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The Liturgical Year

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Under this heading of Proper of the Time, we here comprise the movable Office of the Sundays and Ferias of Advent. Though anxious to give to the faithful the flowers of the Advent liturgy, yet were we to bring forward even those which might be considered as the choicest, four volumes would have barely sufficed. The fear of making our work too expensive to the faithful, persuaded us to limit it within much narrower bounds, and out of the abundant treasures before us, to give what we thought could be least dispensed with.

The plan we have adopted is this: We give the whole of the Mass and Vespers for the four Sundays of Advent. On the ferial days, we give one, at least, of the lessons from Isaias, which are read in the Office of Matins; adding to this a hymn or sequence, or some other poetic liturgical composition. All these have been taken from the gravest sources, for example, from the Roman and Mozarabic breviaries, from the Greek anthology and menæa, from the missals of the middle ages, &c. After this hymn or sequence, we have given a prayer from the Ambrosian, Gallican, or Mozarabic missal. So that the faithful will find in our collection an unprecedented abundance of liturgical formulæ, each of which carries authority with it, as being taken from ancient and approved sources.

We have not thought it desirable to give a commentary to each of the liturgical formulæ inserted in our work. It seemed to us that they would be rendered sufficiently intelligible by the general explanation which runs through our work, in which explanation we have endeavoured to excite the devotion of the reader, give unity to the several parts, and afford solid instruction. We shall thus avoid all those repetitions and commonplace remarks, which do little more than fatigue the reader.

We have inserted the Great Antiphons and the Office of Christmas Eve in the proper of the saints, because both of these have fixed days in the calendar, and to put them in the proper of the time, as they stand in the breviary and missal, would have required us to introduce into a book, destined for the laity, rubrics somewhat complicated, which would, perhaps, not have been understood.

For more information on the season of Advent, visit here.

We apply the name of Christmas to the forty days which begin with the Nativity of our Lord, December 25, and end with the Purification of the Blessed Virgin, February 2. It is a period which forms a distinct portion of the Liturgical Year, as distinct, by its own special spirit, from every other, as are Advent, Lent, Easter, or Pentecost. One same Mystery is celebrated and kept in view during the whole forty days. Neither the Feasts of the Saints, which so abound during this Season; nor the time of Septuagesima, with its mournful Purple, which often begins before Christmastide is over, seem able to distract our Holy Mother the Church from the immense joy of which she received the good tidings from the Angels[1] on that glorious Night for which the world had been longing four thousand years. The Faithful will remember that the Liturgy commemorates this long expectation by the four penitential weeks of Advent.
[1] St Luke ii 10.

(From Chapter 1: The History of Christmas)

For more information on the season of Christmas, visit here.

This third section of the liturgical year is much shorter than the two preceding ones; and yet it is one of real interest. The season of Septuagesima has only three weeks of the Proper of the Time, and the feasts of the saints are far less frequent than at other periods of the year. The volume we now offer to the faithful may be called one of transition, inasmuch as it includes the period between two important seasons—viz., Christmas and Lent. We have endeavoured to teach them how to spend these three weeks; and our instructions, we trust, will show them that, even in this the least interesting portion of the ecclesiastical year, there is much to be learned. They will find the Church persevering in carrying out the one sublime idea which pervades the whole of her liturgy; and, consequently, they must derive solid profit from imbibing the spirit peculiar to this season.

Were we, therefore, to keep aloof from the Church during Septuagesima, we should not have a complete idea of her year, of which these three weeks form an essential part. The three preliminary chapters of this volume will convince them of the truth of our observation; and we feel confident that, when they have once understood the ceremonies, and formulas, and instructions, offered them by the Church during this short season, they will value it as it deserves.

For more information on the season of Septuagesima, visit here.

We begin, with this volume, the holy season of Lent; but such is the richness of its liturgy, that we have found it impossible to take our readers beyond the Saturday of the fourth week. Passion-week and Holy Week, which complete the forty days of yearly penance, require to be treated at such length, that we could not have introduced them into this volume without making it inconveniently large.

The present volume is a very full one, although it only comprises the first four weeks of the season of Lent. We have called it Lent; and yet the two weeks of the next volume are also comprised in Lent; nay, they are its most important and sacred part. But, in giving the name of Lent to this first section, we have followed the liturgy itself, which applies this word to the first four weeks only; giving to the two that remain the names of Passion-week and Holy Week. Our next volume will, therefore, be called Passiontide and Holy Week.

