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Mary responded, "Oh, how my soul praises the Lord. How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior! For he took notice of his lowly servant girl, and from now on all generations will call me blessed. For the Mighty One is holy, and he has done great things for me. He shows mercy from generation to generation to all who fear him. His mighty arm has done tremendous things! He has scattered the proud and haughty ones. He has brought down princes from their thrones and exalted the humble. He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away with empty hands. He has helped his servant Israel and remembered to be merciful. For he made this promise to our ancestors, to Abraham and his children forever." (Luke 1: 46-55)
In the Magnificat, Mary reminds us that with the coming of the Messiah, her Son, the hungry shall be filled, and the humble shall be exalted. Mary's declaration of praise reminds us that, whenever the poor are provided for and the oppressed are given justice, these are signs of God's kingdom already present among us.
Therefore, as we I prepare in this Advent season to await the birth of the Messiah; may we usher in His Kingdom into our world by providing for the well-being of others, especially for those around us who may need a kind word or a helping hand.   May we put into practice the corporal works of mercy in Advent and throughout the year.
The day after Thanksgiving the New York Times told of a 33-year-old local cab driver whose shoulder length hair was tied in a ponytail. About five years ago, this cabby "prayed to God for guidance on how to help the forgotten people of the streets who exist in life's shadows." As he recalls it, God replied: "Make eight pounds of spaghetti, throw it in a pot, give it out on 103rd Street and Broadway with no conditions, and people will come." He did, they came, and now he goes from door to door giving people food to eat.
I am not suggesting that you stuff the Big Apple with spaghetti. But a New York cabby can bring light into your Advent preparations. He prayed to a God who was there; he listened; he gave the simple gift God asked of him; he gave "with no conditions"; and people responded. Here is your Advent: Make the Christ, who has come, a reality, a living light in your life and in some other life. Give of yourself ... to one poor soul ... with no conditions. (from Walter J. Burghardt)
 

Lighting the Advent Wreath 

As we light the Advent Wreath during this Advent season, let us bring to mind all the people and the places in the world that are in need of light this day: We bring to mind those places in the world where families and countries are torn apart by conflict, violence, or war, and ask for the light of peace to break through the darkness. We bring to mind all those places in the world where people have been forced from their homes and are separated from their families and ask for the light of hope to break through. We bring to mind all those places in the world where people are suffering from disease or illness, and ask for the light of healing to break through. We bring to mind all those places in the world where people are held captive by poverty, hunger, and isolation and ask for the light of freedom and abundant life to break through. May our prayers encircle the world and offer light in places of darkness. May we work as one body to bring justice for the poor and peace for the afflicted. Enkindle hope in our darkened world and announce the dawn of your kingdom once again.

God who dispels all darkness, during this Christmas season
Come to be with us, in each one of our situations;
Come to live among us, live with us and in us;
Come to fill the distances that divide and separate us;
Come to reconcile us with You and with one another.
God of Light, open our hearts to the mystery of your love
and the invitation of your grace.
Let our complacency give way to conversion
and our judgments to compassionate acceptance of others.
Tum oppression to justice and transform conflict to peaceful accord.
We ask this through Christ our Lord.
Amen.

Draw Me to Your Heart

Wise and Faithful Guide, keep my spirit entwined with yours.
Teach me about the poor and the pained.
Fill me with your mercy and compassion.

Help me to find your peace in my troubled moments.
Let love be the response I give to those who oppose me.
Constantly draw me toward all that is good.

Urge me to give my best to those who need it.
Lead me to learn from my discouragement and struggles.
Be the light I need to find my way in the darkness.
Fill my hollowness and emptiness with your love.

Most of all, continue to dwell within me
Because your gracious presence is all I ever need.
It is enough to bring me through the deepest canyons
And the darkest crevices of my life.

Divine Companion, draw me to your heart where wisdom resides
And daily let me choose to follow in your way.
{Joyce Rupp, Prayers, for Sophia, pp. 32-33}

Prepared by Deacon Dominic Pullano,
St. David's Parish,
Maple ON