Click Here  

 

"Because the virgin Mary was raised to such a lofty dignity as to be the mother of the King of kings, it is deservedly and by every right that the Church has honored her with the title of 'Queen'."
-St. Alphonsus Ligouri

The MONTH of MAY is dedicated in honor OF THE

  BLESSED Virgin Mary

 

PROMINENT FEASTS OF MAY

Feast of St. Joseph the Worker May 1st
Feast of the Athanasius, Bishop, Confessor, Doctor May 2nd
Finding of the Holy Cross May 3rd
Feast of St. Monica, Widow May 4th
Feast of St. Pius V, Pope, Confessor May 5th
Feast of St. Stanislaus, Bishop, Doctor May 7th

Feast of St. Antoninus, Bishop, Confessor

May 10th
Feast of Sts. Phillip & James, Apostles May 11th

Feast of St. Robert Bellarmine, Bishop, Confessor, Doctor

Feast of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament

May 13th
Feast of St. Servatius, Bishop, Confessor May 22nd
Feast of St. Phillip Neri, Confessor May 26th
Feast of St. Joan of Arc, Virgin May 30th
Queenship of Mary May 31st

"To desire grace without recourse to the Virgin Mother is to desire to fly without wings."

- Pope Pius XII

 

"No one will ever be the servant of the Son without serving the Mother."

- St. Ildephonsus

 

"Men do not fear a powerful hostile army as the powers of hell fear the name and protection of Mary."

-St. Bonaventure

 

"Men do not fear a powerful hostile army as the powers of hell fear the name and protection of Mary."

-St. Bonaventure

 

APPROVED APPARITIONS AND MESSAGES FROM

OUR BLESSED MOTHER...CLICK HERE

 

FOR INFORMATION ON ROGATION DAYS...CLICK HERE

 

 

HISTORY OF OUR LADY OF THE MOST BLESSED SACRAMENT

Bl. Peter Julian Eymard, of France, had a strong devotion to the Holy Eucharist and Our Lady and began his priestly life in the Society of Mary.  “But his heart burned with the desire to establish perpetual adoration of Jesus in the Blessed Sacrament exposed upon a royal throne and surrounded by a large court of adorers.”  On February 2, 1851, at the shrine of Fourvière,  the most Blessed Virgin had made him understand its necessity.  ‘All the mysteries of my Son have a religious order of men to honor them.  The Eucharist alone has none ...’  After several years of prudent reflection and interior combat, encouraged by Pope Pius IX, he founded the Congregation of the Most Blessed Sacrament at Paris on May 13, 1856. The title of Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament was first given to Mary by Bl. Peter Julian Eymard in May 1868, while speaking to his novices. A few years later he described what her statue should look like: "The Blessed Virgin holds the Infant in her arms; and He holds a chalice in one hand and a Host in the other." He exhorted them to invoke Mary: "Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, pray for us who have recourse to thee!"Later, Pope Pius IX enriched the invocation with indulgences. Twice, Pope St. Pius X did the same.  On December 30, 1905, he granted a 300 days indulgence to the faithful who pray: “Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament, pray for us.” “This title, Our Lady of the Blessed Sacrament, is perhaps the most meaningful of all," said Pope St. Pius X. In 1921 the Sacred Congregation of Rites authorized the Blessed Sacrament Congregations to celebrate each year, on May 13th, a "solemn commemoration of the Blessed Virgin," with the intention of honoring Mary under the title of "Our Lady of the Most Blessed Sacrament."  Bl. Peter Julian Eymard was beatified on July 12, 1925 by Pope Pius XII.

 


The MONTH of JUNE is dedicated in honor OF THE

  Sacred Heart of Jesus

PROMINENT FEASTS OF JUNE

Feast of St. Boniface, Bishop & Martyr

June 5th

Feast of St. Norbert, Bishop, Founder & Confessor

June6th

Feast of St. Margaret of Scotland, Queen & Widow

June 10th

Feast of St. Barnabas, Apostle

June 11th
Feast of St. Anthony of Padua, Confessor & Doctor June 13th
Feast of St. Basil the Great, Bishop, Confessor & Doctor June 14th
Corpus Christi (2014) June 19th

Feast of St. Aloysius Gonzaga, Confessor

June 21st
Feast of the Nativity of St. John the Baptist June 24th

Feast of the Sacred Heart of Jesus (2014)

June 27th
Feast of Sts. Peter & Paul, Apostles June 29th
Commemoration of St. Paul, Apostle June 30th

 

INFORMATION AND PRAYERS IN HONOR OF THE

SACRED HEART OF JESUS 

 

SACRED HEART & FIRST FRIDAY INFO...CLICK HERE

SACRED HEART DEVOTIONS AND PRAYERS ...CLICK HERE


 

Liturgical Season of Lent
 

 

A Guide for Lent...Click Here

Holy Face History and Devotions

Ash Wednesday

Ember Wednesday, Friday & Saturday

Passion Sunday

Palm Sunday

Spy Wednesday

Maundy (Holy) Thursday

Good Friday

Holy Saturday
 


Advent Meditation:
The Abasement of Jesus

by St. Alphonsus De Liguori

"Taking the form of a servant."--1 Phil. ii. 7.