For more information on Lent, visit here.

After having proposed the forty-days’ fast of Jesus in the desert to the meditation of the faithful during the first four weeks of Lent, the holy Church gives the two weeks which still remain before Easter to the commemoration of the Passion. She would not have her children come to that great day of the immolation of the Lamb, without having prepared for it by compassionating with Him in the sufferings He endured in their stead.

(From Chapter 1: The History of Passiontide and Holy Week)

For more information on Passiontide and Holy Week, visit here.

WITH this volume we begin the season of Easter, wherein are accomplished the mysteries prepared for, and looked forward to, since Advent. Such are the liturgical riches of this portion of the Christian year, that we have found it necessary to devote three volumes to it.

The present volume is wholly taken up with Easter Week. A week is indeed a short period; but such a week as this, with the importance of the events it brings before us, and the grandeur of the mysteries it celebrates, is, at least, equivalent to any other section of our Liturgical Year. We have abridged our explanations as much as possible; and yet we have exceeded two-thirds of one of our ordinary volumes. Hence, it was out of the question to add the remaining weeks; the more so, as the saints’ feasts recommence on the Monday following the Easter Octave, and their insertion would have obliged us to have made our volume considerably more bulky than even that of Passiontide. We have, therefore, been satisfied with giving the Mass and Office of the Annunciation, already given in our volume for Lent, but which are needed for the Monday after Low Sunday, when Easter falls between March 22 and April 2, which is frequently the case.

For more information on Paschal Tide, visit here.

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Regem venturum Dominum, venite, adoremus.

De Isaia Propheta.

. 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!’

(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.

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.


(In the Mass of the fourth Sunday of Advent, Illation)

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.

. 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.

(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.

(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.

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.


[1] St. Matt xxi. 33-37

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Regem venturum Dominum, venite, adoremus.

De Isaia Propheta.

. 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: Holy, holy, 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 born 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.

. 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]

(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.

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,

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.

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.


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 born 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.

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

The Office of this Sunday is filled, from beginning to end, with the sentiments of hope and joy, with which the soul should be animated at the glad tidings of the speedy coming of Him who is her Saviour and Spouse. The interior coming, that which is effected in the soul, is the almost exclusive object of the Church’s prayers for this day: let us therefore open our hearts, let us prepare our lamps, and await in gladness that cry, which will be heard in the midnight: 'Glory be to God! Peace unto men!'

The Roman Church makes the Station to-day in the basilica of Holy-Cross-in-Jerusalem. It was in this venerable church that Constantine deposited a large piece of the true cross, together with the title which was fastened to it by Pilate’s order, and which proclaimed the kingly character of the Saviour of the world. These precious relics are still kept there; and, thus enriched with such a treasure, the basilica of Holy-Cross-in-Jerusalem is looked upon, in the Roman liturgy, as Jerusalem itself, as is evident from the allusions made in the several Masses of the Stations held in that basilica. In the language of the sacred Scriptures and of the Church, Jerusalem is the image of the faithful soul; and the Office and Mass of this Sunday have been drawn up on this idea, as the one of the day. We regret not to be able here to develop the sublime beauty of this figure; and must proceed at once to the passage, which the Church has selected from the prophet Isaias. There she tells her children how well founded are her hopes in the merciful and peaceful reign of the Messias. But first let us adore this divine Messias:

Regem venturum Dominum, venite, adoremus.

De Isaiæ Prophetæ.


Et egredietur virga de radice Jesse, et flos de radice ejus ascendet. Et requiescet super eum Spiritus Domini, Spiritus sapientiæ et intellectus, Spiritus consilii et fortitudinis, Spiritus scientiæ et pietatis: et replebit eum Spiritus timoris Domini. Non secundum visionem oculorum judicabit, neque secundum auditum aurium arguet: sed judicabit in justitia pauperes, et arguet in æquitate pro mansuetis terræ. Et percutiet terram virga oris sui, et spiritu labiorum suorum interficiet impium. Et erit justitia cingulum lumborum ejus, et fides cinctorium renum ejus. Habitabit lupus cum agno, et pardus cum hœdo accubabit: vitulus et leo et ovis simul morabuntur, et puer parvulus minabit eos. Vitulus et ursus pascentur: simul requiescent catuli eorum: et leo quasi bos comedet paleas. Et delectabitur infans ab ubere super foramine aspidis: et in caverna reguli, qui ablactatus fuerit, manum suam mittet. Non nocebunt, et non occident in universo monte sancto meo: quia repleta est terra scientia Domini, sicut aquæ maris operientes. In die illa radix Jesse, qui stat in signum populorum, ipsum Gentes deprecabuntur, et erit sopulchrum ejus gloriosum.
Come, let us adore the King our Lord, who is to come.

