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First Week of Advent

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

This Sunday, the first of the ecclesiastical year, is called, in the chronicles and charts of the middle ages, Ad te levavi Sunday, from the first words of the Introit; or, Aspiciens longe, from the first words of one of the responsories of Matins.

The Station[1] is at St. Mary Major’s. It is under the auspices of Mary—in the splendid basilica which possesses the crib of Bethlehem, and is therefore called, in ancient documents, St. Mary’s ad Præsepe—that the Roman Church recommences, each year, the sacred cycle. It would have been impossible to select a place more suitable than this for saluting the approach of the divine birth, which is to gladden heaven and earth, and manifest the sublime portent of a Virgin Mother. Let us go in spirit to this august temple, and unite in the prayers which are there being offered up: they are the very ones we also use, and which we will now explain.

In the night Office, the Church commences the reading of the Book of Isaias, who, of all the Prophets, has the most distinctly and explicitly foretold the Messias; and she continues this same Book until Christmas day inclusively. Let us strive to enter into the teaching of the holy prophet, and let the eye of our faith affectionately recognize the promised Saviour in the descriptions, sometimes consoling and sometimes terrifying, under which Isaias depicts Him.

The first words of the Church, in the still midnight, are these:

Regem venturum Dominum, venite, adoremus.
Come, let us adore the King our Lord, who is to come.

This first duty of adoration complied with, let us listen to the oracle of the prophet Isaias, delivered to us by the holy Church.  

Incipit liber Isaiæ Prophetæ.

Cap.
 i

Visio Isaiæ filii Amos, quam vidit super Judam et Jerusalem, in diebus Oziæ, Joathan, Aohaz, et Ezechiæ regum Juda. Audite, cœli, et auribus percipe, terra; quoniam Dominus locutus est: Filios enutrivi et exaltavi: ipsi autem spreverunt me. Cognovit bos possessorem suum, et asinus præsepe Domini sui: Israel autem me non cognovit, et populus meus non intellexit. Væ genti peccatrici, populo gravi iniquitate, semini nequam, filiis sceleratis. Dereliquerunt Dominum, blasphemaverunt Sanctum Israel, abalienati sunt retrorsum. Super quo percutiam vos ultra, addentes praevaricationem? Omne caput languidum, et omne cor mærens. A planta pedis usque ad verticem non est in eo sanitas: vulnus, et livor et plaga tumens, non est circumligata, nec curata medicamine, neque fota oleo. 
Beginning of the Book of the Prophet Isaias.

Ch. i.

The vision of Isaias, the son of Amos, which he saw concerning Juda and Jerusalem, in the days of Ozias, Joathan, Achaz, and Ezechias, kings of Juda. Hear, O ye heavens, and give ear, O earth, for the Lord hath spoken: I have brought up children, and exalted them: but they have despised me. The ox knoweth his owner, and the ass his master’s crib: but Israel hath not known me, and my people hath not understood. Woe to the sinful nation, a people laden with iniquity, a wicked seed, ungracious children. They have forsaken the Lord, they have blasphemed the holy One of Israel, they are gone away backwards. For what shall I strike you any more, you that increase transgression? The whole head is sick, and the whole heart is sad. From the sole of the foot unto the top of the head, there is no soundness therein; wounds, and bruises, and swelling sores; they are not bound up, nor dressed, nor fomented with oil.

 


These words of the holy prophet, or rather of God who speaks to us by the prophet, should make a deep impression on the children of the Church, at this opening of the holy period of Advent. Who could hear without trembling this voice of our Lord, who is despised and unknown even at the very time when He is coming to visit His people? Lest men should be terrified at the splendour of His majesty, He divested Himself of it; and far from acknowledging the divine power of Him who thus humbled Himself out of love to them, these men have refused even to know Him; and the crib where He lay after His birth, had, at first, but two dumb animals to honour or notice it. Do you feel, Christians, how just are the complaints which your God here makes? And how your indifference for all His love is an insult? He calls heaven and earth to witness; He utters anathema against the sinful nation, His ungrateful children. Let us honestly confess that we, too, have not known the value of our Jesus’ visit to us, and that we have but too faithfully imitated the obduracy of the Jews, who heeded not the bright light when it burst upon their darkness. In vain did the angels sing on that December night; in vain did shepherds receive and welcome the invitation to adore the Babe and know Him; in vain did the Magi come from the east, asking where they were to find the crib of the King that was born. At this last example, the city of Jerusalem was somewhat moved; but the astonishment was only for a moment, and the old indifference soon stifled the good tidings.

Thus it is, O Jesus, that Thou comest unto darkness, and darkness does not comprehend Thee. We beseech Thee, let our darkness comprehend the light, and desire it. The day will come when Thou wilt disperse the spiritual and voluntary darkness of men by the awful light of Thy justice. Thy glory, O sovereign Judge, will be magnificent on that day, and we love to think upon Thy having it: but during these days of our life on earth, deliver us from Thy wrath. We are one great wound from the sole of the foot unto the top of the head; Thou knowest not where to strike: be, then, a Saviour, O Jesus, in this coming, for which we are now preparing. The whole head is sickand the whole heart is sad: come, and raise up this head which shame and vile passions bow down to the earth. Come, and comfort this heart oppressed with sin and fear. We confess it, our wounds are deep and sore; come, thou good Samaritan, pour in Thy soothing oil and heal them.

The whole world is in expectation of its Redeemer; come, dear Jesus, show Thyself to it by granting it salvation. The Church, Thy bride, is now commencing another year, and her first word is to Thee, a word which she speaks in the anxious solicitude of a mother for the safety of her children; she cries out to Thee, saying: ‘Come!’ No, we will go no farther in our journey through the desert of this life without Thee, O Jesus! Time is passing quickly away from us; our day is perhaps far spent, and the shades of our life’s night are fast coming on; arise, O divine Sun of justice. Come! guide our steps and save us from eternal death.

The Mass

The Introit

While the priest is approaching the altar, there to offer up the holy sacrifice, the Church opens her chants by this beautiful one, which so well expresses her confidence as the beloved bride of Jesus. Let us repeat it together with her, and let the heart be in harmony with our voice, for the Saviour comes to each of us in proportion to the earnestness of our longing for Him.

Ad te levavi animam meam: Deus meus, in te confido, non erubescam; neque irrideant me inimici mei, etenim universi qui te exspectant non confundentur.


Ps. Vias tuas, Domine, demonstra mihi: et semitas tuas edoce me.

V. Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui sancto. Sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Repeat: Ad te levavi.
To thee have I lifted up my soul: in thee, O my God, I put my trust, let me not be ashamed: neither let my enemies laugh at me: for none of them that wait on thee shall be confounded.

Ps. Show, O Lord, thy ways to me, and teach me thy paths.

V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Repeat: To thee.

Collect

After the Kyrie eleison, the priest embodies in the following prayers, called on that account the Collects, all the desires and petitions of the Church for this first Sunday:

Excita, quæsumus, Domine, potentiam tuam et veni; ut ab imminentibus peccatorum nostrorum periculis, te mereamur protegente eripi, te liberante salvari. Qui vivis et regnas, Deus, per omnia saecula sæculorum.

R.Amen.

Exert, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy power and come; that by thy protection we may be freed from the imminent dangers of our sins, and be saved by thy mercy; who livest and reignest God, world without end.

R.Amen.

In honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary

It is right that we should also beg, during this holy season, the all-powerful mediation of her who, at first, was the sole depositary of the great secret which was to give life to the world. Let us then say with the priest:

Deus, qui de beatæ Mariæ Virginis utero, Verbum tuum, angelo nuntiante, carnem suscipere voluisti; præsta supplicibus tuis, ut qui vere eam Genitricem Dei credimus, ejus apud te intercessionibus adjuvemur.
O God, who wast pleased that thy Word, when the angel delivered his message, should take flesh in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary; give ear to our humble petitions, and grant that we who believe her to be truly the Mother of God, may be helped by her prayers.

To this is immediately added one of the following prayers:

Against the persecutors of the Church

Ecclesiae tuæ, quæsumus, Domine, preces placatus admitte: ut, destructis adversitatibus et erroribus universis, secura tibi serviat libertate. Per Dominum.
Mercifully hear, we beseech thee, O Lord, the prayers of the Church: that, all oppositions and errors being removed, she may servo thee with a secure liberty. Through, &c.

For the Pope

Deus, omnium fidelium Pastor et Rector, famulum tuum N. quem pastorem Ecclesiæ tuæ præesse voluisti, propitius respice: da ei, quæsumus, verbo ot exemplo, quibus præest, proficere: ut ad vitam, una cum grege sibi credito, perveniat sompiternam. Per Dominum. 
O God, the Pastor and Ruler of all the faithful, look down, in thy mercy, on thy servant N., whom thou hast appointed Pastor over thy Church; and grant, we beseech thee, that both by word and example, he may edify all those that are under his charge; and with the flock entrusted to him, arrive at length at eternal happiness. Through, &c.

Epistle 

Lectio Epistolæ beati Pauli Apostoli ad Romanos.

Cap. xiii.

Fratres, scientes quia hora est jam nos de somno surgere. Nunoenim propior est nostra salus, quam cum credidimus. Nox præcessit, dies autem appropinquavit. Abjiciamus ergo opera tenebrarum, et induamur arma lucis. Sicut in die honeste ambulemus: non in comessationibus et ebrietatibus, non in cubilibus et impudicitiis, non in contentione et æmulatione: sed induimini Dominum Jesum Christum.
Lesson of the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Romans.

Ch. xiii.

Brethren, know that it is now the hour for us to rise from sleep. For now our salvation is nearer than when we believed. The night is passed, and the day is at hand. Let us therefore east off the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day: not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and impurities, not in contention and envy: but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Saviour, then, who is coming to us is the clothing which we are to put on over our spiritual nakedness. Here let us admire the goodness of our God, who, remembering that man hid himself after his sin, because he was naked, vouchsafes Himself to become man’s clothing, and to cover with the robe of His Divinity the misery of human nature. Let us, therefore, be on the watch for the day and the hour when He will come to us, and take precautions against the drowsiness which comes of custom and self-indulgence. The light will soon appear; may its first rays be witness of our innocence, or at least of our repentance. If our Saviour is coming to put over our sins a covering which is to hide them for ever, the least that we, on our part, can do, is to retain no further affection for those sins, else it will be said of us that we refused our salvation. The last words of this Epistle are those which caught the eye of St. Augustine, when, after a long resistance to the grace which pressed him to give himself to God, he resolved to obey the voice which said to him: ‘Tolle lege; take and read.’ They decided his conversion; he immediately resolved to abandon the worldly life he had hitherto led, and to put on Christ Jesus. Let us begin this very day, and imitate this saint. Let us long for that dear and glorious clothing with which the mercy of our heavenly Father is so soon to cover us; and let us say with the Church these touching words, which we cannot repeat too often during this time of the year:

Gradual

Universi qui te exspectant, non confundentur, Domine.

V. Vias tuas, Domine, notas fac mihi: et semitas tuas edoce me. Alleluia, alleluia.

V. Ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam: et salutare tuum da nobis. Alleluia.

None of them that wait on thee shall be confounded, O Lord.

V. Show, O Lord, thy ways to me: and teach me thy paths. Alleluia, alleluia.


V
. Show us, O Lord, thy mercy: and grant us thy salvation. Alleluia.


Gospel

Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam.

Cap. xxi.

In illo tempore: Dixit Jesus discipulis suis:Erunt signa in sole, et luna, et stellis; et in terris pressura gentium præ confusionesonitus maris et fluctuum: arescentibus hominibus præ timore et exspectatione, quæ supervenient universo orbi: nam virtutes cœlorum movebuntur; et tunc videbunt Filium hominis venientem in nube cum potestate magna et majestate. Hisautom fieri incipientibus, respicite et levate capita vestra; quoniam appropinquat redemptio vestra. Et dixit illis similitudinem: Videte ficulneam, et omnes arbores: cum producunt jam ex se fructum, scitis quoniam prope est aestas. Ita et vos cum videritis hæc fleri, scitote quoniam prope est regnum Dei. Amen dico vobis: quia non praeteribit generatio hæc, donec omnia fiant. Cœlum et terra transibunt: verba autem mea non transibunt.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Luke.

Ch. xxi.

At that time: Jesus said to his disciples: There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, by reason of the confusion of the roaring of the sea, and of the waves; men withering away for fear, and expectation of what shall come upon the whole world: for the powers of the heavens shall be moved; and then they shall see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with great power and majesty. But when these things begin to come to pass look up, and lift up your heads; because your redemption is at hand. And he spoke to them a similitude: See the fig-tree and all the trees; when they now shoot forth their fruit, you know that summer is nigh. So you also, when you shall see these things come to pass, know that the kingdom of God is at hand. Amen, I say to you, this generation shall not pass away till all things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away; but my words shall not pass away.

Thou art to come, then, O Jesus, in all the terror of the last judgement, and when men least expect Thee. In a few days Thou art coming to us to clothe our misery with the garment of Thy mercy; a garment of glory and immortality to us; but Thou art to come again on a future day, and in such dread majesty that men will wither away with fear. O my Saviour! condemn me not on that day of the world’s destruction. Visit me now in Thy love and mercy; I am resolved to prepare my soul. I desire that Thou shouldst come and be born within me, so that when the convulsions of nature warn me of Thy coming to judge me, I may lift up my head as Thou biddest Thy faithful disciples do, who, when the rest of men shall tremble at the thunder of Thy judgement, will have confidence in Thee, because they have Thee in their hearts.

Offertory

During the offering of the bread and wine, the Church, with her look steadfastly fixed on Him who is to come, keeps to her sweet canticle:

Ad te levavi animam meam: Deus meus, in te confido, non erubescam; neque irrideant me inimici mei: etenim universi, qui te exspectant, non confundentur.
To thee, OLord, have I lifted up my soul: in thee, O my God, I put my trust, let me not be ashamed; neither let my enemies laugh at me: for none of them that wait on thee shall be confounded.

Secret

After the oblation, she silently presents to God the petitions of all her children by the following prayers:

Hæc sacra nos, Domine, potenti virtute mundatos, ad suum faciant puriores venire principium. Per Dominum.
Grant, O Lord, that these sacred mysteries may cleanse us by their powerful virtue, and bring us with greater purity to him, who was the author and institutor of them. Through, &c.

