Advent Prayers

ADVENT SERVICES

CARMELITE SISTERS OF ST. TERESA

 

As we prepare for the coming of the Lord may we deepen our commitment and be mystic and prophetic presence in the world around us

FOR THE ADVENT ALTAR

Advent wreath without flowers. 3 Purple candles and one pink candle to be lighted from 3rd week onwards. Light the Christ candle on 1st day itself. Holy Bible and the image of Mother Mary are also to be placed throughout the season of advent.

INTRODUCTION

The word Advent means "coming" or "arrival." The focus of the entire season is the celebration of the birth of Jesus the Christ in his First Advent, and the anticipation of the return of Christ the King in his Second Advent. Advent also symbolizes the spiritual journey of individuals and communities, as they affirm that Christ has come, that He is present in the world today, and that He will come again in power. That acknowledgment provides a basis for Kingdom ethics, for holy living arising from a profound sense that we live "between the times" and are called to be faithful stewards of what is entrusted to us as God’s people. So, as the church celebrates God’s inbreaking into history in the Incarnation, and anticipates a future consummation to that history for which "all creation is groaning awaiting its redemption," it also confesses its own responsibility as a people commissioned to "love the Lord your God with all your heart" and to "love your neighbor as yourself." As CSST sisters who are called to be mystics and prophets in today’s world, let us join the universal church to make the WORD incarnate in our midst.

Each community prepare for the great Christ event in their own special way. The little booklet could be helpful when preparing the advent services. You may adapt them according to your own situation and modify them as you feel best. These services are prepared with the theme of our General Chapter in mind-Dare to be Mystic and Prophet. Realizing our mystical and prophetic call, let us earnestly pray that the savior may fill our hearts with his mystical light and prophetic word to make known his reign among his people.

FIRST WEEK OF ADVENT

Saturday Eve

The lamp is lit for the first time in all solemnity. During that time a bhajan or a hymn on light should be sung.

Commentator: As our nights grow longer and our days grow short, we look on these earthly

 signs--light and green branches--and remember God's promise to our world: Christ, our Light

and our Hope, will come. Listen to the words of Jeremiah the prophet

Reading: Jer. 33:14-16

Christ comes through each and every person. Christ is present in the nature around us. Do we hear his silent steps that gently pass through the corridors of our lives, inviting us to become the messengers of justice and righteousness?

Pause

When did I hear the silent steps of Christ that beckoned me to stand for justice?

Silence

Hymn: have you not heard his silent steps…

O God, rejoicing, we remember the promise of your Son. As the light from this candle,
may the blessing of Christ come upon us, brightening our way and guiding us by his truth.
May Christ our Savior bring life into the darkness of our world, and to us, as we wait for his coming.

Hymn: O come O come Immanuel

Sunday

Hymn: N 10

Prophet is the one who has a passion for God and passion for humanity. His passion meets its fulfillment in the encounter he experiences in the stillness of his heart. This is an impetus to be zealous for the living God.

In the book of Kings, we come across a man whose passion for God gave him the courage to face the tension created by his enemy.

I Kings 19: 1-10

Advent is a time we retreat in to the cave of our hearts to meet the king of kings. Sometimes, our ‘tapas’ turn out to be moments of flee from the Jezebels of our life- conflicting situations caused by our own selfishness, our inability to accept those who have challenged our vulnerabilities

Silence 

O God of silence and God of our liberation, may we come out of our comfort zone of our Mount Horeb to meet you the living God in the daily realities of our lives.

Hymn: Yahweh, I know you are here…

(The prayer below is said when the feast of St Francis Xavier is celebrated)

Today we remember, St Francis Xavier, one of the most zealous missionary who had a passion for God and passion for humanity. O God set ablaze our Spirit to preach you with our very life and thus proclaim the values of your kingdom.

Hymn: E series

MONDAY

(Place a root before the advent table)

Hymn: Root of Jesse come…

The plant that has a deep root put forth the healthy, sturdy shoots that can withstand the storms and seasons of life. Such a tree branches out; blossoms and bear fruit in abundance and participate in the restoration of cosmic wholeness.

Reading: Is 11:1-5

(One person holds the root in the hand)

O God of silence! Voice of truth, we are your branches, you the root. May we imbibe the sap of your wisdom and understanding to put forth the shoots of justice, righteousness, peace and harmony. May we listen to the cry of the earth and participate in the universal effort in restoring her beauty.

