Meditations from Catholic 19th Century Bishop Challoner this week.

CONSIDER, first, that advent is a time of penance and devotion,
during which we are daily admonished by the church “to
prepare the way of the Lord, and to make straight his paths,”
by entering into the like dispositions Avhich the Baptist required
of the people, to prepare them for their Messiah. Advent
signifies “the coming :” and we are now taught to embrace in
such manner the mercy and grace, which our Lord brings with
him at his first coming amongst us in his incarnation, as to escape
those dreadful judgments, which his justice will execute
upon impenitent sinners, at his second coming to judge the
living and the dead.
Consider, secondly, in what manner we must now dispose
ourselves for the spiritual birth of Christ within our souls, at
the approaching solemnity of Christmas. “Knowing the time,”
says the apostle; “that it is now the hour for us to rise from
sleep : for now our salvation is nearer, than when we first believed.
The night is past, [or far spent] the day is at hand;
let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and put on the
armor of light : Jet us walk decently as in the day,” &c. Ah!
Christians, listen seriously to this summons, and shake off,
once for all, that unhappy lethargy which keeps you fast asleep
to the things of God.  Conclude, in earnest, to prepare the way of the Lord, by
putting away all your sins and purifying your soul. Thus he
will come and abide with you.

We adore Thee O Christ and we bless Thee for by Thy Holy Cross Thou hast redeemed the world.

CONSIDER, first, that St. John the Baptist, the great forerunner
of our Lord, continually called upon the people to turn
from their evil ways, and “do penance : because the kingdom
of heaven was at hand.” He told them that they must “bringforth
worthy fruits of penance,” if they would “escape the
wrath to come;” and this without delay; for that “the axe was
laid at the root of the tree;” and “every tree that did not bring
forth good fruit, should be cut down and cast into the fire.”
The church still continues to repeat to all her children,
especially at this holy time, these most important lessons of
the Baptist.
Consider, secondly, that the virtue of penance which St.
John enforced, always was, and always will be, absolutely
necessary in the conversion of a sinner : and it implies three
things. First, the renouncing and detesting of all our sins, by
which we have offended our good God : secondly, a turning to
God with our whole heart, and an offering of ourselves to him
for time and eternity : thirdly, a resolution of satisfying, according
to our small ability, for past offences, by a penitential
life. Christians, this must be our great business at this holy
time, if we hope to prepare ourselves for Christ.

Let the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable in Thy sight O Lord my strength and my redeemer


…the church, in celebrating the divine
mysteries three times over on Christmas-day, commemorates
three different births of Christ: his eternal birth, from his
heavenly Father ; his temporal birth, from his virgin mother;
and his spiritual birth by grace, in the souls of the faithful.
The best devotion for the time of Christmas, is that which conduces
most towards this spiritual birth of Christ within our
souls; and, of course, the best devotion ior advent is ]. to
purify them from sin : 2. to adorn them with virtue : 3. to invite
our Lord to take possession of them, by daily fervent
prayer. Conclude to practice these lessons, to the best of your power.
An advent thus spent will bring you a happy Christmas.

O Lord come to my assistance, O Lord make haste to help me.


CONSIDER, first, that the miracles of Christ were wrought,
not only to confirm our faith and hope in him, but likewise to
direct our practice. For as the diseases and corporal infirmities
of this life, mystically represent the spiritual disorders of
our vices and passions; so we are taught by our Saviour’s miracles
in healing all kinds of bodily indispositions, to apply to
him for the cure of the infirmities of the soul. These are the
far more grievous evils of the two, and if not healed, are attended
with far more dreadful consequences.
Consider, secondly, how our blessed Saviour “went about
all Galilee,” says St. Matthew, [iv. 23.] “healing all manner
of sickness, and every infirmity among the people; and his
fame went throughout all Syria. And there came to him great
multitudes, having with them the dumb, the blind, the lame,
the maimed, and many others; and they cast them down at his
feet, and he healed them,” [Matth. xv. 30.] “And all the
multitude sought to touch him; for virtue went out from him,
and healed all,” [Luke vi. 19.] Be assured he is no less able
or willing now to heal our souls, provided we apply to him
with an humble confidence and earnest prayer.


Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God Almighty, who was, and is, and is to come.
Consider, thirdly, that as Christ came to deliver men from
the tyranny and slavery of the devil, his miracles shone forth
principally in casting out evil spirits, in destroying the works

of the devil, and in expelling Satan from his usurped dominions.
Alas! does not this most wicked one spiritually possess
thousands of Christians, by means of some or other of the capital
vices? Does he not lender many spiritually deaf and
dumb, with regard to the confession of their sins, and the calls
and inspirations of divine grace? Does he not bend them
down to the earth by worldly affections, like the crooked woman
in the gospel? In these cases we must seek redress from
Christ by humble prayer.
Conclude to study well the practical lessons, which may be
learned from the miracles of our Lord, as well as the motives
they afford for strenghtening your faith and hope.

Holy, Holy, Holy Lord God of Hosts, the whole earth is filled with Thy Glory.

CONSIDER, first, that the leprosy is a figure of sin; and the
prescriptions concerning it, in the book of Leviticus, were all
figurative, and expressive of what was to be done under the
new law, for the cure of this spiritual leprosy. The first mentioned
to have been cleansed by our Lord, “worshipped him,
saying, Lord, if thou wilt, thou canst make me clean. And
immediately his leprosy was cleansed,” [Matth. viii. 2, 3.]

We see in this instance, that faith and humility are very efficacious
with our heavenly physician. In the case of legal defilement,
the leper, by the judgment of the priest, was separated
from the rest of the faithful, and was not to expect a cure without
the most humble dispositions, and an exact compliance with
the ceremonies prescribed: much more are the same dispositions
requisite for the healing of the dreadful leprosy of sin.
Consider, secondly, that our Lord having cleansed the leper,
to teach us to avoid all ostentation and vain glory in doing
good, said to him: “see thou tell no man; but go show thyself
to the priest, and offer the gift which Moses commanded.”


Give Thanks to the Lord for He is good for His Mercy endures forever.
Consider, thirdly, how our Lord also cured ten other lepers,
[Luke xvii.] who applied to him with the like dispositions of
faith and humility. These, too, he referred to his priests. But
out of the ten who received the benefit of a cure, only one re –
turned to glorify God, and give thanks to our merciful Redeemer:
the rest ungratefully forgot their benefactor like many
Christians, who appear quite insensible of the favor of reconciliation,
and are thus in danger of a worse relapse even than
Conclude to dread and detest the spiritual leprosy of sin,
more than any other evil; and seek your cure with proper dispositions.


O Come let us worship and fall down before Christ, O Son of God, Who didst rise from the dead, save us who chant unto Thee, Alleluia.