The Advent Stations:
Office of the Ancestors of Christ.


Father James Sullivan, O.P.
Father Ambrose Eckinger, O.P.
Sister Mary Grace, O.P.


What are the Advent Stations?

The Advent Stations take us on a tour of the Old Testament. Like the traditional Lenten Stations of the Cross, these seven Advent "stations" or "stopping points" proivde a way to ponder the mystery of how God prepared the world to receive his Son at the moment of the Annunciation. Each station contains an Old Testament foreshadowing of the incarnation, a meditation, the New Testament fulfillment in Christ, and then a prayer. They can be prayed alone, or with your family, or even in the church with a group of faithful.

First Advent Station - The Creation of Adam and Eve
Second Advent Station - The Covenant Begins
Third Advent Station - The Angelic Announcement
Fourth Advent Station - The Destiny of Bethlehem
Fifth Advent Station -- The Song of Praise
Sixth Advent Station - David's Promise to Bathsheba
Seventh Advent Station -- The Birth of the Virgin Mary


FIRST STATION

The Creation of Adam and Eve
Let us make man in our image

Old Testament Scripture           Genesis 1:26-28

God said, 'Let us make man in our own image, in the likeness of ourselves, and let them be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven, the cattle, all the wild animals and all the creatures that creep along the ground.'

God created man in the image of himself, in the image of God he created him, male and female he created them.

God blessed them, saying to them, 'Be fruitful, multiply, fill the earth and subdue it. Be masters of the fish of the sea, the birds of heaven and all the living creatures that move on earth.'


MEDITATION

In the wonders of creation the Lord revealed his great love by creating man in his own image and likeness. By the sin of Adam and Eve though, that image was disfigured and the likeness was dimmed. All of their children would be marked by their transgression. The goodness of creation was left waiting to be found; the beauty of man was hidden behind his sin. It was not remain so forever because the Father so loved the world that he gave his own Son to be its Savior.

In Christ all that had been lost was restored and even more was given. Man who had once lost his friendship with the Lord now in Christ would know the intimacy of God himself. Even before Adam and Eve were finally banished from the garden the Lord was preparing the world to receive the gift of his Son.

This is the mystery of Advent -- preparing for his coming. This is the mystery of the incarnation -- preparing for Christ to make all things new.

New Testament Scripture           (Revelation 21: 1- 5)

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; the first heaven and the first earth had disappeared now, and there was no longer any sea. I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride dressed for her husband.

Then I heard a loud voice call from the throne, 'Look, here God lives among human beings. He will make his home among them; they will be his people, and he will be their God, God-with-them. He will wipe away all tears from their eyes; there will be no more death, and no more mourning or sadness or pain. The world of the past has gone.'

Then the One sitting on the throne spoke. 'Look, I am making the whole of creation new. Write this, "What I am saying is trustworthy and will come true."

PRAYER
Loving Father, through Christ our Lord, you call us to a new paradise. More than we could ever have hoped for given to us by the gift of your Son. His becoming man made it possible for man to have a share in your divine life.

In this time of attack upon married life, give husbands and wives the grace to persevere in their vocations. May marital fidelity conquer all the temptation of Satan. May the love of husband and wife truly become an image of your own love. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.

O come, thou Wisdom born in heaven's height;
Come peacefully, thy people set aright,
To us the path of knowledge show
And help us in that way to go.
Rejoice, rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.




SECOND STATION

The Covenant Begins
The Promise of a Son to Abraham and Sarah

Old Testament Scripture           (Genesis 18: 9-11; 21: 1-3)

'Where is your wife Sarah?' they asked him. 'She is in the tent,' he replied. Then his guest said, 'I shall come back to you next year, and then your wife Sarah will have a son.' Sarah was listening at the entrance of the tent behind him. Now Abraham and Sarah were old, well on in years, and Sarah had ceased to have her monthly periods.

The LORD treated Sarah as he had said, and did what he had promised her. Sarah conceived and bore Abraham a son in his old age, at the time God had promised. Abraham named the son born to him Isaac, the son to whom Sarah had given birth.

MEDITATION

At this time in our history that regards life as more of a burden than a gift, society finds it difficult to understand the disappointment of a childless couple. The children of friends and relatives are constant reminders though of the joy that eludes them as co-creators with God of human life.

