November 30, 2010

Quotable: St. Andrew's Novena

St Andrew by El Greco
Today is the feast of St. Andrew. It is always so funny trying to write the introductions to these novenas, about these saints, because, really, what is there to say about St. Andrew? He was an apostle. He died on a cross. He was awesome. He's a saint.

You know the drill: there is an ancient Advent tradition--pray the following prayer 15 times a day from today till Christmas. I've done this for years, and I find it the most consistent and comforting way to prepare for Christmas. The prayer is beautiful and evocative itself. I find myself saying it while stuck on an escalator behind annoying shoppers, or waiting for my morning coffee, or while walking home in the dark and cold. It always reminds me that this isn't any other time: it is Advent, and Christ is coming! Prepare your hearts!

Hail, and blessed be the hour and moment
at which the Son of God was born
of a most pure Virgin Mary
in a stable at midnight
in Bethlehem in the piercing cold.
In that hour vouchsafe, o my God,
to hear my prayers and grant my desires,
Through the same Christ, our Lord.
If you do pray this prayer and can keep a special intention in your hearts for me, I'd sure appreciate it.

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