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Second Week of Advent

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Regem venturum Dominum, venite, adoremus.

De Isaia Propheta.

Cap
. xxv.

Domine, Deus meus es tu, exaltabo te, et confitebor nomini tuo: quoniam fecisti mirabilia, cogitationes antiquas fideles. Amen. Quia posuisti civitatem in tumulum, urbem fortem in ruinam, domum alienorum, ut non sit civitas, et in sempiternum non aedificetur. Super hoc laudabit te populus fortis, civitas gentium robustarum timebit, te. Quia factus es fortitudo pauperi, fortitudo egeno in tribulatione sua: spes a turbine, umbraculum ab æstu.... Et faciet Dominus exercituum omnibus populis in monte hoc convivium pinguium, convivium vindemiae, pinguium medullatorum, vindemiae defæcatæ. Et praecipitabit in monte isto faciem vinculi colligati super omnes populos, et telam quam orditus est super omnes nationes. Præcipitabit mortem in sempiternum: et auferet Dominus Deus lacrymam ab omni facie, et opprobrium populi sui auferet de universa torra: quia Dominus locutus est. Et dicet in die illa: Ecco Deus noster iste, exspectavimus eum, et salvabit nos: iste Dominus, sustinuimus eum, exsultabimus et lætabimur in salutari ejus.
Come, let us adore the King our Lord, who is to come.

From the Prophet Isaias.

Ch. xxv.

O Lord, thou art my God, I will exalt thee, and give glory to thy name: for thou hast done wonderful things, thy designs of old faithful. Amen. For thou hast reduced the city to a heap, the strong city to ruin, the house of strangers to be no city, and to be no more built up for ever. Therefore shall a strong people praise thee, the city of mighty nations shall fear thee. Because thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress: a refuge from the whirlwind, a shadow from the heat And the Lord of hosts shall make unto all people, in this mountain, a feast of fat things, a feast of wine, of fat things full of marrow, of wine purified from the lees. And he shall destroy in this mountain the face of the bond with which all people were tied, and the web that he began over all nations. He shall cast death down headlong for ever: and the Lord God shall wipe away tears from every face. and the reproach of his people he shall take away from off the whole earth: for the Lord hath spoken it. And they shall say in that day: Lo, this is our God, we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord, wo have patiently waited for him, we shall rejoice and be joyful in his salvation.

Yet a little while, and the conqueror of death will appear, and then, in the joy of our hearts, we will say: Lo! this is our God; wo have waited for Him, and He will save us; we have patiently waited for Him; this is He, and we will rejoice and be joyful in His salvation. Let us, therefore, prepare the way of the Lord that wo may receive Him worthily; and in this work of our preparation, let us have recourse to Mary. Saturday is the day which is sacred to her; she will the more readily grant the prayers said to her upon it. Let us consider her in her grand privilege of being full of grace, carrying in her womb Him whom we so long to possess. If we ask her by what means she rendered herself worthy of such an immense favour, she will tell us that in her was simply fulfilled the prophecy, which the Church so continually repeats during these days of Advent: ‘Every valley shall be filled up.’ The humble Mary was the valley blessed by the Lord: a valley beautiful and fertile, in which God sowed the divine wheat, our Saviour Jesus: for it is written in the psalm, that the valleys shall abound with corn.[1] O Mary! it is thy humility that drew down upon thee the admiration of thy Creator. If, from the high heaven where He dwells, He had perceived a virgin more humble in her love, He would have chosen her in preference et thee: but no, it is thou that didst win His predilection, O mystic valley, ever verdant and lovely in thy flowers of grace. We that, like high hills, are so proud and such sinners, what shall we do? We must look on this our God, who comes to us in infinite humility, and then humble ourselves out of love and gratitude. O blessed Mother! obtain this grace for us. Pray for us that henceforth we may submit ourselves to the will of our Lord as thou didst, when thou didst speak those admirable words: ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord: may it be done to me according to thy word!’

 

Prose in Honor of the Blessed Virgin
(Taken from the Cluny missal of 1523)

Missus Gabriel de cœlis,
Verbi bajulus fidelis,
Sacris disserit loquelis
Cum beata Virgine.

Verbum bonum et suave
Pandit intus in conclave,
Et ex Eva format Ave,
Evæ verso nomine.

Consequenter juxta pactum,
Adest Verbum caro factum;
Semper tamen est intactum
Puellare gremium.

Patrem pariens ignorat,
Et quam homo non deflorat,
Non torquetur nec laborat
Quando parit filium.

Signum audis novitatis;
Crede solum, et est satis;
Non est nostræ facultatis
Solvere corrigiam.

Grande signum et insigne
Est in rubo et in igne:
Ne appropiet indigne
Calciatus quisquam.

Virga sicca sine rore,
Novo ritu, novo more,
Fructum protulit cum flore;
Sicque Virgo peperit.

