21 December 2022
Praying in Advent with Lichfield Cathedral
and USPG: Wednesday 21 December 2022
We are in the last week of Advent, and just a few days away from Christmas Day.
The traditional counting of the ‘O Antiphons’ began on Saturday (17 December) with ‘O Sapientia.’ For eight days before Christmas, the canticle Magnificat at Evensong has a refrain or antiphon proclaiming the ascriptions or ‘names’ given to God through the Old Testament.
Each name develops into a prophecy of the forthcoming and eagerly-anticipated Messiah, Jesus, the Son of God. O Sapientia, or ‘O Wisdom’, was followed on Sunday by ‘O Adonai’, then O Radix Jesse (‘O Root of Jesse’) on Monday, followed by O Clavis David (‘O Key of David’) yesterday, O Oriens (‘O Dayspring’) today (21 December), then ‘O King of the Nations’ tomorrow and, finally, on 23 December ‘O Emmanuel’.
Before today gets busy, I am taking some time this morning for reading, prayer and reflection.
During Advent, I am reflecting in these ways:
1, The reading suggested in the Advent and Christmas Devotional Calendar produced by Lichfield Cathedral this year;
2, praying with the Lichfield Cathedral Devotional Calendar;
3, a prayer from the USPG prayer diary, ‘Pray with the World Church.’
Luke 1: 39-45 (NRSVA):
39 In those days Mary set out and went with haste to a Judean town in the hill country, 40 where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth. 41 When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the child leapt in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit 42 and exclaimed with a loud cry, ‘Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb. 43 And why has this happened to me, that the mother of my Lord comes to me? 44 For as soon as I heard the sound of your greeting, the child in my womb leapt for joy. 45 And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfilment of what was spoken to her by the Lord.’
The Lichfield Cathedral Devotional Calendar:
As we read the story of Mary visiting her cousin Elizabeth in the hill country of Judea, just outside Jerusalem, pray for all women expecting children. Remember those who have found it hard to conceive and the sadnesses and disappointments they have experienced; pray for single mothers, and those, at whatever stage of pregnancy, who are full of wonder, hope, anxiety, or concern. Pray that the world will be a good home for all new-borns.
God our redeemer,
who prepared the Blessed Virgin Mary
to be the mother of your Son:
grant that, as she looked for his coming as our saviour,
so we may be ready to greet him
when he comes again as our judge;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever.
who chose the Blessed Virgin Mary
to be the mother of the promised saviour:
fill us your servants with your grace,
that in all things we may embrace your holy wil
l and with her rejoice in your salvation;
through Jesus Christ our Lord.
as Mary waited for the birth of your Son,
so we wait for his coming in glory;
bring us through the birth pangs of this present age
to see, with her, our great salvation
in Jesus Christ our Lord.
USPG Prayer Diary:
The theme in the USPG Prayer Diary this week is ‘International Migrants Day.’ This theme was introduced on Sunday with a reflection on International Migrants Day by Bishop Antonio Ablon, Coordinator of the Filipino Chaplaincy in Europe, part of the Philippine Independent Church.
The USPG Prayer Diary invites us to pray today in these words:
Let us pray for churches, charities and NGOs who work with migrants. May we be generous in our giving to support their work and advocacy.
Scripture quotations are from the New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicised Edition copyright © 1989, 1995, National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved worldwide. http://nrsvbibles.org