In honor of the Blessed Virgin

In mentibus nostris, quæsumus, Domine, veræ fidei sacramenta confirma; ut qui conceptum de Virgine Deum verum et hominem confitemur, per ejus salutiferae Resurrectionis potentiam, ad æternam mercamur pervenire lætitiam.
Strengthen, we beseech thee, O Lord, in our souls the mysteries of the true faith: that we who confess him that was conceived of a Virgin, to be true God and true man, may, by the power of his saving Resurrection, deserve to come to eternal joys.

Against the Persecutors of the Church

Protege nos, Domine, tuis mysteriis servientes; ut divinis rebus inhærentcs, et corpore tibi famulemur et mente. Per Dominum.
Protect us, O Lord, while we assist at thy sacred mysteries: that being employed in acts of religion, we may serve thee both in body and mind. Through, &c.

For the Pope

Oblatis, quæsumus, Domine,placare muneribus: et famulum tuum N. quem Pastorem Ecclesiæ tuæ præesse voluisti, assidua protectione guberna. Per Dominum.
Be appeased, OLord, with the offering we have made: and cease not to protect thy servant N., whom thou hast been pleased to appoint Pastor over thy Church. Through, &c.

Communion

After the Communion of the priest and people, the choir sings these beautiful words of David in praise of the sweetness of the divine Fruit, whom our earthis going to bring forth, and who has just given Himself, by anticipation, to His faithful servants. This earth, which is ours, and which, as the prophet Isaias says, opens and buds forth the Saviour, is the blessed Virgin Mary made fruitful by the dew of heaven.

Dominus dabit benignitatem: et terra nostra dabit fructum suum.
The Lord will give his goodness: and our earth shall yield her fruit.

Postcommunion

Then follow the concluding prayers of thanksgiving.

Suscipiamus, Domine, misericordiam tuam in medio templi tui: ut reparationis nostræ ventura solemnia congruis honoribus præcedamus. Per Dominum.
May we receive, O Lord, thy mercy in the midst of thy temple: that with due honour we may prepare for the approaching solemnity of our reparation. Through, &c.

In honor of the Blessed Virgin

Gratiam tuam, quæsumus, Domine, mentibus nostris infunde, ut qui, angelo nuntiante, Christi Filii tui Incarnationem cognovimus, per Passionem ejus et crucem ad Resurrectionis gloriam perducamur.

Pour forth, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy grace into our hearts, that we to whom the Incarnation of Christ thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may, by his Passion and cross, be brought to the glory of his Resurrection.

Against the Persecutors of the Church

Quæsumus, Domine Deus noster: ut quos divina tribuis participatione gaudere, humanis non sinas subjacere periculis. 
We beseech thee, OLord our God, not to leave exposed to the dangers of human life those whom thou hast permitted to partake of these. 

For the Pope

Hæc nos, quæsumus Domine,divini sacramenti perceptio protegat: et famulum tuum N. quem Pastorem Ecclesiæ tuæ præesse voluisti, una cum commisso sibi grege salvet semper et muniat. Per Dominum.
May the participation of this divine Sacrament protect us, we beseech thee, O Lord; and always procure safety and defence to thy servant N., whom thou hast appointed Pastor over thy Church, together with the flock committed to his charge. Through, &c.

Vespers

The psalms of the Sunday are given above, page 101. The choir chants, with each psalm, one of the five following antiphons:


1. Ant. In illa die stillabunt montes dulcedinem, et colles fluent lac et mel, alleluia.
2. Ant. Jucundare filia Sion, et exsulta satis, filia Jerusalem, alleluia.
3. Ant. Ecce Dominus veniet, et omnes sancti ejus eum eo: et erit in die illa lux magna, alleluia.
4. Ant. Omnes sitientes, venite ad aquas: quaerite Dominum, dum inveniri potest, alleluia.
5. Ant. Ecce veniet Propheta magnus, et ipse renovabit Jerusalem, alleluia.
1. Ant. On that day the mountains shall drop sweetness, and the hills shall flow with milk and honey, alleluia.
2. Ant. Be glad, O daughter of Sion; and rejoice exceedingly, O daughter of Jerusalem, alleluia.
3. Ant. Behold the Lord will come, and all his saints with him: and there shall be a great light on that day, alleluia.
4. Ant. O all you that thirst, come to the waters: seek the Lord, while he may be found, alleluia.
5. Ant. Behold the great Prophet will come, and he himself will renew Jerusalem, alleluia.

Chapter

Fratres, hora est jam nos de somno surgere. Nunc enim propior est nostra salus, quam cum credidimus.
Brethren, it is now the hour for us to rise from sleep. For now our salvation is nearer than when we believed.

The hymn, Creator alme siderum, the verse Rorate and the canticle Magnificat, are given on pages 107 and 109.

Antiphon of the Magnificat

Ne timeas, Maria; invenisti enim gratiam apud Dominum: ecce concipies, et paries Filium, alleluia.
Fear not, Mary; for thou hast found favour with the Lord: behold thou shalt conceive, and bring forth a Son, alleluia.

Collect

Excita, quæsumus, Domine, potentiam tuam et veni: ut ab imminentibus peccatorum nostrorum periculis, te mereamur protegente eripi, te liberante salvari. Qui vivis ét regnas cum Deo Patre in unitate Spiritus sancti Deus, per omnia sæcula sæculorum. R. Amen.
Exert, we beseech thee, O Lord, thy power and come; that by thy protection we may be freed from the imminent dangers of our sins, and be saved by thy mercy. Who livest and reignest with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.

[1] The Stations marked in the Roman missal for certain days in the year, were formerly processions, in which the whole clergy and people went to some given church, and there celebrated the Office and Mass. This usage, which dates from the earliest period of the Roman Church, and of which St. Gregory the Great was but the restorer, still exists, at least in a measure; for the Stations are still observed, though with less solemnity and concourse of people, on all the days specified in the missal.

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Regem venturum Dominum, venite, adoremus.

De Isaia Propheta.

Cap. i.

Lavamini, mundi estote, auferte malum cogitationum vestrarum ab oculis meis: quiescite agere perverse, discite benefacere: quaerite judicium, subvenite oppresso, judicate pupillo, detendite viduam. Et venite, et arguite me, dicit Dominus. Si fuerint peccata vestra ut coccinum, quasi nix dealbabuntur: et si fuerint rubra quasi vermiculus, velut lana alba erunt.
Come, let us adore the King our Lord, who is to come.

From the Prophet Isaias.

Ch. i.

Wash yourselves, be clean, take away the evil of your devices from my eyes: cease to do perversely, learn to do well; seek judgement, relieve the oppressed, judge for the fatherless, defend the widow. And then come, and accuse me, saith the Lord. If your sins be as scarlet, they shall be made as white as snow; and if they be red as crimson, they shall be white as wool.