Abraham and Sarah ask the questions: "Who will remember us when we lie in death?" The Lord answers: "There is never a time when I have not heard you or remembered you; if I should forget you even for a moment the universe would cease to be. You will have a son and his descendants will be as numerous as the stars of the sky and the sands of the sea. I will always be with you, for I am Emmanuel.

New Testament Scripture           (Romans 9 : 1-9)

This is the truth and I am speaking in Christ, without pretence, as my conscience testifies for me in the Holy Spirit; there is great sorrow and unremitting agony in my heart: I could pray that I myself might be accursed and cut off from Christ, if this could benefit the brothers who are my own flesh and blood.

They are Israelites; it was they who were adopted as children, the glory was theirs and the covenants; to them were given the Law and the worship of God and the promises. To them belong the fathers and out of them, so far as physical descent is concerned, came Christ who is above all, God, blessed for ever. Amen.

It is not that God's promise has failed. Not all born Israelites belong to Israel, and not all the descendants of Abraham count as his children, for Isaac is the one through whom your Name will be carried on. That is, it is not by being children through physical descent that people become children of God; it is the children of the promise that are counted as the heirs. The actual words of the promise were: I shall come back to you at this season, and Sarah will have a son.

PRAYER
Blessed are you, O King of the universe. To Abraham and Sarah you revealed that you are faithful to your promises. You spoke your name to their descendants, that great and unspeakable name which brings life and salvation.

In the fullness of time you spoke your Word of promise again in Jesus Christ, our life and salvation. May the people you chose long ago come to full redemption and may your children, born not of flesh but by adoption in water and the Holy Spirit, come to share in all you have promised. Grant this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

O come, O come, thou Lord of might
Who to thy tribes on Sinai's height
In ancient times did give the Law
In cloud and majesty and awe.
Rejoice, rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.







THIRD STATION

The Angelic Announcement
To Manoah and His Wife

Old Testament Scripture           (Judges 13: 2-7, 24)

There was a man of Zorah of the tribe of Dan, called Manoah. His wife was barren; she had borne no children.The Angel of The LORD appeared to this woman and said to her, 'You are barren and have had no child, but you are going to conceive and give birth to a son. From now on, take great care. Drink no wine or fermented liquor, and eat nothing unclean. For you are going to conceive and give birth to a son. No razor is to touch his head, for the boy is to be God's nazirite from his mother's womb; and he will start rescuing Israel from the power of the Philistines.'

The woman then went and told her husband, 'A man of God has just come to me, who looked like the Angel of God, so majestic was he. I did not ask him where he came from, and he did not tell me his name.But he said to me, "You are going to conceive and will give birth to a son. From now on, drink no wine or fermented liquor, and eat nothing unclean. For the boy is to be God's nazirite from his mother's womb to his dying day." '

The woman gave birth to a son and called him Samson. The child grew, and The LORD blessed him;

MEDITATION

Throughout the living of the covenant, the Lord sought to guide his people to the Messiah. Manoah and his wife reveal that the Messiah can work where the world belives he cannot. Even barrennes is not an obstacle to his fertility. The strength of Samson foreshadows the very strength of Christ himself.

Samson ripped apart physical chains and brought down trhe temple of his captors. Christ destroyed the very chains of death itself and allowed the Temple of his body to be torn down and then raised up in glory. Our salvation comes only from the Lord and in no force of our own.

New Testament Scripture           (Luke 1: 5-17)

In the days of King Herod of Judaea there lived a priest called Zechariah who belonged to the Abijah section of the priesthood, and he had a wife, Elizabeth by name, who was a descendant of Aaron. Both were upright in the sight of God and impeccably carried out all the commandments and observances of the Lord. But they were childless: Elizabeth was barren and they were both advanced in years.

Now it happened that it was the turn of his section to serve, and he was exercising his priestly office before God when it fell to him by lot, as the priestly custom was, to enter the Lord's sanctuary and burn incense there. And at the hour of incense all the people were outside, praying. Then there appeared to him the angel of the Lord, standing on the right of the altar of incense. The sight disturbed Zechariah and he was overcome with fear.

But the angel said to him, 'Zechariah, do not be afraid, for your prayer has been heard. Your wife Elizabeth is to bear you a son and you shall name him John. He will be your joy and delight and many will rejoice at his birth, for he will be great in the sight of the Lord; he must drink no wine, no strong drink; even from his mother's womb he will be filled with the Holy Spirit, and he will bring back many of the Israelites to the Lord their God. With the spirit and power of Elijah, he will go before him to reconcile fathers to their children and the disobedient to the good sense of the upright, preparing for the Lord a people fit for him.'