From the Prophet Isaias.

Ch. xi.

And there shall come forth a branch out of the rod of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root. And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of fortitude, the Spirit of knowledge and of godliness: and he shall be filled with the Spirit of the fear of the Lord. He shall not judge according to the sight of the eyes, nor reprove according to the hearing of the ears: but he shall judge the poor with justice, and shall reprove with equity for the meek of the earth. And he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. And justice shall be the girdle of his loins, and faith the girdle of his reins. The wolf shall dwell with the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid: the calf and the lion and the sheep shall abide together, and a little child shall lead them. The calf and the bear shall feed: their young ones shall rest together: and the lion shall eat straw like an ox. And the suckling child shall play on the hole of the asp: and the weaned child shall thrust his hand into the den of the basilisk. They shall not hurt, nor shall they kill in all my holy mountain: for the earth is filled with the knowledge of the Lord, as the covering waters of the sea. In that day the root of Jesse, who standeth for an ensign of people, him the Gentiles shall beseech, and his sepulchre shall be glorious.

How much is contained in these magnificent words of the prophet! The branch; the flower that is to come from it; the Spirit which rests on this flower; the seven gifts of this Spirit; peace and confidence established on the earth; and, throughout the world, one brotherhood in the kingdom of the Messias! St. Jerome, whose words are read by the Church in the lessons of the second nocturn of this Sunday, says that the branch which cometh forth from the root of Jesse, is the blessed Virgin Mary, who had contact with no shrub or plant; and that the flower is the Lord Jesus, who says in the Canticle of canticles: 'I am the flower of the field, and the lily of the valley.’ In every age of the Christian Church, this wonderful branch and its divine flower have been objects of enthusiastic veneration. In the middle ages the tree of Jesse, with its prophetic branches, was carved on the cathedral porches, was painted on the windows, was embroidered on the hangings of the sanctuary, and the melodious voice of the priests sang its praises in the beautiful responsory composed by Fulbert of Chartres, and put to music by the devout king Robert.

R. Stirps Jesse virgam produxit, virgaque florem; * et super hunc florem requiescit Spiritus almus.

V. Virgo Dei Genitrix virga est, flos filius ejus. * Et super hunc florem requiescit Spiritus almus.

R. The root of Jesse gave out a branch, and the branch a flower; * and on the flower resteth the holy Spirit.

V. The Virgin Mother of God is the branch, her Son the flower. * And on the flower resteth the holy Spirit.

The devout St. Bernard, commenting upon this responsory in his second Advent homily, says; 'The Virgin’s Son is the flower, a flower white and ruddy, chosen out of thousands; a flower on whom the angels love to look; a flower whose fragrance restores the dead; a flower, as himself assures us, of the field, not of a garden: for the flowers of the field bloom without man’s care, no man has sown their seed, no man has cultivated them. Just so the Virgin’s womb, a meadow verdant in an endless spring, has brought forth a flower, whose beauty will never droop, whose freshness will never fade. O Virgin, branch sublime, to what a height art thou grown! Even up to Him that sitteth on the throne, even to the Lord of majesty. It was sure to be so, for thou castest deep down the roots of humility. O plant of heaven indeed! precious above all, holier than all. O tree of life indeed! alone worthy to bear the fruit of salvation.’