Hymn: X 33

TUESDAY

Hymn:

In every banquet, we come together to reconnect and to celebrate our relationship. The banquet in the prophecy of Issiah, prefigures the Messianic fellowship that Jesus brought about through his table fellowship, Eucharistic meal that has its culmination in the eschatological banquet.

As we await the birth of our savior, who would set the finest table before us, let us lend our ears to the characteristic features of this fellowship meal.

Reading: Is 25: 6-10

The prophecy of Issiah fulfilled in Jesus. But do we continue to enjoy the table fellowship which Issiah dreamt and Jesus envisaged?

The caste- class conflicts, the rich- poor divide, and deep rooted prejudices are obstacles to the fellowship meal that promote unity, equality and friendship.

What is that preventing me from participating this Messianic Banquet? Does my prophetic role challenge me to build rather than to break, mend rather than to tear?

Silence

Jesus, you have set for us a banquet of love. May we listen to your invitation to partake in your table of equality where love and friendship are tasted.

Hymn: Jesus has a table spread…

WEDNESDAY

The voice of the one who brings peace is heard in the music of the air. The word that speaks of peace declares the reversal of order. For God’s ways are not our ways. Let us listen to the words of Issiah the prophet!

Reading: Is 26: 1-6

Silence

Advent is an invitation to look in to our hearts. Are we happy with what we find? What values do we proclaim? Does our waiting God is limited only in our ritualistic practices? Or do we open the door of our hearts for the righteousness to enter in?

Pause

Lord God, our everlasting rock and prince of peace, may you bring in to our lives a reversal of attitude in our thinking, in our longing and in our living. Repeal our selfishness into love, arrogance to forbearance, hatred to forgiveness, destructive speech to constructive appreciation, so that may our soul sing the song , Issiah the prophet sang.

To begin the reversal of attitude let us pause a while and think something positive about something or somebody about whom we have already formed a negative outlook.

Silence

Hymn: The King of Glory…

 

THURSDAY

Hymn: E 1

Advent is a time of waiting, waiting with our eyes gazed and a heart warm and alert to God’s calling. Watching for what God wants us to do. When we are in such steadfastness, the demands that set by the Lord are challenging. Yet our mystical quest and prophetic courage will lead us forward.

We shall listen to the words of hope at the messianic reign, from the prophet Issiah.

Reading: Is 29: 17-24

Silence

Open our eyes Lord, that we may see that there is goodness in others.

Open our eyes Lord, to recognize the opportunities that knock at our door.

Open our eyes Lord, to see the sacred gifts of you in the universe.

Open our eyes Lord, to see that there is enough for everybody in the world

 

Open our ears Lord, to listen to the heartache of the lonely and the distressed.

Open our ears Lord, to listen to the story of one another.

Open our ears Lord, to listen to the song of love that needs to be shared.

Open our ears Lord, to listen to your invitation to break new vistas

 

Open our heart Lord, to celebrate our diversity, in the oneness of love.

Open our heart Lord, to release love unconditionally

Open our heart Lord that we may make space for others to be themselves.

Silence

Hymn: Come Come…

FRIDAY

The son of God, God before all ages, Lord of the planets and stars will continue healing the broken hearted till time itself ends. But how does he do the healing now?

Reading: Is 30: 19-21; 23-26

As mystics and prophets, we are called to celebrate and make present again here and now, the birth, life and death of our savior.

How do we make the Incarnation of Christ a present reality?

This is the way, walk in it, says the prophet Issiah. Jesus is the way in to the mystery of our human existence and not a way out of current problems we face. The mystical and prophetic dimensions of our vocation invest a responsibility on us to clear the path for the lord to come in. it is to rise from the embers of our ashes rather than being consumed by the flames of adversities.

Prayer

O God, you urge us to go on to the end and to endure everything, for to know you is to find the way and knowing is found in the silent surrender within where the rivers flow from the hill tops of our contemplation. Maranatha, come Lord Jesus, walk in to our lives and make a pool of never drying fountain of grace within us to bind up the injuries and heal the wounds of the afflicted.

Hymn: Living waters flow….

SECOND WEEK OF ADVENT

SATURDAY

Bhajan: On light

Spirit of God has clothed us with the garment of holiness. On our journey we have stained our garment with our selfishness, pride, jealousy, resentment and so on. The king who is to come into our midst beckons us to take off the garment of our afflictions. Let us give heed to his calling.

Reading: Bar 5: 1-9

How have I disfigured the image of God in me?

Pause

Prophet is engaged in a passionate search for God’s will and the renunciation of all that is contrary to the divine will.