The eternal Word descends on earth to save man; and whence does he descend? His going out is from the end of heaven (Ps. xviii. 7). He descends from the bosom of His divine Father, where from eternity He was begotten in the brightness of the saints. And where does He descend? He descends into the womb of a Virgin, a child of Adam, which in comparison with the bosom of God is an object of horror; wherefore the Church sings, "Thou didst not abhor the Virgin's womb." Yes, because the Word being in the bosom of the Father is God like the Father,-- is immense, omnipotent, most blessed and supreme Lord, and equal in everything to the Father. But in the womb of Mary He is a creature, small, weak, afflicted, a servant inferior to the Father, taking the form of a servant."

It is related as a great prodigy of humility in St. Alexis that, although he was the son of a Roman gentleman, he chose to live as a servant in his father's house. But how is the humility of this saint to be compared with the humility of Jesus Christ? Between the son and the servant of the father of St. Alexis there was, it is true, some difference; but between God and the servant of God there is an infinite difference. Besides, this Son of God having become the servant of His Father, in obedience to Him, made Himself also the servant of His creatures, that is to say, of Mary and Joseph: And He was subject to them. Moreover, He made Himself even a servant of Pilate, who condemned Him to death, and He was obedient to Him and accepted it; He became a servant to the executioners, who scourged Him, crowned Him with thorns, and crucified Him; and He humbly obeyed them all, and yielded Himself into their hands.

O God! and shall we, after this, refuse to submit ourselves to the service of so loving a Saviour, who, to save us, has subjected Himself to such painful and degrading slavery? And rather than be the servants of this great and so loving a Lord, shall we be content to be slaves of the devil, who does not love his servants, but hates them and treats them like a tyrant, making them miserable and wretched in this world and in the next? But if we have been guilty of this great folly, why do we not quickly give up this unhappy servitude? Courage, then, since we have been delivered by Jesus Christ from the slavery of hell; let us now embrace and bind around us with love those sweet chains, which will render us servants and lovers of Jesus Christ, and hereafter obtain for us the crown of the eternal kingdom amongst the blessed in Paradise.

Prayers:

Hail and blessed be the hour and moment In which the Son of God was born Of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in the piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, I beseech Thee, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires, [here mention your request] through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of His blessed Mother. Amen.

 

My beloved Jesus, Thou art the Sovereign of heaven and earth; but for the love of me Thou hast made Thyself a servant even of the executioners who tore Thy flesh, pierced Thy head, and finally left Thee nailed on the cross to die of sorrow. I adore Thee as my God and Lord, and I am ashamed to appear before Thee, when I remember how often, for the sake of some miserable pleasure, I have broken Thy holy bonds, and have told Thee to Thy face that I would not serve Thee. Ah, Thou mayst justly reproach me: Thou hast burst my bands, and thou saidst: I will not serve (Jer. ii. 20). But still, O my Saviour, Thy merits and Thy goodness, which cannot despise a heart that repents and humbles itself, give me courage to hope for pardon: A contrite and humble heart, O God, Thou wilt not despise (Isa. 1. 19). I confess, my Jesus, that I have offended Thee greatly; I confess that I deserve a thousand hells for the sins I have committed against Thee; chasten me as Thou seest fit, but do not deprive me of Thy grace and love. I repent above every other evil of having despised Thee. I love Thee with my whole heart. I propose from this day forth to desire to serve Thee and love Thee alone. I pray Thee bind me by Thy merits with the chains of Thy holy love, and never suffer that I see myself released from them again.

I love Thee above everything, O my deliverer; and I would prefer being Thy servant to being master of the whole world. And of what avail would all the world be to him who lives deprived of Thy grace? "My sweetest Jesus, permit me not to separate myself from Thee, permit me not to separate myself from Thee." This grace I ask of Thee, and I intend always to ask it; and I beg of Thee to grant me this day the grace to repeat continually to the end of my life this prayer: My Jesus, grant that I may never again separate myself from Thy love. I ask this favor of Thee also, O Mary, my Mother: help me by thy intercession, that I may never separate myself again from my God. Amen.