And of the holy Spirit and His gifts, what shall we say? They rest and are poured out on the Messias only to the end that they may flow from Him upon us; He needs them not; but we alone need wisdom and understanding, counsel and fortitude, knowledge and godliness, and fear of the Lord. Let us ask with instance for this divine Spirit, by whose operation Jesus was conceived and born in Mary’s womb, and let us beg of Him to form Jesus within our hearts. But let us not forget to rejoice at those other glorious things which are told us by the prophet, of the happiness, and peace, and delights, which are to be on the holy mountain. The world has been looking so many ages for peace; it is now coming. Sin had caused enmity and division everywhere; grace will bring unity. A little Child will be the pledge of an alliance between all nations. The prophets have foretold it, the sibyl has announced it, and in Rome itself, buried as it is in paganism, the prince of Latin poets has sung the celebrated poem, which, after all, is but the voice of the old tradition: 'The last age foretold by the Cumean Sibyl, is at hand; a new race is being sent down to earth from high heaven. The flock shall no more fear the fierce lions. The serpent shall be no more: the treacherous plant, which yielded poison, shall grow no more.’[1]

Come then, O Messias, and restore to the world its primitive peace; but remember, we beseech Thee, that it is in the heart of man that harmony has been broken more than elsewhere in Thy creation: cure this heart, enter into possession of this Jerusalem, which Thou lovest, though so unworthy: she has been too long captive in Babylon; lead her out of this strange land. Build up her temple again, and make the glory of this second temple to be greater than that of the first, by having Thee to dwell in it, not in figure, but in the reality of Thy adorable Person. The angel said to Mary: 'The Lord God shall give unto thy Son the throne of David His father; and He shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.’ What can we do, O Jesus, but say with Thy beloved disciple, at the close of his prophecy: 'Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!’

The Mass

The holy sacrifice commences with a song of triumph, addressed to Jerusalem. This song expresses the joy which will fill the heart of man, when he shall hear the voice of his God. It extols the goodness of that divine Shepherd, who looks on each of our souls as a sheep most dear to Him, so dear, indeed, that He will feed it with His own flesh.

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.

Populus Sion, ecce Dominus veniet ad salvandas gentes: et auditam faciet Dominus gloriam vocis suæ in laetitia cordis vestri.

Ps. Qui regis Israel intende: qui deducis velut ovem, Joseph.

V. Gloria Patri.

People of Sion, behold the Lord will come to save the Gentiles: and the Lord will make the glory of his voice heard to the joy of your hearts.

Ps. Give ear, O thou that rulest Israel: thou that leadest Joseph like a sheen.

V. Glory be to the Father.


In the Collect, the priest lays stress on the great preparation we must make for the coming of our Saviour; we must have purity of heart.

Excita, Domine, corda nostra ad praeparandas Unigeniti tui vias: ut per ejus adventum, purificatis tibi mentibus servire mereamur. Qui tecum.


Stir up, O Lord, our hearts to prepare the ways of thy only-begotten Son: that by his coming we may be enabled to serve thee with pure minds. Who liveth, &c.


The other Collects of the blessed Virgin, against the persecutors of the Church, and for the Pope, are the same as on the first Sunday in Advent, page 128.


Lectio Epistolæ beati Pauli Apostoli ad Romanos.

Cap. xv.

Fratres, quæcumque scripta sunt, ad nostram doctrinam scripta sunt: ut per patientiam et consolationem Scripturarum, spem habeamus. Deus autem patientiæ et solatii det vobis idipsum sapere in alterutrum secundum Josum Christum: ut unanimes uno ore honorificetis Deum, et Patrem Domini nostri Jesu Christi. Propter quod suscipite invicem, sicut et Christus suscepit vos in honorem Dei. Dico enim Christum Jesum ministrum fuisse circumcisionis propter veritatem Dei, ad confirmandas promissiones patrum. Gentes autem super misericordia honoraro Deum, sicut scriptum est: Propterea confitebor tibi in Gentibus Domine, et nomini tuo cantabo. Et iterum dicit: Laetamini Gentes cum plebo ejus. Et iterum: Laudate omnes Gentes Dominum: et magnificate eum omnes populi. Et rursus Isaias ait: Erit radix Jesse; et qui exsurget regere Gentes, in eum Gentes sperabunt. Deus autem spei repleat vos omni gaudio, et pace in credendo: ut abundetis in spe, et virtute Spiritus sancti.
Lesson of the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Romans.

Ch. xv.

Brethren, what things soever were written, were written for our learning: that through patience and the comfort of the Scriptures, we might have hope. Now the God of patience and of comfort grant you to be of one mind one towards another, according to Jesus Christ: that with one mind and with one mouth you may glorify God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive one another as Christ also hath received you unto the honour of God. For I say that Christ Jesus was minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers. But that the Gentiles are to glorify God for his mercy, as it is written: Therefore will I confess to thee, O Lord, among the Gentiles, and will sing to thy name. And again he saith: Rejoice ye Gentiles with his people. And again: Praise the Lord all ye Gentiles, and magnify him all ye people. And again Isaias saith: There shall be a root of Jesse, and he that shall rise up to rule the Gentiles, in him the Gentiles shall hope. Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing: that you may abound in hope, and in the power of the Holy Ghost.