The Saviour, who is so soon to be with us and to save us, warns us not only to prepare ourselves to appear before Him, but also to purify our souls. ‘It is most just,’ says St. Bernard, ‘that the soul, which was the first to fall, should be the first to rise. Let us therefore defer caring for the body, until the day when Jesus Christ will come and reform it by the Resurrection; for, in the first coming, the Precursor says to us: “Behold the Lamb of God, who taketh away the sins of the world.” Observe, he says not the maladies of the body, nor the miseries of the flesh; he says sins, which are the malady of the soul, and the corruption of the spirit. Take heed, then, thou my body, and wait for thy turn and time. Thou canst hinder the salvation of the soul, and thine own safety is not within thy reach. Let the soul labour for herself, and strive thou too to help her, for if thou sharest in her sufferings thou wilt share in her glory. Retard her perfection, and thou retardest thine own. Thou wilt not be regenerated until God sees His own image restored in the soul.’[1] Let us, then, purify our souls. Let us do the works of the spirit, not the deeds of the flesh. Our Saviour’s promise is most clear; He will turn the deep dye of our iniquities into the purest whiteness. He asks but one thing of us: that we sin no more. He says to us: ‘Cease to do perverselyand then come and accuse Me, come and complain against Me, if I do not cleanse you.’ O Jesus! we will not defer a single day of this holy season; we accept, from this moment, the conditions Thou offerest us. We sincerely desire to make our peace with Thee; to bring the flesh into subjection to our spirit, to make good all the injustice we have committed against our neighbour, and to hush, by the sighs of our heart-felt compunction, that voice of our sins which has so long cried to Thee for vengeance.

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

Salus æterna, indeficiens mundi vita. 

Lux sempiterna, et redemptio vera nostra.
Condolens humana perire sæcla per tentantis numina.

Non linquens excelsa, adisti ima propria elementia.

Mox tua spontanea gratia assumens humana,

Quae fuerant perdita omnia, salvasti terrea.
Ferens mundo gaudia.
Tu animas et corpora nostra, Christe, expia,
Ut possideas lucida nosmet habitacula.
Adventu primo justifica.
In secundo nosque libera;
Ut cum facta luce magna, judicabis omnia,

Compti stola incorrupta, nosmet tua subsequamur mox vestigia quocumque visa. Amen. 
Thou our eternal salvation, the never-failing light of the world.

Light everlasting and our true redemption.
Moved with compassion to see the human race perish by its idolatry offered to its very tempter.
Thou didst descend to these depths of our misery, yet not leaving thine own high throne above.
Then, by thy own gratuitous love, assuming our human nature,

Thou didst save all on earth that was lost,
Giving joy to this world.
Come, O Christ, purify our souls and bodies.
And make them thy own pure abode.
Justify us by thy first coming.
And in thy second, deliver us;
That so, when thou judgest all things, on the day of the great light,

We may be adorned with a spotless robe, and may follow thy footsteps wheresoever they are seen. Amen.

Prayer from the Ambrosian Breviary

(Second Sunday of Advent)

Dona, quæsumus, omnipotens Deus, cunctae familiae tuæ hanc voluntatem, Christo Filio tuo, Domino nostro venienti, in operibus justis apte occurrere: ut ejus dexterae sociati, regnum mereamur possidere  cœleste. Per eumdem Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
O almighty God! grant, we beseech thee, unto all this thy family, the desire of meeting, by good works, thy Son, Christ our Lord, who is coming to us; that being placed on his right hand, we may deserve the possession of the heavenly kingdom. Through the same Christ our Lord. Amen.

[1] Sixth Sermon of Advent.

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Regem venturum Dominum, venite, adoremus. 

De Isaia Propheta.

Cap
. ii.

Verbum, quod vidit Isaias filius Amos, super Juda et Jerusalem. Et erit in novissimis diebus praeparatus mons domus Domini in vertice montium, et elevabitur super colles: et fluent ad eum omnes Gentes. Et ibunt populi multi, et dicent: Venite, et ascendamus ad montem Domini et ad domum Dei Jacob: et docebit nos vias suas: et ambulabimus in semitis ejus, quia de Sion exibit lex, et verbum Domini de Jerusalem.
Come, let us adore the King our Lord, who is to come.

From the Prophet Isaias.

Ch. ii.

The word that Isaias the son of Amos saw concerning Juda and Jerusalem. And in the last days the mountain of the house of the Lord shall be prepared on the top of mountains, and it shall be exalted above the hills: and all nations shall flow unto it. And many people shall go and say: Come and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, and to the house of the God of Jacob: and he will teach us his ways: and we will walk in his paths, for the law shall come forth from Sion, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.

How the Church loves to hear and say these grand words of the prophet: Come, let us go up to the mountain of the Lord! She repeats them in the Lauds of every feria in Advent; and her children bless the Lord, who, that we might have no difficulty in finding Him, has made Himself like to a high mountain; high, indeed, yet can we all ascend it. It is true that, at first, this mountain is, as we learn from another prophet, a small stone which is scarcely perceptible, and this to show the humility of the Messias at His birth; but it soon becomes great, and all people see it, and are invited to dwell on its fertile slopes, yea, to go up to its very summit, bright with the rays of the Sun of justice. It is thus, O Jesus, that Thou callest us all, and that Thou approachest towards all, and the greatness and sublimity of Thy mysteries are put within the reach of our littleness. We desire to join, without delay, that happy multitude of people which is journeying on towards Thee; we are already with them; we are resolved to fix our tent under Thy shadow, O Mountain ever blessed! There shelter us, and let us be out of reach of the noise of the world beneath us. Suffer us to go so far up, that we may lose all sight of that same world’s vanities. May we never forget those paths which lead even to the blissful summit, where the mountain, the figure, disappears, and the soul finds herself face to face with Him, whose vision eternally keeps the angels in rapture, and whose delight is to be with the children of men![1]

HYMN FOR THE TIME OF ADVENT
(Composed in the ninth centuryand taken from the hymnarium of B. Joseph-Maria Tommasi)

Sol, astra, terra, æquora, Adventum Dei altissimi, Prolem excelsi germinis, Dives et inops concrepent:

Olim promissum patribus Partum puellæ inclytum, Natum ante luciferum,

Dei potentis Filium.

Venturum Regora gloriæ, Deum regnare regibus;

Hostem calcare improbum, Mundum sanare languidum.

Lætentur simul angeli, Omnes exsultent populi: Excelsus venit humilis, Salvare quod perierat.

Deus et homo oritur, Sanctaque regnat Trinitas; Coævus Patri Filius,

Terris descendit Dominus.

Clament prophetæ et prophetent:

Emmanuel jam prope est; Mutorum linguæ jam sonent, Claudi in occursum pergite.

Agnus et fera bestia Simul manducent paleas: Agnoscat bos et asinus Jacentem in præsepio.

Signum regale emicans Sacrum praecedit verticem; Regali nato nobili,

Reges parate munera.

O quam beatum nuntium Virgo Maria audiit! Credendo mater foeta fit,

Et virgo virum nesciit.

Omnes gentes et insulæ, Magnum triumphum plaudite,

Cursu cervorum currite:

Redemptor ecce jam venit.

Discant caecorum oculi, Clauso sedentes lumine, Noctis tenebras solvero, Lumen verum percipere.

Gens Galilæa et Græcia Credat, Persa et India: Dignando Deus homo fit, Et Verbum cum Patre manet.

Laus, honor, virtus, gloria, Deo Patri, et Filio,

Una cum sancto Spiritu,

In sempiterna sæcula.

Amen.
May the sun, and stars, and land, and sea, sound forth the coming of the most high God: may the rich and poor unite their songs of praise to the Son of the supreme Creator!

He is the Saviour promised to our fathers; the glorious offspring of a Virgin:

the Son of the mighty God bom of him before the morning star.

He is the King of glory, and is coming to rule as God over kings,

trample our wicked enemy beneath his feet, and heal this sick world of ours.

Let the angels rejoice, let all nations exult; he that is high is coming in lowliness to save what had been lost.
A God-Man is bom, and the holy Trinity reigns; the Son co-eternal with the Father,

our Lord, descends upon our earth.

