Sunday, December 21, 2014
From The Liturgical Year, by Abbot Prosper Gueranger, OSB:
THE FOURTH SUNDAY OF ADVENT
(If this Sunday fall on December 24, it is omitted, and in its
place is said the Office of Christmas Eve)
We have now entered into the week which immediately precedes the
birth of the Messias. That long-desired coming might be even
tomorrow; and at furthest, that is, when Advent is as long as it
can be, the beautiful feast is only seven days from us. So that
the Church now counts the hours; she watches day and night, and
since December 17 her Offices have assumed an unusual solemnity.
At Lauds, she varies the antiphons each day; and at Vespers, in
order to express the impatience of her desires for her Jesus, she
makes use of the most vehement exclamations to the Messias, in
which she each day gives Him a magnificent title, borrowed from
the language of the prophets.
Today, she makes a last effort to stir up the devotion of her
children. She leads them to the desert; she shows them John the
Baptist, upon whose mission she instructed them on the third
Sunday. The voice of the austere Precursor resounds through the
wilderness, and penetrates even into the cities. It preaches
penance, and the obligation men are under of preparing by self-
purification for the coming of Christ. Let us retire from the
world during these next few days; or if that may not be by reason
of our external duties, let us retire into the quiet of our own
hearts and confess our iniquities, as did those true Israelites,
who came, full of compunction and of faith in the Messias, to the
Baptist, there to make perfect their preparation for worthily
receiving the Redeemer on the day of His appearing to the world.
See, then, with what redoubled earnestness the Church, before
opening the book of her great prophet, repeats her invitatory:
The Lord is now nigh; come, let us adore.
From the Prophet Isaias.
The land that was desolate and impassable shall be glad, and the
wilderness shall rejoice, and shall flourish like the lily. It
shall bud forth and blossom, and shall rejoice with joy and
praise; the glory of Libanus is given to it, the beauty of Carmel
and Saron. They shall see the glory of the Lord, and the beauty of
our God. Strengthen ye the feeble hands, and confirm the weak
knees. Say to the fainthearted: Take courage, and fear not. Behold
your God will bring the revenge of recompense: God himself will
come and will save you. Then shall the eyes of the blind be
opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall
the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall be
free: for waters are broken out in the desert, and streams in the
wilderness. And that which was dry land, shall become a pool, and
the thirsty land springs of water. In the dens where dragons dwelt
before shall rise up the verdure of the reed and the bulrush. And
a path and a way shall be there, and it shall be called the holy
way: the 1melean shall not pass over it and this shall be unto you
a straight way, so that fools shall not err therein. No lion shall
be there, nor shall any mischievous beast go up by it, nor be
found there: but they shall walk there, that shall be delivered.
And the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and shall come into
Sion with praise, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads:
they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and mourning shall
Oh, the joy of Thy coming, dear Jesus! How great it must needs be,
when the prophecy says it shall be like an everlasting crown upon
our heads. And could it be otherwise? The very desert is to
flourish as a lily, and living waters are to gush forth out of the
parched land, because their God is coming. Come, O Jesus, come
quickly, and give us of that water, which flows from Thy sacred
Heart, and which the Samaritan woman, the type of us sinners,
asked of Thee with such earnest entreaty. This water is Thy grace;
let it rain upon our parched souls, and they too will flourish;
let it quench our thirst, and we will run in the way of Thy
precepts and examples. Thou, O Jesus, art our way, our path, to
God; and Thou art Thyself God; Thou art, therefore, both our way
and the term to which our way leads us. We had lost our way; we
had gone astray as lost sheep: how great Thy love to come thus in
search of us! To teach us the way to heaven, Thou hast deigned to
come down from heaven, and then tread with us the road which leads
to it. No! there shall be no more weak hands, nor feeble knees,
nor faint hearts; for we know that it is in love that Thou art
coming to us. There is but one thing which makes us sad: our
preparation is not complete. We have some ties still to break;
help us to do it, O Saviour of mankind! We desire to obey the
voice of Thy Precursor, and make plain those rugged paths, which
would prevent Thy coming into our hearts, O divine Infant! Give us
to be baptized in the Baptism of the waters of penance; Thou wilt
soon follow, baptizing us in the Holy Ghost and love.
O Dayspring, Brightness of the everlasting light, Son of justice, come to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death!
O Oriens, splendor lucis æternæ, et sol justitiæ: veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.
Saturday, December 20, 2014
O Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel, that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth, come to liberate the prisoner from the prison, and them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.
O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel; qui aperis, et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperit: veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.
Friday, December 19, 2014
O Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at Whom the kings shall shut their mouths, Whom the Gentiles shall seek, come to deliver us, do not tarry.
O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt reges os suum, quem Gentes deprecabuntur: veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.
Thursday, December 18, 2014
O Adonai, and Ruler of the house of Israel, Who didst appear unto Moses in the burning bush, and gavest him the law in Sinai, come to redeem us with an outstretched arm!
O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel, qui Moysi in igne flammæ rubi apparuisti, et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.
Wednesday, December 17, 2014
O Wisdom that comest out of the mouth of the Most High, that reachest from one end to another, and orderest all things mightily and sweetly, come to teach us the way of prudence!
O Sapientia, quæ ex ore Altissimi prodiisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiæ.