PRAYER

Loving God and Father, time and time again, you bring fruit out of human barrenness. With the words of angels you communicated to the chosen people of the covenant but now we have your Word himself as our Lord and Savior.

Help us always to hear Christ speaking in our hearts. He alone can relive our fears and anxieties. Only Christ can bring our life to this world. In his Holy Name then, give children to those who ask and give faith to those who are barren of heart, especially those in our families. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

O come, thou Rod of Jesse, free
Thine own from Satan's tyranny,
From depths of Hell thy people save
And give them vict'ry o'er the grave.
Rejoice, rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.





FOURTH STATION

The Destiny of Bethlehem
Revealed in Ruth and Boaz

Old Testament Scripture           (Ruth 4: 10-13)

I am also acquiring Ruth the Moabitess, Mahlon's widow, to be my wife, to perpetuate the dead man's name in his inheritance, so that the dead man's name will not be lost among his brothers and at the gate of his town. Today you are witnesses to this.'

All the people at the gate said, 'We are witnesses'; and the elders said, 'May The LORD make the woman about to enter your family like Rachel and Leah who together built up the House of Israel. Grow mighty in Ephrathah, be renowned in Bethlehem! And through the children The LORD will give you by this young woman, may your family be like the family of Perez, whom Tamar bore to Judah.'

So Boaz took Ruth and she became his wife. And when they came together, The LORD made her conceive and she bore a son.

MEDITATION

Small towns can be places where people "watch out" for each other, and small can also be places where people "watch" each other, especially the stranger. In this shrinking world, each day the stranger and the marginalized are treated with suspicion, resentment, and contempt. Lives are shattered and broken when minds and hearts refuse to admit that God desires to save people of all races and all nations and all creeds.

Bethlehem was a small town that first closed it doors to Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The Lord, though, even uses our sins and weakness to show his mercy and strength. Bethlehem would be called great regardless of its smallness.

New Testament Scripture           (Matthew 2 : 1-6)

After Jesus had been born at Bethlehem in Judaea during the reign of King Herod, suddenly some wise men came to Jerusalem from the east asking, 'Where is the infant king of the Jews? We saw his star as it rose and have come to do him homage.'

When King Herod heard this he was perturbed, and so was the whole of Jerusalem. He called together all the chief priests and the scribes of the people, and enquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, 'At Bethlehem in Judaea, for this is what the prophet wrote: And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, you are by no means the least among the leaders of Judah, for from you will come a leader who will shepherd my people Israel.'

PRAYER

O Lord of all nations, the holy woman Ruth was not a daughter of the covenant you made with Abraham yet you favored her to be an ancestor of the Christ, and gave her to us as an example of loyalty and reverence to you.

Never allow our hearts to be closed to the stranger or the immigrant. Help us to know that in welcoming them we welcome your Son. May we always remember that even a cup of cool water given to the stranger out of love in Jesus' name will be remembered on the Day of Judgment. We ask this through Christ our Lord. Amen.

O come, thou Key of David, come
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads to thee
And close the path to misery.
Rejoice, rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.





FIFTH STATION

The Song of Praise
of Hannah and Elkanah


Old Testament Scripture           (1 Samuel 1: 19-20, 27-28; 2: 1-10)

They got up early in the morning and, after worshipping The LORD, set out and went home to Ramah. Elkanah lay with his wife Hannah, and The LORD remembered her. Hannah conceived and, in due course, gave birth to a son, whom she named Samuel, 'since', she said, 'I asked for him.'

This is the child for which I was praying, and The LORD has granted me what I asked of him. Now I make him over to The LORD for the whole of his life. He is made over to The LORD.' They then worshipped The LORD there.

Hannah then prayed as follows: My heart exults in The LORD, in my God is my strength lifted up, my mouth derides my foes, for I rejoice in your deliverance. There is no Holy One like The LORD,indeed, there is none but you no Rock like our God.

Do not keep talking so proudly, let no arrogance come from your mouth, for is a wise God, his to weigh up deeds.

The bow of the mighty has been broken but those who were tottering are now braced with strength. The full fed are hiring themselves out for bread but the hungry need labour no more; the barren womanbears sevenfold but the mother of many is left desolate.

