The Visitation

Almighty ever-living God,
who, while the Blessed Virgin Mary
was carrying your Son in her womb,
inspired her to visit Elizabeth,
grant us, we pray, that,
faithful to the promptings of the Spirit,
we may magnify your greatness with the Virgin Mary at all times.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Mary Immaculate, Star of the Morning

Mary Immaculate, star of the morning,
    Chosen before the creation began,

Chosen to bring in the light of thy dawning,
    Woe to the serpent and rescue to man.

Here, in this world of both shadow and sadness
    Veiling thy splendour, thy course hast thou run:

Now thou art throned in all glory and gladness,
    Crowned by the hand of thy Saviour and Son.

Sinners, we worship thy sinless perfection;
    Fallen and weak, for thy pity we plead:

Grant us the shield of thy sov’reign protection,
    Measure thine aid by the depth of our need.

Bend from thy throne at the voice of our crying,
    Bend to this earth which thy footsteps have trod:

Stretch out thine arms to us, living and dying,
    Mary Immaculate, Mother of God.

Renew Us Lord in Your Spirit

Blessed be Christ our Saviour. In him we become a new creation, the old order passes and all things are renewed. Let us pray in living hope.

– Renew us, Lord, in your Spirit.

You promised us, Lord, a new heaven and a new earth; renew us in your Spirit, that we may come to the new Jerusalem and rejoice in you for ever.

– Renew us, Lord, in your Spirit.

Let us work with you to fill the world with your Spirit; let us perfect our earthly city in justice, charity and peace.

– Renew us, Lord, in your Spirit.

Grant that we may put aside our apathy; help us to recognize with joy the power you have given us.

– Renew us, Lord, in your Spirit.

Set us free from all evil; show us in the confusion of our lives the things that really matter.

– Renew us, Lord, in your Spirit.

Glory be to the Father, to the Son, and the Holy Spirit. As it was in the beginning is now and ever shall be, world without end.

Creator of the Earth and Skies

Hymn from the Stanbrook Hymnal

Creator of the earth and skies,
To whom the words of life belong,
Grant us thy truth to make us wise;
Grant us thy power to make us strong.

Like theirs of old, our life is death,
Our light is darkness, till we see
The eternal Word made flesh and breath,
The God who walked by Galilee.

We have not known thee: to the skies
Our monuments of folly soar,
And all our self-wrought miseries
Have made us trust ourselves the more.

We have not loved thee: far and wide
The wreckage of our hatred spreads,
And evils wrought by human pride
Recoil on unrepentant heads.

For this, our foolish confidence,
Our pride of knowledge and our sin,
We come to thee in penitence;
In us the work of grace begin.

Stay Close. The Battle is Already Won.

The gates of the netherworld shall not prevail. (Matthew 16:18)

The data can be troubling. Studies continue to show a decline in church attendance, especially among young people. Fewer and fewer people are calling themselves Christian, with many opting for the vague term of “spiritual, but not religious.” Each of us probably knows someone who is struggling with their faith or who has left the Church. And yet Jesus promised that the gates of hell would never prevail against the Church. How can we believe this?

Perhaps the best place to start is by taking these words personally. Remember, Jesus has placed his Church in our hands, so it’s worth asking what role we have to play in fulfilling the promise. “What can I do to make sure the Church remains safe?”

The answer is as simple as it is challenging: stay close to Jesus. He has already won the battle against the devil, so he can defend you as well. Try as they might, the powers of sin and darkness won’t be able to sway you if you keep yourself connected to the Lord. It doesn’t mean you’ll be free from temptation, but it does mean that you’ll find the strength to stand firm. Be faithful to daily prayer. Make the most of your time at Mass. Pursue the Sacrament of Reconciliation. And serve Jesus as he is present in the poor and needy.

Of course, these are the obvious answers. But have you ever thought about how, when you are praying or celebrating Mass, you are also pushing back the devil and his power? Remember, you are a member of the body of Christ. There are very real spiritual consequences to your prayer life—consequences for the entire Church! As you stay close to the Lord, you are strengthening and defending all of your brothers and sisters around the world.

It’s because individual believers all over the world are clinging to Jesus right now that his Church remains protected. So as you intercede today for the Church or for family members who are struggling in their faith, you can be confident in Jesus’ promise. You can pray from a position of trust because you are part of the answer to your own prayers!

“Jesus, you are victorious! You have given new life to each member of your Church. Strengthen your body on earth.”

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