"Make us prophets of your compassion, heralds of your peace, and shepherds of your providence, O God. Give us the the patience and humility of 'mend' relationships torn and friendships broken. Help us to create a straight and sure road this Advent by which all of us-the lost, the forgotten, the exiled-may find our way back to you." (Waiting in Joyful Hope-Jay Cormier)
(Vatican Radio) Following a tradition laid out by his predecessors, Pope Francis celebrated the Feast of the Immaculate Conception by travelling to Piazza di Spagna where he venerated the statue named for the Marian Feast.
The celebration began with a reading from the book of Revelation in which Mary is described as a “woman, clothed with the sun, with the moon beneath her feet, and around her head a crown of twelve stars” (Rev. 12:1). The Holy Father then recited a prayer to the Immaculate Conception, in which he asked Our Lady to “awaken in us a renewed desire for holiness,” and to “make present all of the Gospel’s beauty” in our lives. He went on to ask Mary’s intercession in helping us remain attentive to the Lord’s voice, and to never be indifferent to the cry of the poor, the sick, the elderly, of children, and every human life. Before taking leave of the Piazza, the Holy Father greeted the sick and disabled who had gathered in the Square for the celebrations.
After the celebrations, Pope Francis paid a visit to the Basilica of Saint Mary Major where he said a private prayer before the image of Our Lady Salus Populi Romani. The statue of the Immaculate Conception, venerated by the Holy Father this Sunday, was consecrated on December 8, 1857 several years after the dogma which states that Mary was conceived without the stain of original sin was adopted by the Church. It has since become a tradition for the Pope to venerate the statue each year on December 8 as part of the celebrations for the Marian feast.
of the Vatican Radio website
"O God, be the rock on which we build our lives. Open our hearts and spirits to hear you in the voices of one another. Help us to confront the pain and hurt our selfishness causes those we love and to understand how our failure to love and forgive destroys the houses we have built for our families. By your wisdom and grace, may we realize that we are never alone, that in life's most destructive storms you are with us in the love and forgiveness of family and friends." (Waiting in Joyful Hope-Jay Cormier)
"As we anticipate your coming to us a humble child this
Christmas, Lord Jesus, help us to embrace your gospel with simple, childlike faith: faith that is centered in humble gratitude for the gift of life itself; faith that inspires us to embrace your Spirit of understanding compassion; faith that is focused on making your Father's kingdom of reconciling peace a reality in our time and place." (Waiting in Joyful Hope-Jay Cormier)
"Dear children, with a motherly love and a motherly patience I am looking at your ceaseless wandering and how lost you are. That is why I am with you. I desire to help you to first find and come to know yourself, so that, then, you would be able to recognize and to admit everything that does not permit you to get to know the love of the Heavenly Father, honestly and wholeheartedly. My children, the Father comes to be known through the cross. Therefore, do not reject the cross. Strive to comprehend and accept it with my help. When you will be able to accept the cross you will also understand the love of the Heavenly Father; you will walk with my Son and with me; you will differ from those who have not come to know the love of the Heavenly Father, those who listen to Him but do not understand Him, those who do not walk with Him - who have not come to know Him. I desire for you to come to know the truth of my Son and to be my apostles; that, as children of God, you may rise above the human way of thinking and always, and in everything, seek God's way of thinking, anew. My children, pray and fast that you may be able to recognize all of this which I am seeking of you. Pray for your shepherds and long to come to know the love of your Heavenly Father, in union with them. Thank you."