Advent Service 2015

Preparing to Meet Jesus – The Face of Mercy

Reading Luke 21:27-28
‘Jesus said to his disciples: “They will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory. When these things begin to take place, stand erect, hold your heads high, because your liberation is near at hand.”

Procession with four large candles which will be lit at various times during the service representing hope, love, joy and peace.

Song  O Come Emmanuel (French Traditional)
All sing: O Come, O Come Emmanuel, To free your captive ,
That mourns in lonely exile here, Until the Son of Man appear.
Rejoice, Rejoice, O Israel, to you shall come Emmanuel.

O come great daystar radiance bright And heal us with your glorious light,
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night And death’s dark shadows put to flight.

Rejoice, Rejoice O Israel, to you shall come Emmanuel.

O key of David’s city, come, And open wide our heavn’ly home
Make safe the way that leads above Protect us ever by your love.

Rejoice, Rejoice, O Israel, to you shall come Emmanuel.

Candle of Hope is lit

Let us pray,
God of love and tenderness,
We gather together in the hope of this Advent season.
Make us ready to receive your Son who comes as a messenger of mercy and compassion.
May we open our hearts to the invitation to make the Jubilee year ahead a time of forgiveness and liberation.
We ask this in the Spirit, through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Reflection  Misericordiae Vultus (1)
‘Jesus Christ is the face of the Father’s mercy. These words might well sum up the mystery of the Christian faith. Mercy has become living and visible in Jesus of Nazareth, reaching its culmination in him. The Father, “rich in mercy” (Eph 2:4), after having revealed his name to Moses as “a God merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in steadfast love and faithfulness” (Ex 34:6), has never ceased to show, in various ways throughout history, his divine nature. In the “fullness of time” (Gal 4:4), when everything had been arranged according to his plan of salvation, he sent his only Son into the world, born of the Virgin Mary, to reveal his love for us in a definitive way. Whoever sees Jesus sees the Father (cf. Jn 14:9). Jesus of Nazareth, by his words, his actions, and his entire person [1] reveals the mercy of God. ‘

Song God Of Second Chances (David Haas)
All sing:  Come now, O God, of second chances; open our lives to heal.
Remove our hate, and melt our rage. Save us from ourselves.
Come now, O God, release our demons; open our eyes to see  the shame within,
our guilt and pain. Mend us; make us whole.
Come now, O God, and still our anger; open our minds to peace.
Embrace our fear, and hold us close. Calm the storm within.
Come now, O God, shake our resentment;
open our way to choose the way of love over the revenge. Show us a new way.
Come now, O God, and grant compassion;
open our hearts to love. May we let go of all our hurt. Help us to move on.
Come now, O God, of second chances; may we forgive ourselves,
may we become your living sign: children of God’s love.

 Reflection Misericordiae Vultus (2)
‘We need constantly to contemplate the mystery of mercy. It is a wellspring of joy, serenity, and peace. Our salvation depends on it. Mercy: the word reveals the very mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. Mercy: the ultimate and supreme act by which God comes to meet us. Mercy: the fundamental law that dwells in the heart of every person who looks sincerely into the eyes of his brothers and sisters on the path of life. Mercy: the bridge that connects God and man, opening our hearts to the hope of being loved forever despite our sinfulness.’

Song  With The Lord There Is Mercy (Marie Dunne CHF)
All sing: With the Lord there is mercy and fullness of redemption,
With the Lord there is mercy and love; For the Lord our God is a loving God. With the Lord there is mercy and love.

The candle of Love is lit

Let us pray,
God of compassion and generosity,
Open our hearts to the wisdom of holy men and women
who teach us by their prayer and reflections about forgiveness.
Be with us as we prepare with love to celebrate this jubilee.
We ask this in the Spirit, through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

 Reflection  Saint Ambrose
‘Saint Ambrose, Bishop of Milan, shows us the heavenly Father who in the image of the father from the parable in Luke, runs to meet his repentant son to give him much more than his repentance could ever lead to hope.’

“He runs to you, because he already hears you when you reflect inside yourself, in the secret of your heart. Then when you are still far, he sees you and begins to run. He sees into your heart, he hastens so that no one will keep you, and he embraces you.”