Benedictus talis fructus,
Fructus gaudii, non luctus;
Non erit Adam seductus,
Si de hoc gustaverit.

Jesus noster, Jesus bonus,
Piæ Matris pium onus,
Cujus est in cœlo thronus
Nascitur in stabulo.

Qui sic est pro nobis natus
Nostros deleat reatus;
Quia noster incolatus
Hic est in periculo.

Amen.

Gabriel, sent from heaven,
faithful bearer of the word,
holds sacred converse
with the holy Virgin.

In the inner chamber
he discloses the good and sweet word;
and inverting the name of Eve, Eva becomes Ave,
his salutation Hail!

The covenant made,
instantly there was present the Word made flesh;
and yet the pure Maid
a Virgin still for ever.

Parent like no other;
Mother, yet not losing the treasure;
giving birth to her child,
yet not in pain or travail.

Unheard-of prodigy! 'tis so indeed,
and all thou, my soul,
canst do is to believe it:
we have not power to loose the latchet.

It is the great, the wondrous portent
of the burning bush;
let him that would approach,
take off the sandals from his feet.

A dry branch, with not one drop of dew,
once yielded a flower and fruit;
it was a new law, a new way:
so was it when the Virgin brought forth her Son.

What a blessed Fruit!
a Fruit of joy, not of woe.
There will be no Adam deceived,
if men but eat of this.

He is our Jesus, the good Jesus,
lovely burden of a lovely Mother!
He who has a throne in heaven,
has a stable for his birth-place!

May he, that for our sake was thus born,
wipe away all our guilt;
for our sojourn
here is full of dangers.

Amen.

 


Prayer from the Mozarabic Breviary
(For the Friday of the third week of Advent)

Quis poterit, Deus Dei Filius, scrutari vias tuas? Vel quibus aditibus nasciturus ad Virginem veneris? Vel quibus semitis ad superna regressus es? Et ideo, quia tu solus cuncta considerans es, cujus nomen supra terræ terminos permanet; da nobis, illa de te semper considerare et dicere, quæ culpæ careant lege: ut, qui excelsus in fortitudine veniens humilia respicis, dignos facias nos muneribus tuis. Amen.
Who, O God, thou Son of God, who can search into thy ways? and tell how thou wast born of a Virgin, when thou camest from heaven, or by what paths thou didst return thither? And therefore since thou alone knowest all things, thou whose name is beyond the ends of the earth; grant us so to think and speak of thee as to be guiltless of error: that so thou, who, high in power, dost come down to lowly things and love them, mayst make us worthy of thy gifts. Amen.

 

 

[1] Ps. lxiv. 14.

 

 

 

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Regem venturum Dominum, venite, adoremus.

De Isaia Propheta.

Cap
. xix.

Onus Ægypti. Ecce Dominus ascendet super nubem levem: et ingredietur Ægyptum: et commovebuntur simulacra Ægypti a facie ejus, et cor Ægypti tabescet in medio ejus: et concurrere faciam Ægyptios adversus Ægyptios, et pugnabit vir contra fratrem suum, et vir contra amicum suum, civitas adversus civitatem, regnum adversus regnum.

Come, let us adore the King our Lord, who is to come.

From the Prophet Isaias.

Ch. xix.

The burden of Egypt. Behold the Lord will ascend upon a light cloud: and will enter into Egypt: and the idols of Egypt shall be moved at his presence, and the heart of Egypt shall melt in the midst thereof: and I will set the Egyptians to fight against the Egyptians, and they shall fight brother against brother, and friend against friend, city against city, kingdom against kingdom.

The Egypt which the Lord is here represented as visiting, and whose idols and empire He will overthrow, is the city of satan, which is to be destroyed, and to give place to the city of God. But how peaceful is the divine Conqueror’s entrance into His conquest! it is on a cloud, a light cloud, that He comes, as on His triumphal chariot. How many mysteries in these few words! ‘There are three clouds,’ says Peter of Blois; 'the first the obscurity of the prophets; the second, the depth of the divine decrees; the third, the prodigy of a Virgin Mother.’[1] First, as to the obscurity of the prophets, it is essential to every prophecy that it be thus veiled, to the end that man’s free will may not be interfered with; but under this cloud the Lord comes at last, and when the day comes for the prophecy to be accomplished, all things are clear enough. Thus was it with the first coming; so will it be with the second. Then, as to the decrees of God; as they are ordinarily made manifest by second, that is by created, causes only, it almost always happens that the extreme simplicity of the means employed by the divine Wisdom takes men by surprise. Never was this so observable as in the grand event of the Incarnation. Men would naturally expect that, in restoring a fallen world, a power equal, at least, to that which first created it would be displayed; and all they are told about the portent is: ‘You will find the Child wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger’! O almighty power of God, how dazzling is Thy light through this cloud! how strong art Thou in this apparent weakness!

