LET US PREPARE for the coming of the Child Jesus at Christmas in the company of the Holy Mother of God and good Saint Joseph. Let us be attentive to Jesus and think of compensating for humanity which, in general, prepares for Christmas in frivolity. Instead of casting stones, let us say: “Lord, forgive them, they do not know the greatness of the Mystery of Christmas. I myself should know it, yet see how distracted, unthinking and inattentive I am. I still let myself be beguiled by the tinsel; forgive me, help me to prepare Your coming well.”

For us, Christmas will be a heavenly day to the degree that we will have set aside whatever displeases God in our life; when we will have sacrificed the vain pursuit of pleasure and earthly consolations. Let us remember this inspired formula of our Father John Gregory: “When the earth fails us, Heaven bends down.”

This is the grace I ask for myself and for each one of you, that we be attentive to the Child Jesus who is coming. Let us prepare the way for the Lord, to see the salvation that comes from God. (Cf. St. Luke 3:4-6)

Father Mathurin of the Mother of God

Make Ready the Way of the Lord

Saint John the Baptist preaching penance

Saint John the Baptist preaching penance

The season of Advent ought to inspire us with great desires to give ourselves to God, prepare our heart to receive the fullness of His graces and dispose ourselves to be reborn with Jesus Christ, or to put it better, profit from the fruits of His Birth by the union we ought to have with Him, which only the love of God can form in us.

We ought to convince ourselves that what Saint John said long ago to the Jews to exhort them to do penance is addressed to each one of us in particular: Make ready the way of the Lord, make straight the paths before Him,1 so that He may find our hearts ready to receive Him, that He may pour forth His blessings into them.

This preparation of the heart consists in an ardent desire to possess Him.  That is why, during this time, Holy Church reminds us of the desires of the holy Patriarchs; they longed for the coming of the Messiah, who is therefore called in Holy Scripture the Desired of all nations.2 We cannot form these desires any better than in solitude, and we arouse them within ourselves in prayer, when we pour out our heart in the presence of God and entreat Him to come and take possession of it. Jesus Christ Himself taught us this manner of praying when He commanded us to ask His Father that His kingdom come, that is, that He reign peacefully in us, and out of love that we be ­attached to His Law and His Gospel.

And now, O Lord, I want to recollect myself to adore in silence the mysteries of Your Son, and to wait for Him to be born in the depths of my heart. Come, Lord Jesus! Come, Spirit of truth and of love who formed Him in the womb of the Blessed Virgin!

I await You, O Jesus, as the Prophets and the Patriarchs awaited You. May I gladly say along with them: Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just! Let the earth be opened, and bud forth the Saviour.3

O King, whose princes of the earth are but a feeble image, Thy kingdom come! O Lord, when shall this reign of justice, peace and truth come down from On High upon us? Your Father gave You all power, both in Heaven and on earth, yet You are unrecognized, scorned, offended, betrayed!

When shall the judgement of the hardhearted world come to pass? When shall the day of Your triumph come? My God, I suffer, I wither up with sorrow on seeing iniquity prevail upon the earth and Your Gospel trodden underfoot. I suffer, feeling that I, despite myself, am subject to vanity. Lord, come and deliver Your children: Thy kingdom come!

Msgr. François Fénelon

Taken from: Les plus belles prières des âmes pieuses (Brepols: Turnhout, 1912), pp. 925-926.

1 St. Mark 1:3.
2 Aggeus 2:8.
3 Isaiah 45:8.