Lord, pardon me for being indifferent to the prophets who have challenged me to shed my old stained garment of sinfulness. Pardon me for not exercising my prophetic role to renounce all that is contrary to your will. May the fire of your divine love consume the garment of my self-complacency and self-righteousness. Level the mountain peaks of my pride and may the valley of my humility cause your grace to flow and fill me.

Hymn: Every valley shall be exalted…

SUNDAY 

Hymn:

Greed, competition, selfishness and excessive individualism are the dark forces that control our world today.

Reading: Is 35: 1-10

He comes, comes, ever comes! But does our surroundings adorn as Issiah envisioned? Where is the crocus? Where is the crocus? Our water resources have dried up. All the animate being that preserve the life on earth is at the verge of death. Do we respond to this ecological crisis? How do we protect our natural resources? Does our greed cause our death?

What can we do in this season of advent to restore the dignity of our mother earth?

Silence

O Lord of the universe, may we sense your presence in the blade of the tiny grass and touch it tenderly and wonder at your might in the roaring of the ocean and listen carefully to your soothing music in the chirping of the birds and may we revere you in the small and mighty happenings of our surroundings.

Hymn: every tiny star that….

MONDAY

Hymn: Comfort…

We have a God who searches for the lost and comforts the sorrowing; who speaks tenderly and who has paid the ransom for all. Let us listen to his voice of comfort from the prophecy of Issiah!

Raeding: Is 40:1-11

Our religious life is a prophetic call and a journey taken in faith. A journey- ‘to be on the road’ with Jesus, the prophet. It means journeying into compassion. As we tread along the way, we are called to be a comforting presence, voice for the voiceless and strength for the weak.

Pause

After the example of our Mother Foundress who was a prophetess of her own time, Let us hold our hands of each other and take a pledge of our prophetic stand in the words of our Mother Foundress.

Pledge: “I am an Indian born….

Hymn: Like a shepherd….

TUESDAY

Hymn:

God of Israel does not slumber. He is not confined to the man- made temples. He is out there, moving with the people as a pillar of cloud by day and a fire by night, strengthening the weary and uplifting the downtrodden.

Reading: Is 40: 25-31

Our call to be mystics and prophets should not remain only in the chanting of prayers or moving of beads. The dormant mystic within us should stir us again and again to awaken the sleeping prophets in us causing us to plunge in to action that would bring strength for the weak and courage for the fearful.

Do I strengthen? Lift up? Empathize?

Silence

Lord, thank you for walking before us in the path that is less travelled. Strengthen our weary faith, and dying spirit that we may make choices that are risky, painful and challenging, to get involved in the life and struggles of the poor.

Hymn: Q 10

WEDNESDAY

Let us listen to the reading.

Reading: Is 41: 13-20 Silence

Hymn; I will come to you in the silence or Fear not for I am with you

Fear not, for I am with you. God is with us when we are compassionate to the person who sits next to me.

 

Let us listen a dialogue between Dalai lama, the religious leader of Buddhism and Leonardo Boff, a catholic liberation Theologian.

Leonardo Boff: Your Holiness what is the best religion?

Dalai Lama: The best religion is the one that gets you closest to God. It is the one that makes you a better person.

Leonardo Boff: What is that makes me better?

Dalai Lama: What ever makes you more compassionate, more sensible, more detached, more loving, more humanitarian, more responsible, more ethical.

The religion that will do that for you in the best religion.

I am not interested, my friend, if you are religious or not. What really is important to me is your behavior in front of your peers, family, work, community and in front of the world.

Silence

Commentary: The universe is the echo of our actions and our thoughts. May our compassionate and kind attitude resonate in our words and actions and bring forth a revolution of prosperity and harmony in the world.

Hymn: N 32

 

THURSDAY

Hymn:

We are inclined to walk by yesterday’s road. We are inclined to pitch our tent by yesterday’s fires. Yet God is calling us to the life in the embers. He has trusted us with something precious. His voice is heard. This is the crossing place, come!

Reading: is 48: 17-19

Look! The star rises deep within. Let us trust ourselves to its leading.

Hymn: I just keep trusting my Lord

O star of Bethlehem, we believe in your coming. Enable us to see the ray of hope when our going gets slow. Let our faith in you continue to grow and may we not forfeit your dreams for us when others may doubt. May we learn from our errors but never dwell in our past, but walk ahead believing that your spirit will prevail in us to make your dreams come true.

FRIDAY

Hymn:

(One person holds fire and a prayer is read out.)