But there is the third cloud; it is the Virgin Mary; a light cloud, ‘for,’ says St. Jerome, ‘neither concupiscence, nor the burden of earthly marriage, weighs upon her a cloud, too, laden with a refreshing Dew, since it holds the Just One, who is to be rained down upon us, that our seething passions may be quenched, and the soil of our spiritual life made fertile. How sweet is the majesty of our divine King, when seen thus through this beautiful cloud! O incomparable Virgin! the whole Church of God recognizes thee in that mysterious cloud which the prophet Elias,[2] from the summit of Mount Carmel, saw rising up from the sea, little, at first, like a man’s foot, but sending at last such a plentiful rain that all Israel was refreshed by its abundance. Delay not, we pray thee; give us that heavenly and divine Dew which thou possessest within thee. Our sins have made the heavens as brass, and we are parched; thou alone of creatures art just and pure! Beseech our Lord, who has set up His throne of mercy in thee, to come speedily and destroy our enemies and bring us peace.

 

Hymn for Advent
(The Mozarabic breviary, first Sunday of Advent)

Cunctorum rex omnipotens,
Mundum salvare veniens,
Formam assumpsit corporis
Nostræ similitudinis.

Qui regnat cum Altissimo,
Virginis intrat uterum,
Nasciturus in corpore,
Mortis vincla disrumpere.

Gentes erant in tenebris:
Videbunt lumen fulgoris,
Cum Salvator advenerit
Redimere quos condidit.

Quem olim vatum praescia
Cecinerunt oracula,
Nunc veniet in gloria,
Nostra ut curet vulnera.

Lætemur nunc in Domino,
Simul in Dei Filio,
Parati eum suscipere
Adventus sui gloria.

Amen.
The almighty King of the universe,
coming to save the world,
assumed to himself a body
like unto ours.

He who reigns with the Most High,
enters the Virgin’s womb,
that he may be born in the flesh,
and break the bonds of death.

The nations have sat in darkness;
but they shall see the brightest light,
when the Saviout shall come
to redeem his creatures.

He of whom the futureseeing
oracles of the prophets anciently sang,
shall now come in glory
to cure our wounds.

Let us now be glad in the Lord,
and in the Son of God,
and be ready to receive him
in his glorious coming.

Amen.

 

 

 


Prayer from the Ambrosian Breviary
(Sixth Sunday of Advent, Preface)

Vere dignum et justum est, æquum et salutare: nos tibi, Domine Deus omnipotens, gratias agere: et cum tuæ invocatione virtutis, beatæ Mari» Virginis festa celebrare: de cujus ventre fructus effloruit, qui Panis angelici munere nos replevit. Quod Eva voravit in crimine, Maria restituit in salute. Distat opus serpentis et Virginis. Inde fusa sunt venena discriminis: hinc egressa mysteria Salvatoris. Inde se præbuit tentantis iniquitas: hinc Redemptoris est opitulata majestas. Inde partus occubuit; hinc Conditor resurrexit, a quo humana natura, non jam captiva, sed libera restituitur. Quod Adam perdidit in parente, Christo recepit auctore.
It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should give thanks to thee, O Lord God almighty: and that we should, whilst invoking thy power, celebrate the feasts of the blessed Virgin Mary; from whose womb grew tue Fruit, which has filled us with the Bread of angels. That Fruit which Eve took from us when she sinned, Mary has restored to us, and it has saved us. Not as the work of the serpent is the work of Mary. From the one, came the poison of our destruction; from the other, the mysteries of salvation. In the one, we see the malice of the tempter; in the other, the help of the divine Majesty. By the one, came death to the creature; by the other, the resurrection of the Creator, by whom human nature, now not captive but free, is restored; and what it lost by its parent Adam, it regained by its Maker Christ.

 

 


 

 

[1] Second Sermon of Advent.
[2] 3 Kings xviii. 42-44.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Regem venturum Dominum, venite, adoremus.

De Isaia Propheta.

Cap
. xxiv.