Let the prophets cry out, and prophesy:

Emmanuel is nigh unto us. Let the tongues of the dumb speak, and ye, poor lame ones, run to meet him.
Let the lamb and the wild beast feed with each other: let the ox and the ass know him that lies in the manger.
The royal glittering standard ushers in our divine Chief:

ye kings prepare your gifts for the nome and royal Babe.

O the blessed message sent to the Virgin Mary! By believing she conceives; she is a Mother,

and a Virgin knowing not man.

All ye nations and islands applaud this grand triumph.

Run swiftly as the stag,

lo! the Redeemer is coming.

Let the eyes of the blind, who have been sitting in darkness, now learn to throw off the murky night, and open to the true light.

Let Galilee, and Greece, and Persia, and India, receive the faith: a God deigns to become man, and remains the Word with the Father.

Praise, honour, power, glory, be to God the Father, and to the Son,

together with the Holy Ghost,

for eternal ages.

Amen.

PRAYER FROM THE GALLICAN MISSAL

(In Adventu DominiContestatio)

Deus, cui proprium est ac singulare, quod bonus es, et nulla unquam a te es commutatione diversus; propitiare supplicationibus nostris; et Ecclesiæ tuæ misericordiam tuam, quam confitemur, ostende, manifestans plebi tuæ Unigeniti tui mirabile Sacramentum: ut universitate nationum perficiatur, quod per Verbi tui Evangelium promisisti; et habeat plenitudo adoptionis, quod praetulit testificatio veritatis. Per Christum Dominum nostrum. Amen.
O God, whose nature and property is goodness, and with whom there is no change, be propitious to our prayers, and show to thy Church that mercy of thine which we confess; show to thy people the wonderful mystery of thy only-begotten Son; that thus, what thou hast promised by the Gospel of thy Word, may be fulfilled by all nations coming to the faith, and the testimony of truth may be verified by the completion of adoption. Through Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

[1]Prov. viii. 31.

 

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Regem venturum Dominum, venite, adoremus. 

De Isaia Propheta.

Cap
. iii.

Ecce enim dominator Dominus exercituum auferet a Jerusalem et a Juda validum et fortem, omne robur panis, et omne robur aquæ; fortem, et virum bellatorem, judicem, et prophetam, et ariolum, et senem: principem super quinquaginta, et honorabilem vultu, et consiliarium, et sapientem de architectis, et prudentem eloquii mystici. Et dabo pueros principes eorum; et effœminati dominabuntur eis. Ruit enim Jerusalem, et Judas concidit, quia lingua eorum et adinventiones eorum contra Dominum, ut provocarent oculos majestatis ejus. Agnitio vultus eorum respondit eis, et peccatum suum quasi Sodoma prædicaverunt, nec absconderunt. Væ animæ eorum, quoniam reddita sunt eis mala! Dicite justo quoniam bene, quoniam fructum adinventionum suarum comedet. Væ impio in malum! retributio enim manuum ejus fiet ei.
Come, let us adore the King our Lord, who is to come.

From the Prophet Isaias.

Ch. iii.

For behold the sovereign the Lord of hosts shall take away from Jerusalem and from Juda the valiant and the strong, the whole strength of bread, and the whole strength of water; the strong man, and the man of war, the judge and the prophet, and the cunning man, and the ancient, the captain over fifty, and the honourable in countenance, and the counsellor, and the architect, and the skilful in eloquent speech. And I will give children to be their princes; and the effeminate shall rule over them. For Jerusalem is ruined, and Juda is fallen, because their tongue and their devices are against the Lord, to provoke the eyes of his majesty. The show of their countenance hath answered them, and they have proclaimed abroad their sin as Sodom, and they have not hid it. Woe to their souls, for evils are rendered to them! Say to the just man that it is well, for he shall eat the fruit of his doings. Woe to the wicked unto evil! for the reward of his hands shall be given him.

Jerusalem is tending to her destruction; therefore she is losing all power, and, with the rest, the power of understanding. She no longer knows whither she is going, and she sees not the abyss into which she is plunging. Such are all those men, who never give a thought to the coming of the sovereign Judge; they are men of whom Moses said in his canticle: ‘They are a nation without counsel and without wisdom. O that they would be wise and would understand, and would provide for their last end!’ The Son of God comes now in the swaddling-clothes of a weak Babe, in the humility of a servant, and, to speak with the prophets, as the dew which falls softly drop by drop; but it will not always be so. This earth also, which now is the scene of our sins and our hardheartedness, will perish before the face of the angry Judge; and if we have made it the one object of our love, to what shall we then cling? ‘A sudden death which has happened in your presence,’ says St. John Chrysostom, ‘or an earthquake, or the bare threat of some dire calamity, terrifies and prostrates you: what then shall it be when the whole earth shall sink beneath your feet; when you shall see all nature in disorder; when you shall hear the sound of the last trumpet; when the sovereign Master of the universe shall appear before you in the fulness of His majesty? Perchance you have seen criminals dragged to punishment: did they not seem to die twenty times before they reached the place of execution, and before the executioner could lay his hands on them, fear had crushed out life?’ Oh! the terror of that last day! How is it that men can expose themselves to such misery, when, to avoid it, they have but to open their hearts to Him, who is now coming to them in gentlest love, asking them to give Him a place in their souls, and promising to shelter them from the wrath to come, if they will but receive Him! O Jesus, who can withstand Thy anger at the last day? Now Thou art our Brother, our Friend, a little Child who is to be born for us: we will therefore make covenant with Thee; so that, loving Thee now in Thy first coming, we may not fear Thee in the second. When Thou comest in that second one, bid Thy angels approach us, and say to us those thrilling words: ‘It is well!’

HYMN OF ADVENT
(Roman breviary, the Office of Matins)

 Verbum supernum prodiens
E Patris æterni siuu,
Qui natus orbi subvenis,
Labente cursu tempers

 Illumina nunc pectora,
Tuoque amore concrema,
Ut cor caduca deserens
Cœli voluptas impleat.

 Ut cum tribunal Judicis
Damnabit igni noxios,
Et vox amica debitum
Vocabit ad cœlum pios,

 Non esca flammarum nigros
Volvamur inter turbines;
Vultu Dei sed compotes
Cœli fruamur gaudiis.

 Patri, simulque Filio,
Tibique, sancte Spiritus,
Sicut fuit sit jugiter
Sæclum per omne gloria.

Amen.
 O sovereign Word, begotten
of the bosom of the eternal Father,
yet born in the fleeting course of time,
thou bringest succour to the world.

 Enlighten now our hearts,
and inflame them with thy love,
that, being detached from earthly things,
they may be filled with the joys of heaven.

 That when from his tribunal the Judge
shall condemn the wicked to the flames,
and lovingly call the good
to the heaven they have won,

We may not be hurled
into the dark pool of fire,
but, admitted to the vision of God,
may enjoy the bliss of heaven.

To the Father, and to the Son,
and to thee, O Holy Ghost,
may there ever be, as there ever hath been,
glory for ever and ever.

Amen.