Fire is your sacrament O God. Fire is sacred. As I hold this fire may I be reminded that I am to burn with the same fire for you. May I fill my life with that burning love.

Reading: Zir 48: 1-4; 9-11

Have you ever got burned? What happened? Why is fire dangerous?

Silence

We resist anything that is painful. But God of the burning fire calls us to be ignited with his fire and to plunge in to the unknown.

Prophets are born of God and they feel in their hearts a burning desire. They proclaim by their word and deed against all forms of evil.

Pause

Lord, open our hearts to work towards a creative response to the signs of the times. We understand that there is no point in romanticizing you. Your choices were dangerous, challenging and painful. Newness is painful and risky. Help us to dare to try something new, as we await your coming.

Hymn: Holy Spirit Come with your Fire

THIRD WEEK OF ADVENT

SATURDAY

Hymn

Do you find yourself bogged down and your days filled with business?

Are you weary after a long year and the numerous problems and difficulties that came your way?

Let us listen to the Prophet Zephaniah who brings us the tidings of joy.

Reading: Zeph 3: 14-18

Silence

Joy is the refusal to give into pessimism, dismay, gloom or despair; a refusal above all, to give in to any kind of defeatism.

When we stand in love of God, every cell in our body jumps for joy. This is how God means us to live, intoxicated in love and joy. Through our joy, God’s joy is radiated in the world. The joy of human being is the joy of God and the joy of God is the joy of human being.

Let us live happily without hate, in a world where people sow hatred and reap the harvest of war. Let us live joyfully, without simmering in our past hurtful memories. Let us live happily in good health, transcending our adversities.

Pause

We shall now hold our hands and sing joyfully as we advance to meet the one who brings joyful tidings.

Hymn: Spirit of Joy exceeding all joy…

SUNDAY

Hymn:

Let us listen to a conversation between God and a human person.

GOD:         Hallo, you called me?

H. Person:  Called you? No! Who is this?

GOD:         This is God. I heard your prayers for wisdom. So I thought I would enlighten you.

H. Person:  O God, actually I am a bit confused. I don’t exactly know what I want in life. Can    you O God suggest some ways to live my life fruitfully. Can you give some clarity       for some of the problems in life? Tell me, why has life become so complicated? Why are we constantly unhappy?

GOD: Your today is the tomorrow that you worried about yesterday. You are worrying              because worrying has become a habit. So you are not happy.

H. Person: But how can we not worrying when there is so much uncertainties?

GOD: Uncertainties inevitable, but worrying is optional.

H. Person: Frankly in the midst of so many problems, we do not know where we are heading.

GOD: If you look outside, you will not know where you are heading. Look inside.            Looking outside you dream; looking inside you awake! Eyes provide sight; heart provides insight!

Silence

Hymn: Be still and know that I am God…

Reading: Prov 8: 10-12

God of our life, grant us the serenity to accept the things we cannot change, courage to change the things we can, and the wisdom to know the difference. God of our life, living one day at a time, enjoying one moment at a time, in your presence may we understand the true meaning of your birth.

Hymn:

MONDAY

Hymn:

Commentator: I am called to be a mystic and a prophet. My call challenges me to look in to the realities of my country in which I live.

(Please modify the following according to the country in which you live)

Reader I

In a country of plenty, millions of people go hungry daily. More than 830 millions live on less than Rs. 20 a day. 18,000 children die daily as a direct or indirect consequence of under nutrition. 75.5 millions do not have housing facilities. Every sixth death of a female infant in India is due to neglect and discrimination. This amounts to 3,00,000 girls per year. More than half the employable force is unemployed.

Commentator: This is my India, the land to which I must give Jesus; and how can I do it?

Pause

To be questing for God is to be questing for justice and truth. To be questing for ministry requires us to hold for the highest standard of integrity. Yes, we are called to be dangerous women sent from the empty tomb with fire in our hearts and a life-giving message on our minds.

Reading: Jer 23: 5-8

Prayer:

O God, how can I pray to you?

I call you the King of Glory, but what I see is the poverty of the people.

I call you the ‘Lord of Mercy and Compassion’, but what I notice is the suffering millions.

I call you ‘God of Justice’, but what I see is injustice inflicted on many.

I call you ‘Father’ and what do I do?

I by-pass the needy, I fight, I deceive and I accuse.

I use every means to get my way, I am afraid to pray.

You, who are revealed as justice, love and mercy, seem to stay far away.

Come to us, O Lord, and show us the way. Amen.