Ecce Dominus dissipabit terram, et nudabit eam; et affliget faciem ejus et disperget habitatores ejus. Et erit sicut populus, sic sacerdos; et sicut servus, sic dominus ejus; sicut ancilla, sic domina ejus; sicut emens, sic ille qui vendit; sicut fœnerator, sic is qui mutuum accipit; sicut qui repetit, sic qui debet. Dissipatione dissipabitur terra, et direptione prædabitur: Dominus enim locutus est verbum hoc. Luxit et defluxit terra, et infirmata est: defluxit orbis, infirmata est altitudo populi terræ. Et terra infecta est ab habitatoribus suis: quia transgressi sunt leges, mutaverunt jus, dissipaverunt fœdus sempiternum. Propter hoc maledictio vorabit terram, et peccabunt habitatores ejus, ideoque insanient cultores ejus; et relinquentur homines pauci. Luxit vindemia, infirmata est vitis, ingemuerunt omnes qui laetabantur corde. Cessavit gaudium tympanorum, quievit sonitas lætantium, conticuit dulcedo citharæ. Cum cantico non bibent vinum: amara erit potio bibentibus illam. Attrita est civitas vanitatis: clausa est omnis domus, nullo introeunte. Clamor erit super vino in plateis: deserta est omnis laetitia, translatum est gaudium terræ. Relicta est in urbe solitudo, et calamitas opprimet portas. Quia hæc erunt in medio terræ, in medio populorum; quomodo si paucae olivae quae remanserunt, excutiantur ex olea: et racemi, cum fuerit finita vindemia. Hi levabunt vocem suam, atque laudabunt; cum glorificatus fuerit Dominus, hinnient de mari. Propter hoc in doctrinis glorificate Dominum, in insulis maris nomen Domini Dei Israel. A finibus terræ laudes audivimus, gloriam justi.
Come, let us adore the King our Lord, who is to come.

From the Prophet Isaias.

Ch. xxiv.

Behold the Lord shall lay waste the earth, and shall strip it: and shall afflict the face thereof, and scatter abroad the inhabitants thereof. And it shall be as with the people, so with the priest; and as with the servant, so with his master; as with the handmaid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with him that calleth for his money, so with him that oweth. With desolation shall the earth be laid waste, and it shall be utterly spoiled: for the Lord hath spoken this word. The earth mourned and faded away, and is weakened: the world faded away, the height of the people of the earth is weakened. And the earth is infected by the inhabitants thereof: because they have transgressed the laws, they have changed the ordinance, they have broken the everlasting covenant. Therefore shall a curse devour the earth, and the inhabitants thereof shall sin; and therefore they that dwell therein shall be mad, and few men shall be left. The vintage hath mourned, the vine hath languished away, all the merry-hearted have sighed. The mirth of timbrels hath ceased, the noise of them that rejoice is ended, the melody of the harp is silent. They shall not drink wine with a song; the drink shall be bitter to them that drink it. The city of vanity is broken down, every house is shut up, no man cometh in. There shall be a crying for wine in the streets: all mirth is forsaken, the joy of the earth is gone away. Desolation is left in the city, and calamity shall oppress the gates. For it shall be thus in the midst of the earth, in the midst of the people, as if a few olives that remain should be shaken out of the olive tree: or grapes, when the vintage is ended. These shall lift up their voice, and shall give praise, when the Lord shall be glorified, they shall make a joyful noise from the sea. Therefore glorify ye the Lord in instruction: the name of the Lord God of Israel in the islands of the sea. From the ends of the earth we have heard praises, the glory of the just one.

Thus was the earth in desolation when the Messias came to deliver and save it. So diminished, so decayed, were truths among the children of men, that the human race was bordering on its ruin. The knowledge of the true God was becoming rarer as the world grew older; idolatry had made everything in creation an object of its adulterous worship; the practical result of a religion which was but gross materialism, was frightful immorality; man was for ever at war with man; and the only safeguards of what social order still existed in the world, were the execrable laws of slavery and extermination. Among the countless inhabitants of the globe, a mere handful could be found who were seeking God! they were as rare as the olives that remain on the tree after a careful plucking, or as grape-bunches after the vintage is ended. Of this happy few were, among the Jewish people, those true Israelites whom our Saviour chose for His disciples; and, among the Gentiles, the Magi that came from the east, asking for the new-born King; and later on, Cornelius the centurion, whom the angel of the Lord directed to St. Peter. But with what faith and joy did they acknowledge the incarnate God! and what their hymns of glad gratitude, when they found that they had been privileged, above others, to see with their own eyes the promised Saviour!

Now, all this will again happen when the time draws near of the second coming of the Messias. The earth will once more be filled with desolation, and mankind will be again a slave of its self-degradation. The ways of men will again grow corrupt; and, this time, the malice of their evil will be the greater, because they will have received Him who is the Light of the world, the Word of life. A profound sadness will sit heavy on all nations, and every effort for their well-being will seem paralyzed; they, and the earth they live on, will be conscious of decrepitude; and yet it will never once strike them that the world is drawing to an end. There will be great scandals; there shall fall stars from heaven, that is, many of those who had been masters in Israel shall apostatize, and their light shall be changed into darkness. There shall be days of temptation, and faith shall grow slack; so that when the Son of Man shall appear, faith shall scarce be found on the earth. Let it not be, O Lord, that we live to see those days of temptation; or, if it be Thy will that they overtake us, make our hearts firm in their allegiance to Thy holy Church, which will be the only beacon left to Thy faithful children in that fiorce storm. Grant, O Lord, that we may be of the number of those chosen olives, of those elect bunches of grapes, wherewith Thou wilt complete the rich harvest which Thou wilt garner for ever into Thy house. Preserve intact within us the deposit of faith which Thou hast entrusted to us; let our eye be fixed on that Orient of which the Church speaks to us, and where Thou art suddenly to appear in Thy majesty. When that day of Thine comes, and we behold Thy triumph, we will shout our glad delight, and then, like eagles which cluster round the body, we shall be taken up to meet Thee in the air, as Thy apostle speaks, and thus shall we for ever be with Thee.[1] Then we shall hear the praises and glory of the Just One, from the ends of this earth, which it is Thy good will to preserve until the decrees of Thy mercy and justice shall have been fully executed. O Jesus! we are the work of Thy hands; save us, and be merciful to us on that great day.