Song Like A Shepherd (Bob Dufford)
All sing: Like a shepherd he feeds his flock and carries the lambs in his arms,
holding them carefully close to his heart leading them home.

Moments of Reflection
The ground of mercy is love, and the working of mercy is our keeping in love (Julian of Norwich)

We can never have too much confidence in the good God who is so powerful and so merciful. We obtain from him as much as we hope for. (Saint Teresa of Avila)

This is the spirit of the Order, indeed the true spirit of Mercy flowing on us. (Catherine McAuley)

 Song  Lord, Show Us Your Mercy – Psalm 85 (Jeanne Cotter)
All sing:  Lord how us your mercy and love
Lord how us your mercy and love.

‘In Misericordiae Vultus, Pope Francis dedicated some significant passages to the prayer of the Psalms. He wrote “In a special way the psalms bring to the fore the grandeur of his merciful action: ‘He forgives all your iniquity, he heals all your diseases, he redeems your life from the pit, he crowns you with steadfast love and mercy (Psalm 103:3-4)… The mercy of God is not an abstract idea, but a concrete reality with which he reveals his love as that of a father or mother, moved to the very depths out of love for their child” (6). (Archbishop Rino Fisichella)

 Song My Soul Give Thanks – Psalm 103 (Ronan McDonagh)
All sing: My soul give thanks to the Lord and never forget all his blessings.

The candle of Joy is lit

Let us pray,
God of charity and love,
Inspire us to know the heart of the poor and to act with justice and generosity towards them in a spirit of joy.
We ask this in the Spirit, through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Song The Heart of the Poor (David Haas)
All sing: Lord, show us the heart of the poor, for they have shown us the true way to live.
Lord, show us the way of the poor to be the true Church of Christ.

Reading  Luke 3:10-18
When all the people asked John, “What must we do then? He answered, “If anyone has two tunics he must share with the man who has none, and the one with something to eat must do the same.”

All sing: Lord, show us the heart of the poor …

Reflection Misericordiae Vultus (15)
It is my burning desire that, during this Jubilee, the Christian people may reflect on the corporal and spiritual works of mercy. It will be a way to reawaken our conscience, too often grown dull in the face of poverty. And let us enter more deeply into the heart of the Gospel where the poor have a special experience of God’s mercy. Jesus introduces us to these works of mercy in his preaching so that we can know whether or not we are living as his disciples. Let us rediscover these corporal works of mercy: to feed the hungry, give drink to the thirsty, clothe the naked, welcome the stranger, heal the sick, visit the imprisoned, and bury the dead. And let us not forget the spiritual works of mercy: to counsel the doubtful, instruct the ignorant, admonish sinners, comfort the afflicted, forgive offences, bear patiently those who do us ill, and pray for the living and the dead.

All sing: Lord, show us the heart of the poor …


Be diligent in serving the poor. Love the poor, honour them as you would Christ himself (Saint Louise de Marillac).

It is not God’s will for some to have everything and others to have nothing (Blessed Oscar Romero).

Love God, serve God, everything is in that (Saint Clare of Assisi)

All sing: Lord, show us the heart of the poor …


The candle of Peace is lit

Let us pray,
God of harmony and gentleness,
Grant us peace in our hearts and homes this Advent.
May we never give up praying and working for reconciliation throughout the world and may Mary, the mother of mercy, come to our aid.
We ask this in the Spirit, through Christ, our Lord. Amen.

Song Joys in Praise of the Virgin of Lluçà (Catalonian)
Since as Mother he chose you
God himself who created you
Be our Advocate
Holy Virgin of Lluçà.

On hearing Ave Maria
Sent by the Archangel
God fills you with joy
For your humbleness.
You are the awaited Dawn
Of that Sun which will never set.

From Jesse chosen rod
You have flourished there in Bethlehem;
Among chants blooms
The Messiah whom we wait for.
You rest immaculate,
You´re the light who will guide us.