Monday, December 15, 2014
Sunday, December 14, 2014
From The Liturgical Year, by Abbot Prosper Gueranger, OSB:
Today, again, the Church is full of joy, and the joy is greater
than it was. It is true that her Lord has not come; but she feels
that He is nearer than before, and therefore she thinks it just to
lessen somewhat the austerity of this penitential season by the
innocent cheerfulness of her sacred rites. And first this Sunday
has had the name of
the Introit; it also is honoured with those impressive exceptions
which belong to the fourth Sunday of Lent, called
organ is played at the Mass; the vestments are rose-colour; the
deacon resumes the dalmatic, and the subdeacon the tunic; and in
cathedral churches the bishop assists with the precious mitre. How
touching are all these usages, and how admirable this
condescension of the Church, wherewith she so beautifully blends
together the unalterable strictness of the dogmas of faith and the
graceful poetry of the formulae of her liturgy! Let us enter into
her spirit, and be glad on this third Sunday of her Advent,
because our Lord is now so near unto us. Tomorrow we will resume
our attitude of servants mourning for the absence of their Lord
and waiting for Him; for every delay, however short, is painful
and makes love sad.
The Station is kept in the basilica of St. Peter, at the Vatican.
This august temple, which contains the tomb of the prince of the
apostles, is the home and refuge of all the faithful of the world;
it is but natural that it should be chosen to witness both the joy
and the sadness of the Church.
The night Office commences with a new Invitatory. The voice of the
Church no longer invites the faithful to come and adore in fear
assumes another character; her tone is one of gladness; and now,
every day, until the vigil of Christmas, she begins her nocturns
with these grand words:
The Lord is now nigh; come, let us adore.
Now let us take the book of the Prophet, and read with the Church:
From the Prophet Isaias. Ch. xxvi.
In that day shall this canticle be sung in the land of Juda. Sion
the city of our strength: a Saviour, a wall, and a bulwark shall
be set therein. Open ye the gates and let the just nation, that
keepeth the truth, enter in. The old error is passed away, thou
wilt keep peace: peace, because we have hoped in thee. You have
hoped in the Lord forevermore: in the Lord God mighty for ever.
For he shall bring down them that dwell on high, the high city he
shall lay low. He shall bring it down even to the ground,
he shall pull it; down even to the dust. The foot shall tread it
down; the feet of the poor, the steps of the needy. The way of the
just is right, the path of the just is right to walk in. And in
the way of thy judgements, O Lord, we have patiently waited for
thee: thy name and thy remembrance are the desire of the soul. My
soul hath desired thee in the night: yea, and with my spirit
within me in the morning early I will watch to thee.
O holy Roman Church, city of our strength / behold us thy
children assembled within thy walls, around the tomb of the
fisherman, the prince of the apostles, whose sacred relics protect
thee from their earthly shrine, and whose unchanging teaching
enlightens thee from heaven. Yet, O city of strength: it is by
the Saviour, who is coming, that thou art strong. He is thy
thy children; He is thy bulwark, for it is by Him that thou art
invincible, and that all the powers of hell are powerless to
prevail against thee. Open wide thy gates, that all nations may
enter thee; for thou art mistress of holiness and the guardian of
truth. May the old error, which sets itself against the faith,
soon disappear, and peace reign over the whole fold! O holy Roman
Church! thou hast forever put thy trust in the Lord; and He,
faithful to His promise, has humbled before thee the haughty ones
that defied thee, and the proud cities that were against thee.
Where now are the Caesars, who boasted that they had drowned thee
in shine own blood? where the emperors, who would ravish the
inviolate virginity of thy faith? where the heretics, who, during
the past centuries of shine existence, have assailed every article
of thy teaching, and denied what they listed? where the ungrateful
princes, who would fain make a slave of thee, who hadst made them
what they were? where that empire of Mahomet, which has so many
times raged against thee, for that thou, the defenceless State,
didst arrest the pride of its conquests? where the reformers, who
were bent on giving the world a Christianity, in which thou west
to have no part? where the more modern sophists, in whose
philosophy thou west set down as a system that had been tried, and
was a failure, and is now a ruin? and those kings who are acting
the tyrant over thee, and those people that will have liberty
independently and at the risk of truth, where will they be in
another hundred years? Gone and forgotten as the noisy anger of a
torrent; whilst thou, O holy Church of Rome, built on the
immovable rock, wilt be as calm, as young, as unwrinkled as ever.
Thy path through all the ages of this world's duration, will be
right as that of the just man; thou wilt ever be the same
unchanging Church, as thou hast been during the eighteen hundred
years past, whilst everything else under the sun has been but
change. Whence this thy stability, but from Him who is very truth
and justice? Glory be to Him in thee! Each year, He visits thee;
each year, He brings thee new gifts, wherewith thou mayst go
happily through thy pilgrimage; and to the end of time, He will
visit thee, and renew thee, not only with the power of that look
wherewith Peter was renewed, but by filling thee with Himself, as
He did the ever glorious Virgin, who is the object of thy most
tender love, after that which thou bearest to Jesus Himself. We
pray with thee, O Church, our mother, and here is our prayer:
'Come, Lord Jesus! Thy name and Thy remembrance are the desire of
our souls: they have desired Thee in the night, yea, and early in
the morning have they watched for Thee.'