Hymn of Advent
(Mozarabic breviary, in the second week of Advent)

A Patre, Unigenite,
Ad nos venis per Virginem,
Baptismi rore consecrans,
Cunctos fide regenerans.


De cœlo celsus prodiens,
Excepit formam hominis,
Victor a morte rediens,
Gaudia vitae largiens.

Hoc te, Redemptor, quæsumus,
Illabere propitius,
Clarum que nostris cordibus
Lumen præbe deificum.

Deo Patri sit gloria
Ejusque soli Filio
Cum Spiritu Paraclito,
In sempiterna sæcula.

Amen.

Only-begotten Son of the Father,
thou comest to us by the Virgin,
consecrating us all by the dew of Baptism,
and by faith regenerating us.

The Most High coming from heaven
has taken on himself the form of man,
returning after conquering death,
and giving us the joys of a now life.

Wherefore, we beseech thee, O Redeemer,
descend upon us in thy mercy,
and give to our hearts
the brightness of the divine light.

To God the Father,
and to his only Son,
and to the holy Paraclete,
be glory for ever and ever.

Amen.


Prayer from the Gallican Missal
(In Adventu Domini, Collecta)

Animæ nostræ quæsumus, omnipotens Deus, hoc potiantur desiderio: ut a tuo Spiritu inflammentur, ut sicut lampades divino munere satiati, ante conspectum venientis Christi Filii tui velut clara lumina fulgeamus.
Grant, we beseech thee, O almighty God, that our souls be filled with a desire of being inflamed with thy Spirit; that being nourished with the divine gift, as lamps with their oil, we may shine as bright lights before the face of Christ thy Son, who is coming to us.

 

 

[1] 1 Thess. iv. 16.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Regem venturum Dominum, venite, adoremus.

De Isaia Propheta.

Cap
. xvi.

Emitte Agnum Domine, dominatorem terræ, de petra deserti ad montem filiæ Sion. Et erit: sicut avis fugiens, et pulli de nido avolantes, sic erunt filiae Moab in transcensu Arnon. Ini consilium, coge concilium, pone quasi noctem umbram tuam in meridie: absconde fugientes, et vagos ne prodas. Habitabunt apud te profugi mei: Moab, esto latibulum eorum a facie vastatoris. Finitus est enim pulvis, consummatus est miser, defecit qui conculcabat terram. Et praeparabitur in misericordia solium, et sedebit super illud in veritate, in tabernaculo David, judicans et quaerens judicium, et velociter reddens quod justum est.
Come, let us adore the King our Lord, who is to come.

From the Prophet Isaias.

Ch. xvi.

Send forth, O Lord, the Lamb, the ruler of the earth, from Petra of the desert to the mount of the daughter of Sion. And it shall come to pass, that as a bird fleeing away, and as young ones flying out of the nest, so shall the daughters of Moab be in the passage of Arnon. Take counsel, gather a council, make thy shadow as the night in the midday: hide them that flee, and betray not them that wander about. My fugitives shall dwell with thee: O Moab, be thou a covert to them from the face of the destroyer. For the dust is at an end, the wretch is consumed, he hath failed that trod the earth under foot. And a throne shall be prepared in mercy, and one shall sit upon it in truth in the tabernacle of David, judging and seeking judgement, and quickly rendering that which is just.