The LORD gives death and life, brings down to Sheol and draws up; The LORD makes poor and rich, he humbles and also exalts.

He raises the poor from the dust, he lifts the needy from the dunghill to give them a place with princes, to assign them a seat of honour; for to The LORD belong the pillars of the earth, on these he has poised the world.

He safeguards the steps of his faithful but the wicked vanish in darkness for human strength can win no victories.

The LORD, his enemies are shattered, the Most High thunders in the heavens. The LORD the ends of the earth, he endows his king with power, he raises up the strength of his Anointed.

MEDITATION

Prayer was the first of Hannah and Elkanah's duties. So often it is our last and most neglected. Prayer unites us to God himself in a communion of mind and heart. Prayer brings a confidence in knowing that all we ask for the Lord will grant, according to his loving plan of Divine Providence.

This is the confidence which Christ bestows on us in praying the prayer that he taught us: "thy kingdom come, thy will be done." The Father's will may not always be clear to us, but that should not inhibit our praise of his goodness. Prayers of praise constantly flow from the true believer's soul.


New Testament Scripture           (Luke 1 39-56)

Mary set out at that time and went as quickly as she could into the hill country to a town in Judah. She went into Zechariah's house and greeted Elizabeth. Now it happened that as soon as Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the child leapt in her womb and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit. She gave a loud cry and said, 'Of all women you are the most blessed, and blessed is the fruit of your womb.

Why should I be honoured with a visit from the mother of my Lord? Look, the moment your greeting reached my ears, the child in my womb leapt for joy. Yes, blessed is she who believed that the promise made her by the Lord would be fulfilled.'

And Mary said: My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour; because he has looked upon the humiliation of his servant. Yes, from now onwards all generations will call me blessed, for the Almighty has done great things for me. Holy is his name, and his faithful love extends age after age to those who fear him. He has used the power of his arm, he has routed the arrogant of heart. He has pulled down princes from their thrones and raised high the lowly. He has filled the starving with good things, sent the rich away empty. He has come to the help of Israel his servant, mindful of his faithful love -according to the promise he made to our ancestors -- of his mercy to Abraham and to his descendants for ever.

Mary stayed with her some three months and then went home.

PRAYER
Lord, of life, you reveal to us the wonders of your love in the gift of newborn life. You gave Hannah and Elkanah the courage to ask for the gift of a child. Give us that same courage to ask for what we truly need. Give us also the ability to praise your goodness even in moments of difficulty and distress.

Help us to see your hand at work in our lives, always bringing us closer to yourself. May Mary's own song of praise echo in every moment of our life. May the depths of our souls praise you for ever. Grant this through Christ our Lord.

O come, thou Dayspring, come and cheer
Our spirits by thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death's dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice, rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.





SIXTH STATION

David's Promise to Bathsheba
"Your son shall reign after me"

Old Testament Scripture           (1 Kings 1: 15-18, 29-31)

So Bathsheba went to the king in his room (he was very old and Abishag of Shunem was in attendance on him). She knelt, prostrated herself before the king, and the king said, 'What do you want?' 'My lord,' she replied, 'you swore to your servant by The LORD your God, "Your son Solomon is to be king after me; he is the one who is to sit on my throne." And now here is Adonijah king, and you, my lord king, knowing nothing about it!

Then the king swore this oath, 'As The LORD lives, who has delivered me from all adversity,
just as I swore to you by The LORD, God of Israel, that your son Solomon should be king after me and take my place on my throne, so I shall bring it about this very day.'

Bathsheba knelt down, prostrated herself on her face before the king and said, 'May my lord King David live for ever!'

MEDITATION

To have another man's wife, David became party to deception, adultary, and murder. In David's sorrow for his misdeeds, the Lord God did not leave him in sinfulness nor does he allow us to be swept away in the flood of our sins. But even the son of David and Bathsheba, Solomon the Wise, could not offer the price for their redemption. The world still needed a "greater-than-Solomon."

New Testament Scripture           (Hebrews 2: 5-9)

It was not under angels that he put the world to come, about which we are speaking. Someone witnesses to this somewhere with the words: What are human beings that you spare a thought for them, a child of Adam that you care for him?

For a short while you have made him less than the angels; you have crowned him with glory and honour, put all things under his feet. For in putting all things under him he made no exceptions.

