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22
Dec

Preparing our Hearts, Part III

Dominique Deming

Today the Virgin is on her way to the cave where she will give birth to the eternal Word of God in an ineffable manner.  Rejoice, therefore, O’universe, when you hear this news, and glorify, with the angels and the shepherds, Him who shall appear as a young child, being God from all eternity.1

Today, as we prepare our hearts for the birth of the Savior of our souls, let us, under the guidance of Saint Bernard, contemplate the beauty of the Virgin and her place in the work of our salvation.  For, as the Holy Prophet Isaiah prophesied regarding her, “There shall come forth a rod from the stump of Jesse, and a branch shall grow out of his roots” (Is 11:1).

O Virgin, Sublime Rod, to what holy eminence are you come on high?  Even to the very throne, even to the Lord of all Majesty?  And what wonder, since to the very depths thou dost send down the roots of thy own humility.  O Truly Celestial Blossoming Rod, more precious, more holy, than all the rest!  O True Wood of Life, that alone was found worthy to bear the fruit of salvation!

Thou art caught, evil serpent, in the trap of thine own cunning, thy falsity is laid bare.  Two things you had charged against your Creator: you had accused Him of falsehood, and of envy.  But in either case it is you that is proved the liar.  Because as to the first charge, he died to whom you said: “No, you shall not die the death” (Gen 3:4).  And answer Him now if you can, of what tree, or, of the fruit of what tree, should He be envious, Who refused us not even this chosen branch, and its sublime fruit?  “For he that spared not even his own Son, and how hath He not also, with Him given us all things” (Rom 8:32).

 

[Brethren], the Royal Virgin is herself the Way through which the Saviour comes, coming forth from her womb “as a bridegroom coming forth from his bridalchamber.”  Holding fast then to this way, let us strive, Beloved, to ascend through her to Him, Who through her has come down to us; to reach by her aid to His divine forgiveness, Who came by way of her to take away our woe.

 

Through thee have we access to Thy Son, O Blessed Discoverer of Grace, Mother of Life, Mother of Salvation!  May He through thee forgive us, Who by thee was given unto us.  May thy blameless integrity plead with Him, that He look not upon our corruption; and let thy humility that so pleases God, obtain the pardon of our pride.

 

Let thy boundless charity cover the multitude of our sins, and thy glorious fruitfulness bring us an abundance of mercies.  Our Lady, Our Mediatrix, present us to Thy Son.  Speak for us to Thy Son.  Grant, O Most Blessed, through the graces thou hast earned, through the privileges thou hast merited, through the mercy thou hast received, that He Who deigned by means of thee, to become a Sharer of our infirmity and sorrow, may through thy intercession make us sharers of His Glory and of His Joy, Jesus Christ Thy Son Our Lord, Who is above all God the Blessed unto ages of ages.  Amen2

1 Kontakian of Advent, Festal Menaion.

2 Bernard of Clairvaux, The Advent of the Lord and its Six Circumstances (Hom. 1)

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