Send forth to us, O Lord, the Lamb: 'It is the Lamb,’ says Peter of Celles,' it is the Lamb we need, and not the Lion; the Lamb that knows no anger, and whose meekness is never ruffled; the Lamb that will give us His snow-white wool to warm our coldness, and cover our nakedness; the Lamb that will give us His flesh to eat, lest we faint with hunger on the way. Send Him full of wisdom, for in His divine prudence He will vanquish the spirit of pride; send full of strength, for it is written that the Lord is strong and mighty in battle; send Him full of meekness, for He is to come down as dew that falls on the fleece; send Him as a victim, for He is to be sold and immolated for our ransom; send Him the pardoner of sinners, for He is to come to call them, and not the just; send Him to receive power and divinity, for He is worthy to loose the seven seals of the sealed book, the unspeakable mystery of the Incarnation.’[1] Thou art King, then, O divine Lamb! Thou art even now, in thy Mother’s womb, the sovereign Ruler. This virginal womb is a throne of mercy whereon Thou art seated in humility, ready to avenge our rights and confound our cruel enemy. O most dear King! our eyes cannot yet behold Thee, but our hearts tell us Thou art near us. We know that it is for our sake that Thou hast put on this strange royalty. Suffer us to approach Thee, and offer Thee our homage and loyalty, even now that a cloud hides Thee from our sight. . A few days more, and Thou wilt be seated on another throne, Thy Mother’s arms, and then all the earth will see the salvation that is sent unto it.

Hymn taken from the Anthology of the Greeks

(December 20)

Spelunca, parare; Agna enim venit fœtum gerens Christum: recipe, præsepium, illum qui nos terrigenas verbo solvit ineffabili modo: pastores de nocte vigilantes, prodigiosum confitemini miraculum; magique e Perside aurum, thus et myrrham Regi afferte: quia visus est e Virgine matre Dominus, quem et ipsa prona servili modo, mater adoravit et ei quem in brachiis suis tenebat dixit: Quomodo in me inseminatus es: vel quomodo in me ingeneratus es, Salvator meus et Deus?

Audi cœlum, et intellige terra; ecce enim Filius Verbumque Dei Patris progreditur ad nascendum ex Virgine, inexperta virum, sine dolore illum pariente et virtute Spiritus sancti. Bethlehem parare: aperi januam, Eden, nam qui Est fit qui non erat, et plasturgus omnis creaturæ plasmatur ipse, afferens mundo magnam misericordiam.

Natura immense, Christe Rex, quomodo parva te recipiet spelunca? Quomodo præsepe te poterit continere, Jesu, ex Matre nesciente virum, advena factus in propria, ut hospites ipse salves?

Novum facta cœlum, Domina, e vulva tua, sicut e nebula Christum solem gloriae oriri facere festines in spelunca carnaliter, omnes terrae fines suis splendoribus fulgentissime irradiaturum, per incommensurabilem misericordiam.

Noscis nostrum dolorem et miseriam, misericors Christe, et nos non despicis; sed exinanis temctipsum, non adhuc egressus ex tua genitrice; tabernaculumque figens in matrice nuptinescia, quæ sine dolore te pariet in spelunca caro factum.

Montes et colles, valles et campi, populi et tribus, gentes ac omnis spiritus, alalagmum agite; lætitiæ divinæ venit plenitudo, omnium advenit redemptio, Verbum Dei tempora nesciens per misericordiam factum sub tempore.

Vitis divina incorruptam maturitate nigrescere faciens uvam, appropinquat: paritura venit lætitiæ vinum scaturiens et nos bibere faciens ipsi canentes: Deus noster, benedictus es!

Myrotheca divina, intus myrum ferens graditur, ut in spelunca Bethlehem effundat illud a quo mystico replentur odore canentes: Deus patrum, benedictus es!

Forceps quam olim vidit Isaias propheta, divinum carbonem Christum in utero geris omnem materiam peccati comburentem, fideliumque animas illuminantem.

Finem habuerunt prophetarum præconia; quem enim praenuntiarunt in temporis plenitudine venturum, adest, apparet casta ex Virgine corporatus; illum puris mentibus excipiamus.

Cave of Bethlehem, be ready, for here comes the Mother bearing Christ, her Lamb, in her womb; and thou, O crib, receive him who delivers us mortals by his word ineffably; ye shepherds, keeping your nightwatch, tell the wondrous miracle; ye Magi, from Persia, bring to the King gold, incense, and myrrh; for the Lord hath appeared, born of a Virgin Mother; before him she herself falls down, and though his Mother, yet adores him as his lowly handmaid, and then taking him into her arms, she says unto him: O my Saviour, my God, how is it that thou camest unto me, and wast produced in me?

Hear, O ye heavens, and thou, O earth, attend: the Son and Word of God the Father is to be born of a Virgin that knows not man, and travails not when giving him birth, for all is by the power of the Holy Ghost. Bethlehem, be ready! Eden, open thy gates! for he that Is is made what he was not, and he that formed all creatures receives himself a created form, bringing to the world plentiful mercy.

O thou that art immense by Nature, O Christ our Ring, how shall a little cave receive thee? How shall a crib contain thee, O Jesus, Son of a spotless Virgin, making thyself a stranger in thine own house, that thou mayst give salvation to them that harbour thee?

Thou art a new heaven, O Lady! Hasten to make arise from thy womb, as from a cloud, Christ, the Sun of glory; may he appear in the flesh, in the cave, shedding thence to the ends of the world his dazzling splendour by his immense mercy.