The Gospel of the Visitation is proclaimed on the 4th Sunday of Advent in which Mary is greeted by her cousin Elizabeth who is carrying John the Baptist in her womb. As Mary crossed the threshold of her cousin’s house she encountered graciousness, warmth and affection. May all who cross our thresholds during this Jubilee Year of Mercy experience that same love and respect. In the logo for the Jubilee we see Jesus as the Good Shepherd carrying Adam who represents all humanity. What is striking also is that Jesus and all humanity share an eye – as it were seeing ‘eye to eye with each other’. Inspired by this image we are invited to try to see eye to eye with each other as we learn to be ‘merciful like the Father’. You might also like to look at the image of the Visitation from the altarpiece of the Monastery of Santa Maria de Lluçà in Catalonia on your leaflet in which Mary and Elizabeth also share a common eye. As we pray the Magnificat of Conversion and sing the Jubilee Hymn let us open ourselves to the transforming grace of this Advent Season, a time of new beginnings, a time for crossing the threshold of the Jubilee door of mercy.

Magnificat of Conversion
My soul comes in the darkness of unknowing
to the secret room of the All Knowing:
my spirit seeks understanding
in the happenings of these days
because God looks upon the people in a new way.

All sing:  Misericordes sicut Pater, Misericordes sicut Pater (2) (Inwood/Costa)
Yes, from this day forward
all generations will speak of these strange events as wonderful:
and those of us who walk blindly trusting
will be called blessed, for the presence of the Almighty, the Most Loving One, is felt in our land.

All sing: Misericordes sicut Pater, Misericordes sicut Pater

Holy is the name of the One who is eternally new.
God’s guiding hand reaches from age to age
for those who grope and stumble in search of the saving way.

All sing: Misericordes sicut Pater, Misericordes sicut Pater

We are shown the power of touching
and simply being open to each other:
our proud imaginings of the high place of our chosen nation
are scattered and ground down.

All sing: Misericordes sicut Pater, Misericordes sicut Pater

The warrior-king we expected to establish us on earth
as uncontested righteous power has not come,
and we see instead the promised messenger with dusty feet and hidden words.

All sing: Misericordes sicut Pater, Misericordes sicut Pater

They hungry of heart are fed with enabling love.
In places where there was a need people now give to others from their abundance.
The rich are troubled and rumble of revenge.

All sing: Misericordes sicut Pater, Misericordes sicut Pater

You have come, O trusted God,
because we have summoned you to help us.

Concluding Prayer
Let us pray,
God of strength and mercy,
Open our hearts in welcome.
Help us to prepare to meet the face of mercy in your Son.
Give us the courage to cross the threshold of compassion.
Remove the things that hinder us from receiving Christ with joy, so that we may share his wisdom and become one with him
when he comes in glory.
for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God forever and ever. Amen.

Prayer Hail Holy Queen (Adapted)
All say: Greetings to you, O Holy Queen. We salute you, Mother of mercy. You are our life, our sweetness and our hope. As we struggle in our humanity with the difficulties of life we turn to you with tearful eyes and heavy hearts. Let your merciful eyes look kindly upon us and point us with your look of love towards the fruit of our womb, Jesus. O merciful, O loving, O sweet Virgin Mary!

May the almighty and merciful God,
by whose grace you have placed your faith
in the First Coming of his Only Begotten Son
and yearn for his coming again
sanctify you by the radiance of Christ’s Advent
and enrich you with his blessing. Amen.

As you run the race of this present life,
may he make you firm in faith,
joyful in hope and active in charity. Amen.

So that you, rejoicing now with devotion
At our Redeemer’s coming in flesh,
You may be endowed with the rich reward of eternal life
When he comes again in majesty. Amen.

Song Salve Regina (Chant)
All sing: Salve, Regina, Mater misericordiæ,
vita, dulcedo, et spes nostra, salve.
Ad te clamamus exsules filii Hevæ,
Ad te suspiramus, gementes et flentes
in hac lacrimarum valle.
Eia, ergo, advocata nostra, illos tuos
misericordes oculos ad nos converte;
Et Jesum, benedictum fructum ventris tui,
nobis post hoc exsilium ostende.
O clemens, O pia, O dulcis Virgo Maria.

Song Christ In Me Arise (Trevor Thomson)
All sing: Christ in me arise and dispel all the darkness.
Christ in me arise with your power and your strength.
Christ in me pour out your forgiveness and healing
Christ in me arise and I will rise in you.