Hello everyone, good morning to you all. I hope you are well today.

Welcome to Friday’s Spiritual Lift and the final one of this school Term and Calendar Year for 2021!

May the Lord in His love keep you and your families safe and well as we break for the Christmas holidays today.  May you experience all the wonder and blessings of the festive season and the joy of Christmas. Wishing you all a safe, blessed and hopeful New Year in 2022. 

Weekly Advent Scripture:

Here is our Scripture for this week. We are now in the third week of Advent and last Sunday, we lit the rose/pink coloured candle – the candle of Joy – as we celebrated Gaudete or Rejoicing Sunday on our Advent wreath.  This reminds us that Jesus is not far away – His Birth is just around the corner.  He is coming soon!  Let us continue our Advent preparation and welcome Him into our hearts again this Christmas time. Our verses this week come from the prophet Zephaniah. 

(Zeph 3:14, 18)

“Shout for joy, daughter of Zion, Israel, shout aloud! Rejoice, exult, with all your heart, daughter of Jerusalem.  The Lord your God is in your midst, a victorious warrior.  He will exult with joy over you, he will renew you by his love, he will dance with shouts of joy for you as on a day of festival.”

The ‘O’ Antiphons Devotion. 

The Advent Season has two parts.  From Advent Sunday until 16th December, it is Advent I.  From 17th December until 23rd December it is Advent II.  

During Advent II, we pray the ‘O’ Antiphons. They refer to some of the ancient titles of Jesus and there are readings from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah for each one.   Here is some information and links about this devotion: Advent I focuses on Jesus’ first coming among us as He was born in Bethlehem and became Man for us – God becoming flesh.  

Advent II focuses on Jesus’ Second Coming as King and Judge of the whole world and the Universe to establish God’s Kingdom at the end of time and all things. 

Today, our ‘O’ Antiphon is: O Sapientia – O Wisdom.  The scripture reference today is: Isaiah 11:2-3, 28:29 

You can access these devotions from now until 23rd December.  There are seven devotions in all. 

Here is a link which helps to explain these special devotions in more detail.

 Liturgical Year : Activities : O Antiphons – December 17 – 24 | Catholic Culture

Daily Advent Calendar:

Every day we shall open our Advent Calendar which has a scripture which tells the story of the first Christmas, and we can reflect in each of the readings upon during this lovely Season of Hope, Light and expectation!  

As we open our window on the Advent Calendar for today, 17th December, the symbol and picture on our Calendar is of:

The Infant Jesus sleeping in the manger full of hay surrounded by stars and light from heaven. 

Our scripture verses today taken from the CTS New Catholic Bible come from: The Book of the Prophet Isaiah (Isaiah 9:5) 

“For there is a child born for us, a son given to us and dominion is laid on his shoulders; and this is the name they give him: Wonder-Counsellor, Mighty-God, Eternal-Father, Prince-of-Peace.” 

Today as we open the window on our Advent Calendar, we see the lovely image of our Lord Jesus asleep in a manger full of soft hay, wrapped in cloths and surrounded by light and stars.  Our invisible God has become visible. Our immense, untouchable, Holy God has become small, a little baby, made flesh, made human for our salvation.  God the Father has revealed His heart of love for our world as He gives us His only Son, Jesus. The true gift of Christmas is the Eternal Gift of Jesus to us and for us. May we, this Christmastime accept this wonderful Gift again and give thanks for God’s love and care for us. 

Our Advent prayer during this month:  Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!  

(Mar’anatha – Aramaic – the Language Jesus would have spoken – which means, come, Lord Jesus! Revelation 22:20 and c.f. 1 Corinthians 16:22d) 

Advent 2021:

We continue on our Advent journey.   We are encouraged to prepare our hearts for the Birth of Our Lord Jesus at Christmas and we look forward with joy and hopeful expectation in the days ahead.  May we grow closer to the Lord in this lovely Season and remember God’s love for each one of us as He gave us His Son, Jesus to be our Saviour. The special colours of the Season are purple/violet and rose pink. Here is some information from the Liturgy Office.

Cycle of Prayer- Liturgy Office Advent:

Liturgical Calendar | Season of Advent (liturgyoffice.org.uk)

Liturgical Calendar | Season of Advent – Liturgy Office

Advent has a twofold character: for it is a time of preparation for the Solemnities of Christmas, in which the First Coming of the Son of God to humanity is remembered; and likewise when, by remembrance of this, minds and hearts are led to look forward to Christ’s Second Coming at the end of time.

www.liturgyoffice.org.uk

Advent Jesse Tree:

A lovely tradition within the Church is to pray and reflect on the Family Tree of Jesus Christ Our Lord and Saviour.  It is called a ‘Jesse Tree’ and with prayers, scripture readings and reflections, along with symbols relating to each day of the devotion these are hung on a tree throughout December and the Season of Advent. The ‘Jesse Tree’ links us up with the Genealogy – the Family line -of Jesus as recorded in St Matthew’s Gospel, all the way from Abraham to Jesus Himself. (Matthew 1:1-16) 

The ‘tree’ can be either a paper one, the main Christmas Tree in the family room or a special little tree, made from evergreens for this use.   

It is called a ‘Jesse Tree’, because Jesse was the father of King David, and Jesus is related to King David because He is of the Family Line and House of David through St Joseph.  This was part of the Lord’s plan for our redemption and salvation through Jesus.  St Joseph, foster-father and guardian of Jesus and Husband of Mary, Our Lady, was of the Family Line of David, which is why Jesus was born in Bethlehem because David’s Line originated here.  

Here is some information about this devotion and tradition in the link below.   May this help you reflect and pray with the Jesse Tree devotions. It is taken from Catholic Culture all about this beautiful Advent devotion.

Liturgical Year : Activities : Jesse Tree Symbols | Catholic Culture

Holy Father’s Prayer Intentions – December. Let us join in prayer with Pope Francis during this joyful Advent Season. 

Pope’s Prayer Intention – December 2021 – Missio

Our MAC Prayer: 

Our Lady of the Magnificat, Mary the Mother of Jesus, pray for us.  Amen.

Our prayers for today: 

Today, I will be keeping a special prayer candle burning for you and will remember you and your prayer intentions before the Lord.

Let us ask…..

Our Lady of the Magnificat, pray for us.  Amen. 

Our Lady of Sorrows, Mother and Comforter of the Afflicted, pray for us.  Amen. 

Our Lady of Walsingham, pray for us.  Amen.

Mary the Mother of Jesus, Mother of the Church, pray for us.  Amen.

Our Lady of Lourdes, Patron of our Archdiocese, Health of the Sick and Comforter of the Afflicted, pray for us. Amen.

Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Beauty of Carmel, pray for us.  Amen.

St Joseph, pray for us.  Amen. 

St Luke, Beloved Physician (Doctor) and companion of St Paul the Apostle, Patron of Doctors and Healthcare professionals, pray for us. Amen.

St Jude Thaddeus, Patron of impossible or difficult circumstances, pray for us.  Amen.

St Raphael, Archangel, God’s healing Angel, pray for us.  Amen.

St Catherine of Siena, Patron of Nurses, pray for us.  Amen.

St Camillus of Lellis, Patron of the Sick, pray for us. Amen.

St Sebastian, patron of the sick and plagues of disease, pray for us.  Amen. 

St John Henry Newman, pray for us.  Amen.

Blessed Dominic Barberi, pray for us.  Amen. 

Blessings to you all on this day.

Miss Downes

Categories: Catholic Life

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