Thou knowest, O merciful Jesus, our pains and misery, and thou despisest us not; but emptiest thyself even before leaving thy Mother’s virginal womb, where thou hast set thy tabernacle; this thy Mother will not travail in giving thee birth in the cave, thee who art made flesh.

Mountains and hills, valleys and plains, peoples and tribes, nations and every spirit, sing the song of victory! the fullness of a divine joy is coming, and all are to be redeemed, for the Word of God, who is beyond all time, is now made in time.

Now is coming towards us the heavenly vine, on which has ripened the immortal fruit; she comes to produco for us the wine of Joy, of which she will give us to drink: we will then sing to him, Blessed art thou our God!

There is advancing the vessel bearing the divine perfume, and she will place it in the cave of Bethlehem, and we, filled with the mystic fragrance, will sing, Blessed art thou, O God of our fathers!

Thou, O Mary, art like that instrument which Isaias saw of old, holding in thy womb the Christ, who, like a burning coal, will consume all the dross of sin, and will enlighten the minds of the faithful.

The songs of the prophets are hushed; for he, whom they announced as having to come in the fullness of time, is present and appears to us, having assumed a body from the chaste Virgin; let us receive him with pure hearts.

 


Prayer from the Mozarabic Missal
(Second Sunday of Advent)

Jucundatur, Domine, et tripudiat terra; quia Verbum caro factum habitat in sacrae Virginis membra. In cujus adventu omnis de captivitate redimitur terra; quae detinebatur per transgressionem Adæ in obscurata gehenna. Nunc moveatur mare, et omnia quae in eo sunt; montes exsultent et omnia ligna silvarum; quia Deus homo dignatur, per uterum beatae Virginis Mariae, de cœlo in mundum venire. Per ipsius igitur adventum te deprecamur, omnipotens Deus, ut nostræ camis fragilitatem a vinoulis peccatorum absolvas, et praesenti familiae tuæ misericordia plenus occurras.

The earth is glad, O Lord, and leaps with joy, for that the Word made flesh dwells in the womb of the holy Virgin. At his coming, the whole earth is ransomed from captivity, after having been kept, by Adam’s sin, in a dark prison. Now let the sea be moved, and all things that are therein; let the mountains leap with joy, and all the trees of the forests; because God, having become man, has deigned to come, through the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary, from heaven into this world. By this his coming, therefore, we beseech thee, O almighty God, that thou loose the weakness of our flesh from the bonds of sin, and come, in thy overflowing mercy, to the assistance of this thy family here present before thee.


 

 

[1] Third Sermon for Advent.

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Regem venturum Dominum, venite, adoremus.

De Isaia Propheta.

Cap
. xiv.

Prope est ut veniat tempus ejus, et dies ejus non elongabuntur. Miserebitur enim Dominus Jacob, et eliget adhuc de Israel, et requiescere eos faciet super humum suam: adjungetur advena ad eos, et adhærebit domui Jacob. Et tenebunt eos populi, et adducent eos in locum suum: et possidebit eos domus Israel super terram Domini in servos et ancillas: et erunt capientes eos qui se ceperant, et subjicient exactores suos. Et erit in die illa, cum requiem dederit tibi Deus a labore tuo et a concussione tua, et a servitute dura, qua ante servisti: sumes parabolam istam contra regem Babylonis, et dices: Quomodo cessavit exactor, quievit tributum? Contrivit Dominus baculum impiorum, virgam dominantium, cædentem populos in indignatione, plaga insanabili, subjicientem in furore Gentes, persequentem crudeliter. Quomodo cecidisti de cœlo, Lucifer, qui mane oriebaris? corruisti in terrain, qui vulnerabas gentes: qui dicebas in corde tuo: In cœlum conscendam;super astra Dei exaltabo solium meum, sedebo in monte testamenti, in lateribus aquilonis: ascendam super altitudinem nubium, similis ero Altissimo. Verumtamen ad infernum detraheris in profundum laci.
Come, let us adore the King our Lord, who is to come.

From the Prophet Isaias.

Ch. xiv.

Her time is near at hand, and her days shall not bo prolonged. For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose out of Israel, and will make them rest upon their own ground: and the stranger shall bo joined with them, and shall adhere to the house of Jacob. And the peoplo shall take them, and bring them into their place: and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the Lord for servants and handmaids: and they shall make them captives that had taken them, and shall subdue their oppressors. And it shall come to pass in that day, that when God shall give thee rest from thy labour, and from thy vexation, and from the hard bondage, wherewith thou didst serve before, thou shalt take up this parable against the king of Babylon, and shalt say: How is the oppressor come to nothing? the tribute hath ceased? The Lord hath broken the staff of the wicked, the rod of the rulers, that struck the people in wrath with an incurable wound, that brought nations under in fury, that persecuted in a cruel manner. How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, who didst rise in the morning? how art thou fallen to the earth, that didst wound the nations? And thou saidst in thy heart: I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, I will sit in the mountain of the covenant, in the sides of the north: I will ascend above the height of the clouds, I will be like the Most High. But yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, into the depth of the pit.