 

Hymn: PL 3 or 27 or J.L N 27

 

TUESDAY

Hymn:

Every warrior of light has felt afraid of going in to battle. Every warrior of light has at some time in the past lied or betrayed someone. Every warrior of light has trodden a path that was not his. Every warrior of light has said ‘yes’, when she wanted to say ‘no’.

In this advent season, we wait for a warrior of light who made a difference, who fought the battle with undaunted courage, who never lied or betrayed. He is the way, the truth and the life-the ‘Star of Bethlehem’.

Reading: Num 24:1-7; 17

O Star of Bethlehem,

When all our dreams come crushing down raise up our hope to look up to you!

When friends cannot be found and there is no one to comfort, deepen our faith to trust in you!

When darkness comes and fear fills our hearts, give us the courage to follow you!

Hymn: N 32. To look for a star in the night

WEDNESDAY 

Hymn:

God’s love is tireless. He thirsts for each one of us, overlooks prejudices and past histories. God purifies our memories of the past. He begs, takes initiative and crosses boundaries –a God who is with us, Immanuel.

Reading: Is 7: 10-14

God who is with us with a passionate love for his people, invites us to have a passion for him and for his people. He invites us to cross the boundaries of our past ways of seeing and past ways of relating in order to overcome our fears and prejudices.

Pause

Prayer

O God, Immanuel, God with us, give us a new consciousness to be women with a passion for you. Take us to the place, to the place where we dare to cross the boundaries. Take us to the space, where nothing is. Take us to the empty space where all is possible, where you are with us and we are in you in the bond of love.

Hymn:

THURSDAY 

Listen, my friend, this road is the heart opening,
kissing his feet, resistance broken, tears all night.

If we could reach the Lord through immersion in water,
I would have asked to be born a fish in this life.
If we could reach Him through nothing but berries and wild nuts
then surely the saints would have been monkeys when they came from the womb!

If we could reach him by munching lettuce and dry leaves
then the goats would surely get to the Holy One before us!
If the worship of stone statues could bring us all the way,
I would have adored a granite mountain years ago.

Pause

I slept, but my heart was awake. Hark! My beloved is knocking. Let me listen to his voice.

Reading: Song of Sol. 2: 8-14

Commentary:

Listen, my friend, this road is the heart opening,
kissing his feet, resistance broken, tears all night.

If we could reach the Lord through immersion in water,
I would have asked to be born a fish in this life.
If we could reach Him through nothing but berries and wild nuts
then surely the saints would have been monkeys when they came from the womb!

If we could reach him by munching lettuce and dry leaves
then the goats would surely get to the Holy One before us!
If the worship of stone statues could bring us all the way,
I would have adored a granite mountain years ago.

“Come Spouse of Christ”, we will be told at the eternal banquet. Will we be ready? Our bridegroom is a jealous lover!

Prayer:

Unbreakable, O Lord,
Is the love
That binds me to You:
Like a diamond,
It breaks the hammer that strikes it.

My heart goes into You
As the polish goes into the gold.
As the lotus lives in its water,
I live in You.

Like the bird
That gazes all night
At the passing moon,
I have lost myself dwelling in You.

Hymn: There is a longing in me …or D132

FRIDAY

We wait for a God who sides with the poor, for he is the God of the anawim. He makes things happen, when human understanding stands still, and possibilities are not in the scene. Let us recall to our mind, the song of liberation, people have sung from ages past, for he is a God who brings a reversal of order.

Reading: I Sam 2: 1-8

Our prophetic call leads us to make a deliberate choice to enter into the world of the despised, to venture in to joint actions to challenge the structural injustice in our society.

How can we participate in God’s mission of undoing the ‘old world’ into ‘new’?

Pause

 

Prayer  

Lord, we believe that you are everywhere present. We believe that your presence is specially found in the poor, the needy, the fatherless, or motherless, orphan and the sick. May we so empty ourselves this advent that we may look up on them with your eyes. Open our eyes to the burdens and weariness that they must bear without consolation. Above all let us recognize your poverty in theirs and in the lines of their faces the furrows of your countenance – you who became poor for us. Amen.

Hymn; Q 4, or D 121

 

FOURTH WEEK OF ADVENT

SATURDAY

(All the candles are lit)

Commentator: Waiting for the Messiah stood four candles burning. The ambience was so soft. We could hear them talking. The first one said.

(First sister takes the candle one and says): “I am peace! However, nobody can keep me lit.  I believe I will go out”. (She gently puts off the candle)

Commendator: We saw its flame rapidly diminishing and so out completely.