Here, Christians, is your instruction; be patient, be firm in hope, and you shall delight in the God of peace who is coming to you. But take heed, you must have cordial charity one for the other; it is the mark of the children of God. The prophet tells us that the Messias will make even wolf and lamb dwell together; and now we have the apostle showing us how this same Christ brings Jews and Gentiles into the one same family. Glory to this sovereign King, the powerful offspring of the root of Jesse, who now bids us hope in Him! Listen to the Church, she again tells us that He is about to show Himself in Jerusalem.


Ex Sion species decoris ejus; Deus manifeste veniet.

V. Congregate illi sanctos ejus, qui ordinaverunt testamentum ejus super sacrificia.

Alleluia, alleluia.

V. Lætatus sum in his quae dicta sunt mihi: in domum Domini ibimus. Alleluia.

He shall come in his comeliness and beauty from Sion: God will come visibly.

V. Gather to him his saints, who have set his covenant by sacrifice.

Alleluia, alleluia.

V. I rejoiced at what was told me: we are to go up to the house of the Lord. Alleluia.


Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Mattæum.

Cap. xi.

In illo tempore: Cum audisset Joannes in vinculis opera Christi, mittens duos de discipulis suis, ait illi: Tu es, qui venturus es, an ahum exspectamus? Et respondens Jesus ait illis: Euntes renuntiate Joanni quæ audistis, et vidistis. Cæci vident, claudi ambulant, leprosi mundantur, surdi audiunt, mortui resurgunt, pauperes evangelizantur: et beatus est, qui non fuerit scandalizatus in me. Illis autem abeuntibus, cœpit Jesus dicere ad turbas de Joanne: Quid existis in desertum videre? Arundinem vento agitatam? Sed quid existis videre? Hominem mollibus vestitum? Ecce qui mollibus vestiuntur, in domibus regum sunt. Sed quid existis videre? prophetam? Etiam dico vobis, et plus quam prophetam. Hic est enim de quo scriptum est: Ecce ego mitto angelum meum ante faciem tuam, qui præparabit viam tuam ante te.
Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Matthew.

Ch. xi.

At that time: When John had heard in prison the works of Christ, sending two of his disciples, he said to him: Art thou he that art to come, or look we for another? And Jesus making answer, said to them: Go and relate to John what you have heard and seen. The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise again, the poor have the Gospel preached to them s and blessed is he that shall not be scandalized in me. And when they went their way, Jesus began to Bay to the multitude, concerning John: What went you out into the desert to see? A reed shaken with the wind? But what went you out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Behold they that are clothed in soft garments are in the houses of kings. But what went you out to see? A prophet? Yea, I tell you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written: Behold, I send my angel before thy face, who shall prepare thy way before thee.

Thou art He that was to come, O Jesus! We look for no other. We were blind, Thou hast enlightened us; we were lame, Thou hast made us walk; the leprosy of sin disfigured us, Thou hast cleansed us; we were deaf to Thy words, Thou hast given us hearing; we were dead in sin, Thou hast given us life again; we were poor and had none to care for us, Thou hast come to us with every aid and consolation. These have been, and will again be, the blessings of Thy visit to our souls, O Jesus! A visit, silent but wonderful in its work; which flesh and blood cannot understand, but which faithful hearts feel is granted them. Come, my Saviour, come to me, Thy condescension, and familiarity with such poverty as mine, shall not scandalize me; Thy workings in the souls of men are proof enough that Thou art God. He alone, that created souls, can heal them.

After the symbol of faith has been chanted, when you see the priest is about to make the offering of the bread and wine, unite with the Church in asking to be filled with life by the divine Guest, who is so soon to be with her.


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:

Deus, tu convertens vivificabis nos, et plebs tua lætabitur in te: ostende nobis, Domine, misericordiam tuam, et salutare tuum da nobis.
Thou wilt turn, O God, to us, and bring us to life, and thy people shall rejoice in thee: show us, O Lord, thy mercy, and grant us thy salvation.