Reading:
"The Mystery of Advent"
from Dom Gueranger's "Liturgical Year"

If, having described the characteristic features of Advent which distinguish it from the rest of the year, we would penetrate into the profound Mystery which occupies the mind of the Church during this season, we find that the Mystery of this Coming, or Advent, of Jesus is at once simple and threefold. It is simple for it is the one same Son of God that is coming; it is threefold because He comes at three different times and in three different ways.

'In the first coming,' says St. Bernard, 'He comes in the flesh and in weakness; in the second, He comes in spirit and power; in the third, He comes in glory and majesty; and the second coming is the means whereby we pass from the first to the third.'

This, then, is the mystery of Advent. Let us now listen to an explanation of this threefold visit of Christ, given to us by Peter of Blois, in his third sermon de Adventu: 'There are three comings of Our Lord; the first in the flesh; the second in the soul; the third at judgment. The first was at midnight according to the words of the Gospel: At Midnight there was a cry made, Lo, the Bridegroom cometh! But this first coming is long since past for Christ has been seen on the earth and has conversed among men. We are now in the second coming, provided only we are such as that He may thus come to us; for He has said that if we love Him, He will come to us and take up His abode with us. So that this second coming is full of uncertainty for us; for who, save the spirit of God, knows them that are of God? They that are raised out of themselves by the desire of heavenly things, know indeed when He comes, but whence He cometh or whither He goeth they know not. As for the third coming, it is most certain that it will be, most uncertain when it will be; for nothing is more sure than death, and nothing less sure than the hour of death. When they shall say, peace and security, says the apostle, then shall sudden destruction come upon them, as the pains upon her that is with child, and they shall not escape. So that the first coming was humble and hidden, the second is mysterious and full of love, the third will be majestic and terrible. In His first coming, Christ was judged by men unjustly; in His second, He renders us just by His grace; in His first, a lamb; in His last, a lion; in the one between the two, the tenderest of friends.'

The holy Church, therefore, during Advent, awaits in tears and with ardor the arrival of her Jesus in His first coming. For this, she borrows the fervid expressions of the prophets, to which she joins her own supplications. These longings for the Messias expressed by the Church, are not a mere commemoration of the desires of the ancient Jewish people; they have a reality and efficacy of their own, an influence in the great act of God's munificence, whereby He gave us His own Son. From all eternity, the prayers of the ancient Jewish people and the prayers of the Christian Church ascended together to the prescient hearing of God; and it was after the receiving and granting them, that He sent, in the appointed time, that blessed Dew upon the earth, which made it bud forth the Savior.

The Church aspires also to the second coming, the consequence of the first, which consists, as we have just seen, in the visit of the Bridegroom to the bride. This coming takes place, each year, at the feast of Christmas, when the new birth of the Son of God delivers the faithful from that yoke of bondage, under which the enemy would oppress them. The Church, therefore, during Advent, prays that she may be visited by Him who is her Head and her Spouse; visited in her hierarchy; visited in her members, of whom some are living, and some are dead, but may come to life again; visited, lastly, in those who are not in communion with her, and even in the very infidels, that so they may be converted to the true light, which shines even for them. The expressions of the liturgy which the Church makes use of to ask for this loving and invisible coming, are those which she employs when begging for the coming of Jesus in the flesh; for the two visits are for the same object. In vain would the Son of God have come, nineteen hundred years ago, to visit and save mankind, unless He came again for each one of us and at every moment of our lives, bringing to us and cherishing within us that supernatural life, of which He and His holy Spirit are the sole principle.

But this annual visit of the Spouse does not content the Church; she aspires after a third coming which will complete all things by opening the gates of eternity. She has caught up the last words of her Spouse, 'Surely I am coming quickly,' and she cries out to Him, 'Ah! Lord Jesus Come!' She is impatient to be loosed from her present temporal state; she longs for the number of the elect to be filled up, and to see appear, in the clouds of heaven, the sign of her Deliverer and her Spouse. Her desires, expressed by her Advent liturgy, go even as far as this: and here we have the explanation of these words of the beloved disciple in his prophecy: 'The nuptials of the Lamb are come, and His wife hath prepared herself.'

But the day of His last coming to her will be a day of terror. The Church frequently trembles at the very thought of that awful judgment, in which all mankind is to be tried. She calls it 'a day of wrath, on which, as David and the Sibyl have foretold, the world will be reduced to ashes; a day of weeping and of fear.' Not that she fears for herself, since she knows that this day will for ever secure for her the crown, as being the bride of Jesus; but her maternal heart is troubled at the thought that, on the same day, so many of her children will be on the left hand of that Judge, and having no share with the elect, will be bound hand and foot, and cast into the darkness, where there shall be everlasting weeping and gnashing of teeth. This is the reason why the Church, in the liturgy of Advent, so frequently speaks of the coming of Christ as a terrible coming, and selects from the Scriptures those passages which are most calculated to awaken a salutary fear in the mind of such of her children as may be sleeping the sleep of sin.