(Second sister takes the second candle and says): “I am faith, most of all, I am no longer indispensable. So it doesn’t make any sense that I stay lit any longer.”

Commendator: When it finished talking a gentle breeze softly blew on it putting it out. (Put off the candle) sadly, the third candle spoke in its turn.

(Third sister takes the third candle (pink one) and says: “I am joy. I haven’t got the strength to stay lit. people mistake me with pleasure and don’t understand my importance”.

Commendator: And waiting no longer it blew off. Darkness was about to spread the whole vicinity. So one of us asked,

One sister: “Why are you not burning?  You were supposed to stay lit till the end. I am afraid…I am sure darkness will swallow our life very soon”.

Commendator: Then there was a loving yet firm voice

(A sister takes the Christ candle, holds it up and says): “Do not be afraid, while I am still burning. We can re-light the other candles. I am LOVE

(She begins to light the other candles)

Bhajan: On Light

Reading: Is 9: 2-3

Prayer: Jesus, light of our lives, let the light of love continue to shine in us. Let us be a beacon of hope to everyone who live in the darkness. Divest us of all that shrouds the light within us. Let your light shine through us unhindered. Enable us to incarnate your presence through our words, gestures and deeds. Amen.

SUNDAY 

Should we fashion god to fit in to our frame work or should we allow God to pitch his tent among us. What would be if God is given a choice? Let us listen to his choice from the second book of Samuel.

Reading: 2 Sam 7: 1-5, 8b-12, 14a,16

Will Christ be born again in the crib that we make or is not his choice the filthy slums and the stinking huts of our country? Will we dare to meet him there? Do we have to wait for the Christmas bells to be chimed to welcome Christ in to our midst or he already passed us off? Do we have to wait for the chorus of angels sing “Gloria in excel sis Deo” to see him in the manger or he already visited us unnoticed?

Silence

God of our life, when our eyes seem so dim, that we are unable to see you present in the people around us, come to us as a physician who heal our blindness.

Hymn:

Open my eyes Lord, I want to see Jesus

To reach out and touch Him and say that I love Him

Open my eyes Lord, I want to see Jesus

When the tumultuous works raises its din on all sides, shutting us out to hear your voice in the cries of the voiceless, come to us as a physician who heal our deafness.

Hymn:

Open my ears Lord, I want to hear Jesus

To reach out and touch Him and say that I love Him

Open my ears Lord, I want to hear Jesus

When our heart is hard and parched up, and has lost its vibrancy and empathy to feel the pain of the wounded, come to us as physician to heal our sterility.

Hymn:

Open my heart Lord, I want to love Jesus

To reach out and touch Him and say that I love Him

Open my heart Lord, I want to love Jesus

Amen.

MONDAY

How beautiful are the feet of the one who announces peace!

Every person is hearkened to become a messenger and the message of God to the world. Our presence in this world is to awaken the prophet within us to mend the broken hearts and to enable them to enjoy the abundance of life. Let us listen to the itinerary of the messenger who announces peace from the prophet Issiah.

Reading: Is 52: 7-10

To the fisher folks whose hearts were turmoil with the rough waves of the sea that is about to engulf their dreams, Mother Teresa of St. Rose of Lima announced the peace of Christ who calmed the sea. Mother Teresa gathered the shattered dreams of the fallen women and rebuilt them in to a castle of hope- ‘The Magdalene Asylum’. To the children who walked in darkness of ignorance Mother Teresa brought the light of knowledge.  Today we carry the flame that lit a century ago by our beloved foundress. We the CSSTs indeed tread the path of our foundress. But do we really become a messenger and a message?

Pause

Prayer:

Jesus, Prince of peace! Inflame our hearts with the fire of your love. May our sordid desires be consumed in your divine fire, that we may announce the message of peace, comfort and salvation.

WEDNESDAY  

 Light, my light, the world-filling light, heart- sweetening light! Ah! The light dances, at the entrance of my life; the light strikes the chords of my love.

Bhajan: on Light

Lord, as we shine brighter by your mystic light and burn with your prophetic word, we ask you to take complete possession of us. Illumine us by the radiance of your coming.

Reading: Rev 21:22-24

Pause

Lord, let all our prayers, hymns of praises and the words of hope uttered- may everything bend down at the brightness of your light. Let all my efforts that tried to give your presence to others, gather together their diverse energies in to a single force and flow to the power of your light.

Hymn: PL-296

 

THURSDAY

Our God is the mysterious creativity and energy at the heart of everything. Everything has its origin from God. Therefore, we are related to all that exists in the universe. Since God is revealed in and through the universe, we have an obligation to give respect and reverence to the entire creation.