PRAYER FROM THE MOZARABIC MISSAL
(In the Mass of the fourth Sunday of AdventIllation)

Dignum et justum est, vere et nobis per omnia expedibile, tuam nos clementiam, omnipotens Pater, quibus possumus semper laudibus praedicare; qui bonitate nos mgenuitateque condidisti ac serpentis antiqui fraude decepti, gratuita miseratione a morte velis eripere: qui Filium tuum, quem pro nobis in carne missurus eras, ad terras venturum nasciturumque de Virgine longe antea praedixisti, ejus nativitatis adventum prætonantibus sanetis prænuntiasti; ut exspectatus diu qui fuerat repromissus, magnum mundo faceret gaudium in plenitudine temporum præsentatus. Unde petimus et rogamus ut qui plasma tuum, sicut vere pius et misericors, perire non passus es; sed per humilem adventum Filii tui Domini nostri, quod perierat revocasti; quod jam inventum et reparatum ac revocatum est, sic protegas, sic custodias, sic sanes, sic defendas, sio liberes: ut in illo adventu terribili quo iterato illos venturus est judicare, a quibus et pro quibus est judicatus, tales inveniat quos redemit, ut in æternum possideat quos pretio sui sanguinis acquisivit.
It is meet and just, and available to us in all things, that we always should extol, by all possible praises, thy clemency, O almighty Father, who didst create us in holiness and nobleness, and, when the fraud of the old serpent had seduced us, didst in pure mercy deliver us from death. Thou didst foretell, in past ages, that the Son, whom thou wast to send in the flesh for us, would come on this earth and would be born of a Virgin, and by thy holy prophets didst foretell the advent of his birth; and this to the end that he who had been promised, having been long expected, might give great joy to the world when he should come in the fulness of time. Wherefore we pray and beseech thee, that thou, who didst not suffer thy creature to perish, because thou art truly compassionate and merciful, but didst restore what was lost by the humble coming of thy Son, wouldst now so protect, so keep, so heal, so defend, so free, what thou hast found and repaired and restored, that in that dread coming, whereby thy Son shall come a second time to judge those by whom and for whom he himself was judged, he may so find the creatures that he has redeemed, that he may eternally possess those whom he purchased with the price of his Blood.


 

 

 

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Regem venturum Dominum, venite, adoremus. 

De Isaia Propheta.

Cap
. v.

Cantabo dilecto meo canticum patruelis mei vineæ suæ. Vinea facta est dilecto meo in cornu filio olei. Et sepivit eam, et lapides elegit ex illa, et plantavit eam electam, et aedificavit turrim in medio ejus et torcular exstruxit in ea: et exspectavit ut faceret uvas, et fecit labruscas. Nunc ergo habitatores Jerusalem, et viri Juda, judicate inter me et vineam meam. Quid est quod debui ultra facere vineæ meæ, et non feci ei? an quod exspectavi ut faceret uvas, et fecit labruscas? Et nunc ostendam vobis quid ego faciam vineæ meæ: auferam sepem ejus, et erit in direptionem; diruam maceriam ejus, et erit in conculcationem. Et ponam eam desertam: non putabitur, et non fodietur, et ascendent vepres et spinse, et nubibus mandabo ne pluant super eam imbrem. Vinea enim Domini exercituum domus Israel est, et vir Juda germen ejus delectabile: et exspectavi ut faceret judicium, et ecce iniquitas; et justitiam, et ecce clamor.
Come, let us adore the King our Lord, who is to come.

From the Prophet Isaias.

Ch. v.

I will sing to my beloved the canticle of my cousin concerning his vineyard. My beloved had a vineyard on a hill, in a fruitful place. And he fenced it in, and picked the stones out of it, and planted it with the choicest vines, and built a tower in the midst thereof, and set up a wine-press therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. And now, O ye inhabitants of Jerusalem, and ye men of Juda, judge between me and my vineyard. What is there that I ought to do more to my vineyard, that I have not done to it? Was it that I looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it hath brought forth wild grapes? And now I will show you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be wasted; I will break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down. And I will make it desolate: and it shall not be pruned, and it shall not be digged, but briars and thorns shall come up, and I will command the clouds to rain no rain upon it. For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the man of Juda his pleasant plant; and I looked that he should do judgement, and behold iniquity; and do justice, and behold a cry.

We are awaiting the birth of a Child who is to appear seven hundred years after the time of Isaias; and this Child will be the world’s Saviour. Men will persecute Him, load Him with calumnies and injuries, and, but a few hours before they crucify Him, they shall hear this parable from His lips: ‘There was a man, a householder, who planted a vineyard, and made a hedge round about it, and dug in it a press, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen: and went into a strange country. And when the time of the fruits drew nigh, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits thereof. And the husbandmen laying hands on his servants, beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants more than the former; and they aid to them in like manner. And last of all, he sent to them his son, saying: They will reverence my son.’[1] See, Christians, this Son is coming to you. Will you reverence Him? Will you treat Him as the Son of God, with that honour and love which are due to Him? Take notice of the wickedness of men; it has a progress in malice. In the days of Isaias, the Jews despised the prophets; but the prophets, though sent by God, were only men. The Son of God came, and they would not acknowledge Him; a far greater crime, assuredly, than to stone the prophets. What, then, would be the crime of Christians, who not only acknowledge Him who is now coming to them, but are His members by Baptism, if they will not open their hearts to this Messias, whom the Father is sending into the vineyard? What punishment would not the ungrateful vine deserve, planted, as it has been, with so much love, should it persist in yielding nothing but bitter fruit? Ah, dear Jesus! let not this be: make us generous: make us produce abundant flower and fruit for the day of Thy coming, which is so near at hand.

PRAYER FOR THE CHURCHES OF FRANCE DURING ADVENT
(Taken from the Prophet Isaias)

Rorate, cœli, desuper, et nubes pluant Justum.

Ne irascaris, Domine, ne ultra memineris iniquitatis: ecce civitas sancti facta est deserta, Sion deserta facta est, Jerusalem desolata est, domus sanctificationis nostræ et glorias tuæ, ubi laudaverunt te patres nostri.

Rorate, cœli, desuper, et nubes pluant Justum.

Peccavimus, et facti sumus tamquam immundus nos, et cecidimus quasi folium universi; et iniquitates nostræ quasi ventus abstulerunt nos: abscondisti faciem tuam a nobis, et allisisti nos in manu iniquitatis nostræ.

Rorate, cœli, desuper, et nubes pluant Justum.

Vide, Domine, afflictionem populi tui, et mitte quem missurus es. Emitte Agnum dominatorem terrae de petra deserti ad montem filiæ Sion, ut auferat ipse jugum captivitatis nostrae.

Rorate, cœli, desuper, et nubes pluant Justum.

Consolamini, consolamini, popule meus: cito veniet salus tua: quare moerore consumeris? quare comprehendit te dolor? Salvabo te; noli timere: ego enim sum Dominus Deus tuus, Sanctus Israel, Redemptor tuus.

Rorate, cœli, desuper, et nubes pluant Justum.
Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.

Be not angry, O Lord, and remember no longer our iniquity: behold the city of thy sanctuary is become a desert, Sion is made a desert. Jerusalem is desolate, the house of our holiness and of thy glory, where our fathers praised thee.

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.

We have sinned, and we are become as one unclean, and we have all fallen as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away: thou hast hid thy face from us, and hast crushed us by the hand of our iniquity.

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.

See, O Lord, the affliction of thy people, and send him whom thou hast promised to send. Send forth the Lamb, the ruler of the earth, from the rock of the desert to the mount of the daughter of Sion, that he himself may take off the yoke of our captivity.

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.