At present, it is true, we are not able to see that all things are under him, but we do see Jesus, who was for a short while made less than the angels, now crowned with glory and honour because he submitted to death; so that by God's grace his experience of death should benefit all humanity.

PRAYER

Giver of all good gifts, you created this world to be a peace-able kingdom, but our greed and hatred have left the scars of war, the degradation of creation, and the legacy of death.

Help us to preserve and protect the gift of life in all of its stages. Free us from actions that only enslave and destroy. May all your children learn to live in peace. May we acknowledge you alone, as the Lord of life and when our time on earth is ended, call us by name into your holy kingdom. We ask this through Christ our King and our Lord. Amen.

O come, of all the nations King,
The world awaits thy ransoming;
Remove our hate and faithlessness,
Unite us who thy Name confess.
Rejoice, rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.




SEVENTH STATION

The Birth of the Virgin Mary
The Fidelity of Israel in Anne and Joachim

Old Testament Scripture           (Genesis 6: 13 -22)

God said to Noah, 'I have decided that the end has come for all living things, for the earth is full of lawlessness because of human beings. So I am now about to destroy them and the earth.
Make yourself an ark out of resinous wood. Make it of reeds and caulk it with pitch inside and out.

This is how to make it: the length of the ark is to be three hundred cubits, its breadth fifty cubits, and its height thirty cubits. Make a roof to the ark, building it up to a cubit higher. Put the entrance in the side of the ark, which is to be made with lower, second and third decks. 'For my part I am going to send the flood, the waters, on earth, to destroy all living things having the breath of life under heaven; everything on earth is to perish. But with you I shall establish my covenant and you will go aboard the ark, yourself, your sons, your wife, and your sons' wives along with you.

From all living creatures, from all living things, you must take two of each kind aboard the ark, to save their lives with yours; they must be a male and a female. Of every species of bird, of every kind of animal and of every kind of creature that creeps along the ground, two must go with you so that their lives may be saved. For your part, provide yourself with eatables of all kinds, and lay in a store of them, to serve as food for yourself and them.'

Noah did this; exactly as God commanded him, he did.

MEDITATION

The ark of Noah was built to save mankind from the deadly force of the flood. It was built with precision and care, for the ark would be Noah's only refuge. It would deliver his family from death and destruction.

The new Ark who is Blessed Virgin Mary was created with even greater care and precision, for not just one family would find safety within her but all families! Mary guides us through the last days of our Advent waiting. Her conception and birth are the last preparations before the floods begin again -- not floods of water -- or wrath -- but floods of mercy and love -- as Gods becomes man and takes flesh of the Virgin. The dove is sent out again to bring not a simple olive branch but the very root and stem of Jess, Jesus Christ our Lord.

New Testament Scripture           (1 Peter 3: 13-22)

No one can hurt you if you are determined to do only what is right; and blessed are you if you have to suffer for being upright. Have no dread of them; have no fear. Simply proclaim the Lord Christ holy in your hearts, and always have your answer ready for people who ask you the reason for the hope that you have. But give it with courtesy and respect and with a clear conscience, so that those who slander your good behaviour in Christ may be ashamed of their accusations. And if it is the will of God that you should suffer, it is better to suffer for doing right than for doing wrong.
Christ himself died once and for all for sins, the upright for the sake of the guilty, to lead us to God. In the body he was put to death, in the spirit he was raised to life, and, in the spirit, he went to preach to the spirits in prison.
They refused to believe long ago, while God patiently waited to receive them, in Noah's time when the ark was being built. In it only a few, that is eight souls, were saved through water. It is the baptism corresponding to this water which saves you now -- not the washing off of physical dirt but the pledge of a good conscience given to God through the resurrection of Jesus Christ,
who has entered heaven and is at God's right hand, with angels, ruling forces and powers subject to him.

PRAYER

All protecting Father, in the ark of the Blessed Virgin Mary you call all men to find salvation and life in her Son, Jesus Christ. As in the ark of Noah, always keep us free from all natural disasters. In the ark of Mary, keep us free from all spiritual disasters. May we always be strong in faith, steadfast in hope and fervent in charity. Never allow us to drift away from you in anything that we do, and remind us always of the safe refuge we have in your embrace. We ask this in the name of Jesus the Lord. Amen.

O come, O come Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice, rejoice!
Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.



 
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