“Emmanuel, you are in our midst. You are with us, descending to the extreme consequences of the covenant concluded with man at the very beginning, even if it has been violated and broken so many times.
You are with us, Emmanuel, in a way that goes beyond anything that man could have thought of you. You are with us as a man.
You are admirable, truly admirable, O God, Creator and Lord of the universe with the almighty Father; Logos, the only Son.
Mighty God, you are with us as a man, as a newborn of the human race, so feeble, wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger “because there was no room for you” at any inn.
Is it not precisely because you became man in such a fashion, without a roof over your head, that you have become closer to man?
Is it not because you, Jesus the newborn, are without a roof over your head, that you are closest to our brothers and sisters, to all those who, because of terrible earthquakes or wars, have lost their homes? And those who truly come to their aid are precisely those who have you in their hearts, you who were born in Bethlehem without a home.
Is it not because your life was threatened by Herod within its first days that you are particularly close to those who are threatened in one way or another, to those who die at the hands of assassins, to those who are refused their fundamental human rights?
And even more than that: Are you not closer, for that very reason, to those whose life is threatened in their mother’s womb? O truly admirable is the all-powerful God in the feebleness of a child!
From all the places in the world, we are on the march to you. Your birth in Bethlehem attracts us. Would you have been able to do anything more than what you did in order to be the Emmanuel-God-with-us? Anything more than what our astonished eyes are contemplating – the eyes of men from all parts of the world, from different countries and continents –, in the same way the eyes of Mary and Joseph, and then those of the shepherds and Kings from the East contemplated you long ago?
You are the Prince of Peace. How great the good of peace is for man; how much it is sought-after in our contemporary world and, at the same time, how threatened it is!
You are a father for ever. Man, who believes based on a complex past, is turned towards the future, and at the same time, he is preoccupied by his own future, by the future of the world.
O Christ, be yourself man’s future. Amen.”
(Pope John Paul II)
Prayer to the Merciful Jesus
I want to be completely transformed into your mercy and be your living reflection, O Lord. May the greatest of all divine attributes, that of your unfathomable mercy, pass through my heart and soul to my neighbor.
Help me, O Lord, that my eyes may be merciful, so that I may never suspect or judge from appearances, but look for what is beautiful in my neighbors’ souls and come to their rescue.
Help me, O Lord, that my ears may be merciful, so that I may give heed to my neighbors’ needs and not be indifferent to their pain and moanings.
Help me, O Lord, that my tongue may be merciful, so that I should never speak negatively of my neighbor but have a word of comfort and forgiveness for all.
Help me, O Lord, that my hands may be merciful and filled with good deeds, so that I may do only good to my neighbors and take upon myself the more difficult and toilsome tasks.
Help me, O Lord, that my feet may be merciful, so that I may hurry to assist my neighbor, overcoming my own fatigue and weariness. My true rest is in the service of my neighbor.
Help me, O Lord, that my heart may be merciful, so that I myself may feel all the sufferings of my neighbor. I will refuse my heart to no one. I will be sincere even with those who, I know, will abuse my kindness. And I will lock myself up in the most merciful Heart of Jesus. I will bear my own suffering in silence. May your mercy, O Lord, rest upon me. Amen.
“Blessed are you, Father, who, in your infinite love, gave us your only-begotten Son. By the power of the Holy Spirit He became incarnate in the spotless womb of the Virgin Mary and was born in Bethlehem. He became our companion on life’s path and gave new meaning to our history, the journey we make together in toil and suffering, in faithfulness and love, towards the new heavens and the new earth where you, once death has been vanquished, will be all in all.
By your grace, O Father, may this year be a time of deep conversion. May it be a time of reconciliation between people, and of peace restored among nations, a time when swords are beaten into ploughshares and the clash of arms gives way to songs of peace.
Father, grant that we may live this year docile to the voice of the Spirit, faithful to the way of Christ, diligent in listening to your Word and in approaching the well-springs of grace.
Father, by the power of the Spirit, strengthen the Church’s commitment to the new evangelization and guide our steps along the pathways of the world, to proclaim Christ by our lives, and to direct our earthly pilgrimage towards the City of heavenly light. May Christ’s followers show forth their love for the poor and the oppressed; may they be one with those in need and abound in works of mercy; may they be compassionate towards all, that they themselves may obtain indulgence and forgiveness from you.
Father, grant that your Son’s disciples may be one, that the world may believe. May dialogue between the followers of the great religions prosper, and may all people discover the joy of being your children.
May the intercession of Mary, Mother of your faithful people, in union with the prayers of the Apostles, the Christian martyrs, and the righteous of all nations in every age, make of this time a time of renewed hope and of joy in the Spirit for each of us and for the whole Church.
To you, Almighty Father, Creator of the universe and of mankind, through Christ, the Living One, Lord of time and history, in the Spirit who makes all things holy, be praise and honour and glory now and for ever. Amen.”
(Pope John Paul II)
“My God, I believe in you, but strengthen my faith; I hope in you but be the assurance of my hope; I love you, but make my love doubly strong; I repent for having sinned, but increase my repentance.
My God, I adore you as my first principle: I desire you as my final end; I thank you as my constant benefactor; I invoke you as my supreme defender.
My God, deign to guide me with your wisdom, sustain me with your justice, console me with your mercy and protect me with your power.
I consecrate to you my thoughts, my words, my deeds, my suffering, so that, from now on, I think only of you, speak only about you, act only according to your will; suffer only for you.
Lord, I want what you want, because you want it, as you want it and as much as you want it.
I beseech you to enlighten my understanding, enkindle my will, purify my heart and sanctify my soul.
My God, help me to expiate for my past sins, to overcome my temptations in the future, to put right the passions dominating me and to practice the virtues of my state.
Fill my heart with tenderness for your kindness, with zeal for my neighbor, with contempt for worldly things.
Come to my aid to be victorious over my sensual desires through mortification, my greed through almsgiving, my anger through gentleness, and my tepidity through devotion.
Lord, grant that I may remember to be submissive to my superiors, charitable towards my inferiors, faithful to my friends and lenient towards my enemies.
My God , grant that I may be prudent in my undertakings, courageous in times of danger, patient in times of difficulty and humble in success.
Lord, inspire in me the concern to always have an upright conscience, a modest bearing, an uplifting conversation and an honest conduct. May I constantly apply myself to mastering my human nature, to assist grace, to keep the law and to merit salvation.
My God, show me the littleness of the earth, the greatness of Heaven, the briefness of time and the length of eternity. Grant that I may prepare myself for death, fear your judgment, avoid hell and finally gain Paradise. Amen.”