Be comforted, be comforted, my people; thy salvation shall speedily come: why wilt thou waste away in sadness? why hath sorrow seized thee? I will save thee; fear not: for I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Redeemer.

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.

 


PRAYER FROM THE AMBROSIAN MISSAL
(Fourth Sunday of Advent)

Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui per adventum unigeniti Filii tui Domini nostri Jesu Christi nova luce radiare dignatus es, concede nobis, ut sicut eum per Virginis partum in forma nostri corporis meruimus habere participem, ita et in regno gratiæ ejus mereamur esse consortes, qui tecum vivit et regnat in sæcula saeculorum.

Amen.
Almighty and everlasting God, who, by the coming of thine only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ, didst deign to shine on us with a new light; grant unto us, that as we deserved to have him as our companion in the form of our body, by the birth the Virgin gave him; so also we may merit to be his companions in the kingdom of his grace: who liveth and reigneth with thee for ever and ever.

Amen.


 

 [1] St. Matt xxi. 33-37

 

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Regem venturum Dominum, venite, adoremus. 

De Isaia Propheta.

Cap
. vi.

In anno, quo mortuus est rex Ozias, vidi Dominum sedentem super solium excelsum et elevatum: et ea quæ sub ipso erant, replebant templum. Seraphim stabant super illud: sex alæ uni, et sex alæ alteri: duabus velabant faciem ejus, et duabus velabant pedes ejus, et duabus volabant. Et clamabant alter ad alterum, et dicebant: Sanctus, sanctus, sanctus Dominus Deus exercituum: plena est omnis terra gloria ejus.
Come, let us adore the King our Lord, who is to come.

From the Prophet Isaias.

Ch. vi.

In the year that king Ozias died, I saw the Lord sitting upon a throne high and elevated: and his train filled the temple. Upon it stood the Seraphim: the one had six wings, and the other had six wings: with two they covered his face, and with two they covered his feet, and with two they flew. And they cried one to another and said: Holy, holy, holy the Lord God of hosts: all the earth is full of his glory.

Such is the glory of the Lord in the highest heavens: who could see it and live? But now, contemplate this same Lord upon our earth, during the days which have dawned upon us. The womb of a Virgin contains Him, whom heaven cannot contain. To angels His beauty is visible, but it dazzles them not; to men, it is not even visible. Not a single voice is heard saying unto Him those words of heaven: Holyholy, holy is the Lord God of hosts! The angels no longer say of Him: All the earth is full of His glory; for the earth is witness of His abasement, and an abasement so abject and low, that the inhabitants of the earth do not even know it. At first, there was but one who knew the divine secret: the Virgin Mother; after her, Elizabeth was admitted to know that her cousin was Mother of God; and then, after the most painful and humiliating suspicions, the great mystery was revealed by an angel to Joseph. So that only three on earth know that God has come down upon it! Thus humbly did He re-enter the world, after the sin of pride had driven Him out of it. O God of the ancient Covenant, how great Thou art! and who would not tremble before Thee? O God of the new Covenant, how little Thou hast made Thyself! who would not love Thee? Heal my pride, the source of all my sins! teach me to value what Thou didst so much value. By Thy Incarnation Thou dost a second time create the world; and in this second creation, more excellent than the first, Thou workest by silence, and Thy triumph is won by self-annihilation. I wish to humble myself after Thine example, and to profit by the lessons which a God came down so low to give me. Lay low all that is high and lifted up within me, O my Jesus, for this is one of the ends of Thy coming. I abandon myself to Thee as to my sovereign Master! do with me and in me what Thou wilt.

Hymn taken from the Anthology of the Greeks
(December 23)

Antefestalia cantica Christi nativitatis mentis alacritate præcanamus; ham qui Patri et Spiritui est æqualis, per misericordiam commiserans, massam indutus luti nasci debet in Bethlehem civitate; cujus nativitatem ineffabilem pastotes eum angelis hymnificabunt.

In cymbalis resonemus, in canticis alalagmum personemus. Christi manifestatur ostensio, prophetarum finem habuerunt præconia; quem enim inter mortales dixerunt appariturum nascitur in sancta spelunca, et in præsepio reclinatur ut infans.

Bethlehem præparare; Eden, aperire; omnis terra Juda, nunc adornare, lætentur  cœli, exsultent homines: in præsepio vita, in spelunca dives, advenit per misericordiæ multitudinem paupertatem Adam restaurare, absque mutatione vel confusione.

Ad te de luce vigilo, qui per misericordiam teipsum pro homine lapso exinanisti sine mutatione, et servi formam ex Virgine tulisti, Verbum Dei, pacem da mihi, Philanthrope.

Stillent ex alto aquam nebulæ: qui nubes posuit descendit ipse adorandus in nebula Virgine, ut luceat ab eo lumen inocciduum his qui antea in tenebris periculisque erant.

O dulcissimum Puerum, quomodo nutriam te? Quomodo te apprehendam, qui omnia nutu tuo tenes? Quomodo te fasciis involvam, qui omnem terram involvis nebula? clamabat sancta Domina.

Sol, fili mi, quomodo recondam te fasciis? Quomodo retinebo te aui omnia contines? Quomodo te sine metu intueri potero, quem non audent contemplari qui multos habent oculos? aiebat Christum tenens nuptinescia.

Bethlehem, adesdum, praepara quæ ad partum pertinent. I, Joseph, inscribere cum Maria; venerandum præsepium, Deiferæ fasciæ; ubi Vita involuta mortis funes disrumpet, alligans immortalitati mortales, Christus Deus noster.
Let us sing, in gladness of heart, the canticles of the pre-vigil of the birth of Christ; for he, who is coequal with the Father and the Spirit, having, in his great compassion for our miseries, clothed himself with the leaven of our clay, is to be bom in the city of Bethlehem; and shepherds with angels will hymn his ineffable birth.

Let us play loud on our cymbals, let us shout our songs of victory; Christ is to appear visibly; the predictions of the prophets are fulfilled; he, who they foretold would appear amongst mortals, is to be born in a holy cave, and to lie in a crib a little child.

Get thee ready, O Bethlehem! Eden, open thy gates! Land of Juda, put on thy best! Let the heavens be glad, let men exult! To enrich the poverty of Adam by the abundance of his mercy, Life is in that crib, the rich One is in that cave, yet the divine Nature suffers no change or confusion.

From the dawn of day I watch for thee, who, in mercy for fallen man, didst empty thyself, yet still remaining God, and didst take from a Virgin the form of a servant, O thou Word of God, O Lover of men! I beseech thee, give me peace.

Let the clouds drop down dew from on high. He who puts the clouds in the air, he the adorable God, has descended in a cloud, and that cloud is the Virgin: he has done this, that light everlasting may shine from him on those who heretofore were in darkness and peril.

O most sweet Child, how shall I feed thee? said the blessed Lady. How shall I take thee into my arms, thou that holdest all things in thy power? How shall I wrap thee in swathing bands, that coverest the whole earth with clouds?

My Babe, said the Virgin Mother of Christ, how shall I hide thee, bright Sun, in swaddling clothes? How shall I so imprison thee that holdest all things? Shall I be able to fix my gaze on thee, whom the many-eyed spirits dare not look upon?

Get ready, then, O Bethlehem, all that is needed for the birth. And thou, Joseph, go and be enrolled with Mary. O crib ever venerable! O ye bands that swathe our God, holding in your folds the Life that breaks the bands of death, and ties us mortals to immortality, Christ Jesus our God.

