Saturday, November 27, 2010

The Years of Grace

Countdown time, church:






OK, so Times Square it ain't... then again, it isn't supposed to be.

As this First Sunday of Advent brings with it the start of another church cycle -- the "new year of grace," as the time-honored expression goes -- every wish of its richest blessings to you and yours.

That said, for the (literally) 1,900th time or thereabout, away we go... again.

* * *
Beyond its usual significance, this ecclesial "New Year's Day" is making news on two added fronts: first, with the implementation of the new Roman Missal in English coming a year from tonight on these shores, in most of the Anglosphere this afternoon saw the traditional "turning of the ribbons" toward the front of the Sacramentary one last time, as the 1973 translation enters its final cycle in use.

(In New Zealand, meanwhile, the new texts have made their global debut in the pews this weekend, albeit partially: the people's parts of the revised rendering have come into force there on this First Sunday, the rest to follow upon its release.)

Elsewhere, in Rome and across the Catholic world, at B16's behest tonight sees a first-of-its-kind observance: a global Vigil for All Nascent Human Life, which the pontiff marked at First Vespers in St Peter's and many local churches have planned special commemorations of on relatively short notice.

The Pope's homily at tonight's Vatican Vigil is posted... and additionally, Benedict released a "Prayer for Life," relayed here below in its Holy See draft translation:
Lord Jesus,
You who faithfully visit and fulfill with your Presence
the Church and the history of men;
You who in the miraculous Sacrament of your Body and Blood
render us participants in divine Life
and allow us a foretaste of the joy of eternal Life;
We adore and bless you.

Prostrated before You, source and lover of Life,
truly present and alive among us, we beg you:

Reawaken in us respect for every unborn life,
make us capable of seeing in the fruit of a mother's womb
the miraculous work of the Creator,
open our hearts to generously welcoming every child
that comes into life.

Bless all families,
sanctify the union of spouses,
make fruitful their love.

Accompany the choices of legislative assemblies
with the light of your Spirit,
so that peoples and nations may recognise and respect
the sacred nature of life, of every human life.

Guide the work of scientists and doctors,
so that all progress contributes to the integral well-being of the person,
and no one endures suppression or injustice.

Gift creative charity to administrators and economists,
so they may realise and promote sufficient conditions
so that young families can serenely embrace
the birth of new children

Console married couples who suffer
because they are unable to have children
and in Your goodness provide for them.

Teach us all to care for orphaned or abandoned children,
so they may experience the warmth of your Love,
the consolation of your divine Heart.

Together with Mary, Your Mother, the great believer,
in whose womb you took on our human nature,
we wait to receive from You, our Only True Good and Savior,
the strength to love and serve life,
in anticipation of living forever in You,
in communion with the Blessed Trinity.
PHOTOS: Getty(2)