This, then, is the threefold mystery of Advent. The liturgical forms in which it is embodied, are of two kinds: the one consists of prayers, passages from the Bible, and similar formulae, in all of which, words themselves are employed to convey the sentiments which we have been explaining; the other consists of external rites peculiar to this holy time, which by speaking to the outward senses, complete the expressiveness of the chants and words.

First of all, there is the number of the days of Advent. Forty was the number originally adopted by the Church, and it is still maintained in the Ambrosian liturgy, and in the eastern Church. If, at a later period, the Church of Rome, and those which follow her liturgy, have changed the number of days, the same idea is still expressed in the four weeks which have been substituted for the forty days. The new birth of our Redeemer takes place after four weeks, as the first nativity happened after four thousand years, according to the Hebrew and Vulgate chronology.

As in Lent, so likewise during Advent, marriage is not solemnized, lest worldly joy should distract Christians from those serious thoughts wherewith the expected coming of the sovereign Judge ought to inspire them or from that dearly cherished hope which the friends of the Bridegroom have of being soon called to the eternal nuptial-feast.

The people are forcibly reminded of the sadness which fills the heart of the Church, by the somber color of the vestments. Excepting on the feasts of the saints, purple is the color she uses; the deacon does not wear the dalmatic, nor the sub-deacon the tunic. Formerly it was the custom, in some places, to wear black vestments. This mourning of the Church shows how fully she unites herself with those true Israelites of old who, clothed in sack-cloth and ashes, waited for the Messias, and bewailed Sion that she had not her beauty, and Juda, that the scepter had been taken from him, till He should come who was to be sent, the expectation of nations. It also signifies the works of penance, whereby she prepares for the second coming, full as it is of sweetness and mystery, which is realized in the souls of men, in proportion as they appreciate the tender love of that divine Guest, who has said: 'My delights are to be with the children of men.' It expresses, thirdly, the desolation of this bride who yearns after her Beloved, who is long a-coming. Like the turtle dove, she moans her loneliness, longing for the voice which will say to her: 'Come from Libanus, my bride! come and thou shalt be crowned. Thou has responded to my heart.'

The Church also, during Advent, excepting on the feasts of saints, suppresses the angelic canticle, Gloria in excelsis Deo, et in terra pax hominibus bonae voluntatis; for this glorious song was sung at Bethlehem over the crib of the divine Babe; the tongues of the angels are not loosened yet; the Virgin has not yet brought forth her divine Treasure; it is not yet time to sin, it is not even true to say, 'Glory be to God in the highest, and peace on earth to men of good will.'

Again, at the end of Mass, the deacon does not dismiss the assembly of the faithful by the words: Ite missa est. He substitutes the ordinary greeting: Benedicamus Domino! as though the Church feared to interrupt the prayers of the people, which could scarce be too long during these days of expectation.

In the night Office, the holy Church also suspends, on those same days, the hymn of jubilation, Te Deum laudamus. It is in deep humility that she awaits the supreme blessing which is to come to her; and, in the interval, she presumes only to ask, and entreat, and hope. But let the glorious hour come, when in the midst of darkest night the Sun of justice will suddenly rise upon the world: then indeed she will resume her hymn of thanksgiving, and all over the face of the earth the silence of midnight will be broken by this shout of enthusiasm: 'We praise Thee, O God! we acknowledge Thee to be our Lord! Thou, O Christ, art the King of glory, the everlasting Son of the Father! Thou being to deliver man didst not disdain the Virgin's womb!'

On the ferial days, the rubrics of Advent prescribe that certain prayers should be said kneeling, at the end of each canonical Hour, and that the choir should also kneel during a considerable portion of the Mass. In this respect, the usages of Advent are precisely the same as those of Lent.

But there is one feature which distinguishes Advent most markedly from Lent: the word of gladness, the joyful Alleluia, is not interrupted during Advent, except once or twice during the ferial Office. It is sung in the Masses of the four Sundays, and vividly contrasts with the somber color of the vestments. On one of these Sundays, the third, the prohibition of using the organ is removed, and we are gladdened by the grand notes, and rose-colored vestments may be used instead of the purple. These vestiges of joy, thus blended with the holy mournfulness of the Church, tell us, in a most expressive way, that though she unites with the ancient people of God (thus paying the debt which the entire human race owes to the justice and mercy of God), she does not forget that the Emmanuel is already come to her, that He is in her, and that even before she has opened her lips to ask Him to save her, she has already been redeemed and pre-destined to an eternal union with Him. This is the reason why the Alleluia accompanies even her sighs, and why she seems to be at once joyous and sad, waiting for the coming of that holy night which will be brighter to her than the most sunny of days, and on which her joy will expel all her sorrow.

 

 

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