Prayer from the Mozarabic Missal
(In the Mass of the fifth Sunday of Advent)

In proximo quidem est, Domine, dies adventus tui: sed quæsumus ut, antequam venias, expiari mereamur ab omni contagione delicti. Prius dilue, rogamus, in nobis omne quod in illa futura examinatione puniturus es; ut cum justus adveneris judex, non in nobis invenias quod condemnes.
The day of thy coming, O Lord, is near, indeed, at hand; but before thou comest we beseech thee make us worthy to be purified from every contagion of sin. First remove from us, we entreat thee, whatsoever there is in us which thou wouldst have to punish in that future examination; that so, when thou comest as our just Judge, thou mayst find nought in us to condemn.

 

 

 

 

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Regem venturum Dominum, venite, adoremus. 

De Isaia Propheta.

Cap
. vii.

Et adjecit Dominus loqui ad Achaz, dicens: Pete tibi signum a Domino Deo tuo in profundum inferni, sive in excelsum supra. Et dixit Achaz: Non petam, et non tentabo Dominum. Et dixit: Audite ergo domus David: Numquid parum vobis est molestos esse hominibus, quia molesti estis et Deo meo? Propter hoc dabit Dominus ipse vobis signum: Ecce Virgo concipiet, et pariet Filium: et vocabitur nomen ejus Emmanuel.
Come, let us adore the King our Lord, who is to come.

From the Prophet Isaias.

Ch. vii.

And the Lord spoke again to Achaz, saying: Ask thee a sign of the Lord thy God, either unto the depth of hell or unto the height above. And Achaz said: I will not ask, and I will not tempt the Lord. And he said: Hear ye, therefore, O house of David: Is it a small thing for you to be grievous to men, that you are grievous to my God also? Therefore, the Lord himself shall give you a sign. Behold, a Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and his name shall be called Emmanuel.

Let your hearts be filled with hope and joy at hearing this fair and sweet prophecy: A Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son. These words contain the salvation of the world, as these others express its perdition: ‘The woman took of the fruit of the tree, and did eat, and gave unto her husband.' This Virgin promised to us has at length come: the divine Fruit is in her womb. By her, Eve’s disobedience is repaired, the world is raised from its fall, the head of the serpent is crushed, God Himself is more glorified by the fidelity of this second Virgin, than He had been outraged by the disobedience of the first. The consent of Mary exercises an immense influence in the saving of the world. It is true that the Word Himself is coming; ‘but,’ says St. Bernard, 'Mary is the way whereby He comes; it is from her virginal womb He issues, as the Bridegroom from the nuptial chamber. Let us endeavour, therefore, to go up to Jesus by Mary, for Jesus came down to us by ner. By thee, O blessed one that didst find grace, O parent of life, O mother of salvation, may we have access to thy Son! May He, who was given to us by thee, receive us by thee. May He admit thy purity, and, for its sake, forgive our impurities: may He give us the pardon of our pride, because of the pleasure He took in thy humility. May thy abundant charity cover the multitude of our sins. May thy glorious fruitfulness get us fruitfulness of merit. Our Lady! our mediatrix! our advocate I reconcile us to thy Son, commend us to thy Son, present us to thy Son. By the grace thou didst find, by the prerogative thou didst merit, by the Mercy thou didst bring forth, grant, O blessed Virgin! that Jesus, who deigned to become, through thy maternity, partaker of our weakness and misery, may, through thy intercession, make us partakers of His glory and bliss.’[1]

PROSE IN HONOR OF THE BLESSED VIRGIN
(Composed by Abelard; it is found in all the Roman-French missals)

Mittit ad Virginem
Non quemvis angelum:
Sed fortitudinem
Suum Archangelum,
Amator hominis.

Fortem expediat
Pro nobis nuncium,
Naturae faciat
Ut praejudicium
In partu Virginis.

Naturam superet
Natus Rex gloriæ:
Regnet et imperet,
Et zyma scoriæ
Tollat de medio.

Superbientium
Terat fastigia:
Colla sublimium
Calcet vi propria,
Potens in prælio.

Foras ejiciat
Mundanum principem;
Secumque faciat
Matrem participem
Patris imperii.

Exi qui mitteris,
Haec dona dissere:
Revela veteris
Velamen litterae,
Virtute nuncii.

Accede nuncia:
Dic: Ave, cominus.
Dic: Plena gratia:
Dic: Tecum Dominus:
Et dic: Ne timeas.

Virgo suscipias
Dei depositum,
In quo perficias
Casta propositum
Et votum teneas.

Audit et suscipit
Puella nuncium:
Credit et concipit
Et parit Filium,
Sed admirabilem,

Consiliarium
Humani generis:
Deum et hominem
Et Patrem posteris,
In pace stabilem.

Cujus stabilitas
Nos reddat stabiles,
Ne nos labilitas
Humana labiles
Secum præcipitet,

Sed dator veniæ,
Concessa venia,
Per Matrem gratiæ
Obtenta gratia,
In nobis habitet.

Qui nobis tribuat
Peccati veniam:
Reatus deleat,
Donet et patriam
In arce siderum.

Amen.
God, the lover of man,
sends to the Virgin
no less an angel than him
who is called God’s strength,
the Archangel Gabriel.

May this strong messenger
be speedily at his work;
may he stay the rights
and laws of nature
in the Virgin’s delivery.

May the King of glory,
when born, triumph over nature;
may he reign and command;
may he take away from the midst of men
all leaven and rust.

May he humble proud heads;
may this God,
mighty in war,
trample in his power
on the necks of the haughty.

May he cast forth
the prince of this world;
and make his Mother
share with him
the empire which his Father has given him.

Go forth, messenger of God,
announce these gifts;
lift up,
by the virtue of thy annunciation,
the veil of the ancient Scripture.

Approach, tell thy announcement:
Say, when thou art in her presence: ‘Hail!’
Say: ‘O full of grace !"
Say: ‘The Lord is with thee!’
And then: ‘Fear not!’

Receive, O Virgin,
the divine deposit;
by him fulfil
thy chaste purpose,
and keep thy vow.

The Maid hears
and accepts the announcement;
she believes and conceives,
and brings forth a Son,
but he is the admirable,

The counsellor
of mankind,
God and Man,
Father of the world to come,
the Prince of peace.

May his firmness
render us firm,
lest human frailty
should make us stumble
into the abyss.

But may the Giver of pardon,
granting us pardon
and grace, obtained
by the Mother of grace,
dwell within us.

May he that grants us
pardon of our sins,
wipe away all our guilt,
and give us the country
in the starry heaven.

Amen.


Prayer from the Gallican Sacramentary
(Christmas Eve)

Emmanuel, nobiscum Deus, Christe Filius Dei, qui cum ex Virgine te nasciturum pronuntias, quia Mariam matrem creasti ut Dominus, de qua natus es Filius: da nobis ut, qui cum illa a te, vel per te creati sumus ex nihilo, simili, ut ea, credulitatis remuneremur et praemio.
O Emmanuel, God with us, Christ the Son of God, who didst announce that thou wouldst be bom of a Virgin, and didst, as Lord, create Mary, the Mother whose Son thou art: grant us, that being, like her, created by thee out of nothing, we may be rewarded, like her, for our faith in thee.

 

 

 [1] Second Sermon of Advent.