Pause

Let us enter in to the marvelous bond of love that exists between the creator and the creation as we give our ear to the readings taken from various scriptures.

Reading I: Genesis 1:1-4, 24-25

Reading II: Adigrandh

This earth is a garden, the Lord its gardener, cherishing all, none neglected!

Reading III: Unification Church

God’s hand has touched even every small blade of grass which grows in the field. All creatures we see contain God’s deep heart and tell the story of God’s deep love!

Reading IV: Adharva Veda

Earth, my mother set me securely with bliss in full accord with heaven. Wise one, uphold me in grace and splendor!

Pause

We may imagine that creation finished long ago. This is not so. It continues still more magnificently and at the highest levels of the world. And we create even by the humblest work of our hands. By his death and resurrection Jesus Christ has redeemed not only each one of us, but the whole universe. This is the lesson of the incarnation. God is enfleshed in our world to save it.

pause 

Have we considered the earth we walk on?

Have we considered the water we drink?

Have we considered the fire we kindle?

Pause

Every day we are called to bring about the cosmic harmony. During this advent, may we re-discover our role in sustaining the cosmos and strive to spare no effort to achieve it.

Hymn: heavens are blue…PL 205

SPECIAL DAYS

IMMACULATE CONCEPTION (7th December)

Today we celebrate the immaculate origin of Mary the prophetess who cooperated with God and became the mediator of God’s eternal plan of salvation. Let us honor her as we perform the aarathi.

Aarathi

Reading: Lk1: 26-38

Mary is full of grace, for she fanned the flame that was lit in her by the divine.

Mary is full of grace, that she sang the song of liberation and played her prophetic role through her life.

Mary is full of grace, that she sang the song of liberation and played her prophetic role through her life.

Mary is full of grace, for she repeated her fiat from Nazareth to Calvary.

Silence

Mary, full of grace, we greet you with our lighted lamps. May we, after your example, set ablaze Christ the light within us and around us.

Salve

ST. JOHN OF THE CROSS   (13th December)

Each passing day and night,we expectantly wait for the love to be incarnated. The night is holy for it paved for the light of lights. Captivated by the splendor of that holy night, all that the great mystic of 16th century, John of the Cross could find is not the darkness of night but the dazzling splendor of the blessed night.

Hymn:

 Holy darkness Blessed night

In one of his mystical experiences, Holy Father St. John of the Cross visualized the mystery of incarnation. Let us listen to its description from one of his poems.

When the time had come

For him to be born

He went forth like the bridegroom

From his bridal chamber

 

 

Embracing his bride,

Holding her in his arms,

Whom the gracious Mother

Laid in manger

Among some animals

That were there at that time.

Men sang songs

And angels melodies

    Celebrating the marriage

Of two such as these.

            But God there in the manger

Cried and moaned;

And these tears were jewels

The bride brought to the wedding.

The Mother gazed in sheer wonder

On such an exchange:

In god man’s weeping,

And in man gladness,

To the one and the other

                                                          Things usually so strange.      

Intoxicated with the love of God, a mystic experiences the divine embrace. Love is born in such divine human embrace. This love spreads the message of joy, peace and comfort to the world.

Prayer

Lord, love incarnated, enable us to savor the sweetness of your love, that we may incarnate your love and tell the world your beauty, sweetness and sovereignty. Thus the mystery of Christmas may become a daily reality in our life.

Hymn: Jesus come Jesus come..

 

CHRISTMAS EVE

(The chapel should now be dark)

Commentator:

Light looked down and beheld darkness

Thither will I go, said light.

Peace looked down and beheld war

Thither will I go, said peace.

Love looked down and beheld hatred

Thither will I go, said love.

So came Light and shone,

So came peace and gave rest

So came love and brought life.

Music

Reading: Jn 1: 1-15 (Very slowly with soft music at the background)

(As the reading is going on, a sister carries the Christ candle and places it on the altar)

Hymn:  the light of Christ has come in to the world  (Only this line thrice)

Let the light of Christ give us the perfect vision; Let the prince of peace give us his perfect peace; Let the truth and love he brings shine in our hearts now.

Commentator: Let us spend a few moments in silence before the light of light.

Silence: 5 minutes

Hymn: Silent Night…

Word finds its chief manifestation in Christ, the word made flesh, the truth incarnate. In the beginning, before the beginning began was the only Lord of the universe. His word was with him. We shall now place the word of God besides his light. (a sister goes and places the word of God besides the Christ Light)

With the mystical Light and prophetic word before us, let us listen to the glorious Christmas message from the song of Issiah.