Thy ruin, O Lucifer, is irreparable! Thou refusedst to humble thyself before God, and thou wast cast into hell. Thy pride then sought a compensation for this thy deep humiliation, and thou causedst the ruin of the human race, out of hatred for God and His creatures. Thou didst succeed in inspiring him, who was formed out of dust, with that same pride which had caused thine own destruction. By thee sin came into this world, and by sin death: the human race seemed now a victim which never could escape thy vengeance. Forced to give up thy hopes of a heavenly royalty, thou aimedst at reigning in hell and destroying the creatures of God as they came from His creating love. But again thou art foiled and conquered. Thy reign was in pride; pride alone could form thy court and give thee subjects; now, see how the sovereign Lord of all things uproots thy kingdom: He Himself comes to teach His creatures humility; and He teaches it, not by laws given with awful majesty, as once on Sinai, but by Himself meekly practising that heavenly humility, which alone can raise up them that had fallen by pride. Tremble, proud spirit, thy sceptre is to be broken!

In thy haughty wisdom, thou disdainest this humble and lowly Virgin of Nazareth, who holds within herself, in adoring silence, the mystery of thy ruin and our salvation. The Child whom she carries in her womb, and who is so soon to be born, has long since been the object of thy contempt. Know, then, that God does not disdain this unborn Child, for this Child is also God! And a single act of adoration and devotedness to His Father, which He is making in the womb of Mary, gives more glory to the Divinity than all thy pride could rob it of, even were thy pride to increase for eternity. Henceforth, men, taught by the lessons of a God the immense power of humility, will have recourse to it as their great remedy. Instead of exalting themselves, as thou didst, by a mad and guilty pride, they will humble themselves with love and pleasure: the lower they humble themselves, the higher will God raise them: the poorer they own themselves, the richer will He make them. It is the glorious Virgin that tells us this in her exquisite canticle. May she be ever blessed, Mother so gentle and sweet to her children, and so terrible to thee, Lucifer! that writhest beneath her as she crushes and conquers thee.

Prose for the Time of Advent
(Composed in the eleventh century, and taken from the ancient Roman-French missals)

Regnantem sempiterna per sæcla susceptura

Concio, devote concrepa: Factori redde debita.

Quem jubilant agmina cœlica, ejus vultu exhilarata.

Quem exspectant omnia terrea, ejus vultu examinanda,

Districtum ad judicia, Clementem in potentia.

Tua nos salva, Christe, clementia propter quos passus es dira.

Ad poli astra subleva nitida: qui sorde tergis sæcula.

Influens salus vera, effuga pericula.

Omnia ut sint munda, tribue pacifica.

Ut hio tua salvi misericordia: læti regna post adeamus supera.

Qui regnas sæcula por infinita.

Amen.

Ready to receive him who reigneth for ever and ever,

Devoutly sing, O Christian people; pay thy homage to thy Creator.

The heavenly hosts, who enjoy the beauty of his countenance, are ever praising him in jubilation.

All earthly things, which are to be examined before his face, are in expectation of him.

Him so severe in judgement, So merciful in power.

Save us in thy mercy, O Christ, for whom thou didst suffer so cruel a passion.

Raise us up to the bright stars of heaven, O thou that dost take away the sins of the earth.

True Saviour, descending as dew upon us, drive all dangers from us.

Purify all that is about us, make all in peace;

That here protected by thy mercy, we may ascend, hereafter, into the kingdom of heaven in gladness.

Who livest and reignest for endless ages.

Amen.

 


Prayer from the Gallican Sacramentary
(Mass for Christmas Eve)

Misericors ao piissime Deus, cujus voluntate ac munere Dominus noster Jesus Christus ad hoc se humiliavit, ut totum genus exaltaret humanum, et ideo ad ima descenderet, ut humilia sublimaret: ac propterea Deus homo nascitur por Virginem, ut in homine perditam cœlestem reformaret imaginem: da ut plebs hæc tibi adhæreat, ut quam redemisti tuo munere, tibi semper devota placeat servitute.

O merciful and most loving God, by whose will and bounty our Lord Jesus Christ humbled himself that he might exalt the whole human race, and came down to what was lowest that ho might raise up the humble: who, being God, did become man, born of a Virgin, to the end that he might re-form in man the heavenly imago that had been corrupted; grant that this thy people may cling to thee, and that they, whom thou hast redeemed by thy bounty, may ever please thee by devoted service.