24 December, Fourth Sunday of Advent C

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Drop down dew, you heavens, from above,
and let the clouds rain down the Just One:
let the earth be opened and bud forth a Saviour (Is 45:8).


Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord,
Thy grace into our hearts,
that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ Thy Son,
was made known by the message of an angel,
may by His passion and cross
be brought to the glory of His resurrection.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son,
who with Thee lives and reigns
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God forever and ever.


That the Church in every place
may be graced with the faith of the Blessed Virgin Mary
to conceive and bear the Word, and, in obedience to the Holy Spirit,
hasten to carry the hidden Christ into every human situation,
let us pray in silence — for the Lord is near. (Pause for silence.)

That world leaders of good will,
supported by the prayer of Jews and Gentiles alike,
may seek peace and mercy
for the hill country blessed by the steps of the Christ-bearing Virgin
and for the entire Middle East,
let us pray in silence — for the Lord is near. (Pause for silence.)

That she who, in the little space of her womb,
enclosed the Creator of the heavens
may visit those most in need of her presence today:
to cheer the lonely,
to reconcile the estranged,
to heal the sick,
and to comfort the dying,
let us pray in silence — for the Lord is near. (Pause for silence.)

That expectant mothers
may cherish and reverence the gift of life entrusted to them
and, like Elizabeth, and the Virgin Mary, come to rejoice in their children,
let us pray in silence — for the Lord is near. (Pause for silence.)

That as we rejoice in the Visitation of the Virgin,
we may allow the Word to germinate within us
until, under the action of the Holy Spirit,
praise becomes our very life and breath,
let us pray in silence — for the Lord is near. (Pause for silence.)


O God, Saviour of mankind,
who by the visitation of the Blessed Virgin Mary,
the ark of the new covenant,
didst bring salvation to the house of Elizabeth,
grant, we beseech Thee,
that, by yielding to the breath of the Holy Spirit,
we may even now rejoice with unutterable and exalted joy
in the light of the Face of Thy Christ
and, gladdened by the company of the Virgin Mother,
turn with all our hearts to Him who is our peace:
Christ who is Lord forever and ever.


Hail, Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee:
blessed art thou amongst women
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus (Lk 1:28, 42).


Let that same Spirit, O Lord,
who by His power didst fill the womb of blessed Mary
sanctify also the gifts placed upon Thy altar.
Through Christ our Lord.

(Ambrosian Missal, Sunday VI of Advent, trans. Alan Griffiths)

Truly it is right and just, our duty and our salvation,
always and everywhere to give Thee thanks,
and with the invocation of Thy wonderful works
to celebrate this festival of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

From her womb, the fruit has flowered
who fills us with the very bread of angels.
What Eve had lost by her transgression,
Mary has restored for our salvation.
From one motherhood flows a bitter guilt;
from the same motherhood, the advent of the Saviour.
Where once the tempter had prevailed,
now comes a Redeemer as his powerful foe.
From a mortal birth arises the Creator
who leads the human race from slavery to freedom,
and that which is lost to us in our father Adam
is now restored once more by Christ our Maker.

With Thee, the all-powerful Father
and with the Holy Spirit,
Christ is the praise of angels and archangels,
the acclaim of heavenly powers,
the glory of cherubim and seraphim;
with these, we pray Thee, join our voices,
in this, their hymn of joyful supplication:


Behold, a Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son,
whose name shall be Emmanuel (Is 7:14).


Almighty God,
filled already with the pledge of eternal redemption,
we ask that,
as we draw nearer to the festival of our salvation,
we may grow in devotion
so as to celebrate worthily
the mystery of the nativity of Thy Son.
Through Christ our Lord.


May the Father who chose Mary from among all women
to be the mother of His only-begotten Son
fill you, at her visitation, with the joy of the Holy Spirit.
R. Amen.

May Christ, hidden in the Church today
as once in the womb of the God-bearing Virgin,
continue to touch you by His presence in word and sacrament.
R. Amen.

May the Holy Spirit who filled Elizabeth with joy
at the approach of the Virgin Mother and of her Child,
gladden your hearts at the approach of the feasts of our redemption.
R. Amen.

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About Dom Mark

Dom Mark Daniel Kirby is Conventual Prior of Silverstream Priory in Stamullen, County Meath, Ireland. The ecclesial mandate of his Benedictine community is the adoration of the Most Holy Sacrament of the Altar in a spirit of reparation, and in intercession for the sanctification of priests.

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