Reading: Is 9: 2-7

Carrols being sung for 10 minutes

Commentator: And now the word made flesh has dwelt among us.

(The superior holds out the Infant Jesus and says)

“Receive him in the manger of your heart. He is gift of God laid in human hands. He is word incarnate and the light manifested. Let us welcome him in to our lives.

Hymn: O come all ye faithful…

 

 

NOVENA FOR CHRISTMAS

FIRST DAY

Reading: Mal 3:1-3

 Having heard the footsteps of the Lord in the temple, the mystic uttered!

“Lo, I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips; yet my eyes have seen the king the Lord of Hosts”

As you come near let me open the door of my heart and let me pour the perfumed oil of my life in to the golden lamp of devotion.

Concluding Prayer

Lord, you are God at the same time Incarnate. You made yourself a brother and servant to all. You preached the Good News that liberates people from whatever oppresses and hinders them from fullness of life. As consecrated persons, you call us to present a new face, a new image that will reflect the face of a servant, who is both a mystic and a prophet that people will recognize as good news of life and hope, Amen.

 

 SECOND  DAY

Reading: Prov 2:6; 9:11

Infused by the Spirit of God, the prophet sought the wisdom of God

“ O wisdom, my sister, my friend, as the spirit of the Lord fills the whole world, and as you know every word that is said, come as mentor and guide: so I’ll delight in knowledge, claim intuition and understanding for my own, discern, learn what his advent holds for me. O wisdom, my sister, let us lean close, laugh and weep together, be one with each other as we shout our whispered greeting to the Lord of life.

Concluding Prayer as above

THIRD  DAY

Reading: Ex 3: 2, 4, 6

Delving deep in to the mysteries of God who appeared in the burning bush, the prophet exclaimed!

‘O Lord and leader, I would see and understand you if I were Moses. Leader of the led and Lord of all, grant that we may be united in love and brought together under your most gracious rule.

Concluding Prayer as above

 

FOURTH  DAY

Reading:Is 11: 1-4a; 10-11a

Enchanted by the beauty of the divine, the mystic prayed!

O root of Jesse, all nations seek you. You stand as a signal, as a sign to the people of the holiness of God, of the holiness of us all. Grant us your grace to be united to one another with pure affection.

Concluding Prayer as above

FIFTH  DAY

Reading: is 42: 6-7

Being enslaved by the bondages that surround him, the prophet prayed!

O key of David, come, unlock my prison of self-distrust and fear, of secrecy and doubt, of injustice and unkindness. Unlock my blindness to the splendor and glory of your light. Unlock my deafness to the melody of the world and the harmony of the universe. Unlock my stumbling lameness to the dance of your life. Unlock my depression and gloom to the majesty and gentleness of your love.

Concluding Prayer as bove

SIXTH  DAY

Reading: Is 60: 19-20

Having gone through the deep darkness of night, the mystic implored!

“O rising Sun, pour up on us the new light of your incarnate word! I watch for your coming, to unravel the darkness, to unmask the shadows of the night, in your brilliant light. Help me discover the secrets of righteousness and justice to discern and learn that where you are, there is no shadow, no darkness, no death, no sin.”

Concluding Prayer as above

SEVENTH  DAY

Reading: Jer 10:7

Seeing the majestic look of the king who dwells in the castle, the mystic whispered!

“O King and desire of the nations, allow us to be dwellers in your kingdom. Never to be enticed by the glitters of the world. May we set out of the castle to bring your people in your kingdom of peace, joy and justice.

 Concluding Prayer as above

EIGHTH  DAY

Reading: Is 7:14

Having felt that God is walking with them, the mystic and the prophet within me entreated the Lord!

‘O Immanuel, God with us! Hidden in the poor and homeless, the aged, the weak,  the dying and the alienated, may we realize that you dwell in the least and the lost, that we may never miss you in the pursuit of finding you.

Concluding Prayer as above

NINTH  DAY

Reading: LK 1: 46-50

Seeing a model in Mary the God-bearer, the prophet examined the life of a God –bearer!

“A God- bearer is the one who shelter him in the poor, one who nurture him in the abandoned, one who give life for the lifeless, one who gives warmth for the deserted. 

O Mary, thus you sang the song of exultant joy of unfathomable prophecy. May we enflesh the love of God as you did.

Concluding Prayer as above