Placare, quæsumus Domine, humilitatis nostræ precibus et hostiis: et ubi nulla suppetunt suffragia meritorum, tuis nobis succurre praesidiis. Per Dominum.
Be appeased, O Lord, we beseech thee, by our humble prayers and sacrifices: and although we allege no deserts on our part, grant us thy protection. Through, &c.

The other Secrets of the blessed Virgin, against the persecutors of the Church, and for the Pope, are the same as on the first Sunday in Advent, page 132.


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.

Jerusalem, surge, et sta in excelso: et vide jucunditatem, quæ veniet tibi a Deo tuo.
Arise, O Jerusalem, and stand on high; and behold the joy that will come to thee from thy God.


In the following prayer the Church explains in what consists that high standing to which she has just invited Jerusalem: love of the things of heaven whence comes her Saviour, and contempt of earthly things which, when loved, separate man from God.

Repleti oibo spiritualis alimoniae, supplices te, Domine, deprecamur, ut hujus participatione mysterii, doceas nos terrena despicere, et amare cœlestia. Per Dominum.
Being filled, O Lord, with this spiritual food, we humbly beseech thee to teach us, by partaking of this mystery, to despise earthly things, and to love such as are heavenly. Through, &c.

The other Postcommunions of the blessed Virgin, against the persecutors of the Church, and for the Pope, are the same as on the first Sunday in Advent, page 134.


1. Ant. Ecce in nubibus cœli Dominus veniet cum potestate magna, alleluia.

2. Ant. Urbs fortitudinis nostræ Sion, Salvator ponetur in ea murus et antemurale: aperite portas, quia nobiscum Deus, alleluia.

3. Ant. Ecce apparebit Dominus, et non mentietur: si moram fecerit, exspecta eum, quia veniet, et non tardabit, alleluia.

4. Ant. Montes et colles cantabunt coram Deo laudem, et omnia ligna silvarum plaudent manibus, quoniam veniet dominator Dominus in regnum aeternum, alleluia, alleluia.

5. Ant. Ecce Dominus noster cum virtute veniet, et illuminabit oculos servorum suorum, alleluia.
1. Ant. Behold the Lord will come in the clouds of heaven with great power, alleluia.

2. Ant. Sion is our strong city, the Saviour shall be its wall and bulwark: open the gates, for God is with us, alleluia.

3. Ant. Behold the Lord will appear, and will not deceive us: if he stay, expect him, for he will come, and will not delay, alleluia.

4. Ant. Mountains and hills shall sing forth praises before God, and all the trees of the forest shall clap their hands, because the Lord, the ruler, will come into his eternal kingdom, alleluia, alleluia.

5. Ant. Behold our Lord will come with power, and will enlighten the eyes of his servants, alleluia.


Fratres, quæcumque scripta sunt, ad nostram doctrinam scripta sunt: ut per patientiam et consolationem Scripturarum spem habeamus.
Brethren, what things soever were written, were written for our learning: that through patience and the comfort of the Scriptures we might have hope.

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

Antiphon of the Magnificat

Tu es qui venturus es, an alium exspectamus? Dicite Joanni quæ vidistis: Ad lumen redeunt cæci, mortui resurgunt, pauperes evangelizantur, alleluia.
Art thou he that art to come, or look we for another? Tell John what you have seen: the blind see, the dead rise again, the poor have the Gospel preached unto them, alleluia.


Excita, Domine, corda nostra ad præparandas Unigeniti tui vias: ut per ejus adventum, purificatis tibi mentibus servire mereamur. Qui tecum vivit et regnat in sæcula sæculorum.
R. Amen.
Stir up, O Lord, our hearts to prepare the ways of thy only-begotten Son: that by his coming we may be enabled to serve thee with pure minds; who liveth and reigneth with thee for ever and ever.
R. Amen.

[1] Ultima Cumæi venit jam carminis ætas ....
Jam nova progenies cœlo demittitur alto ....
.... Nec magnos metuent armenta leones ....
Occidet et serpens, et fallax herba veneni
Occidet.... (Virgil. Elog. iv.)

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Regem venturum Dominum, venite, adoremus.

De Isaia Propheta.

. xiii.

Onus Babylonis, quod vidit Isaias filius Amos. Super montem caliginosum levate signum, exaltate vocem, levate manum, et ingrediantur portas duces. Ego mandavi sanctificatis meis, et vocavi fortes meos in ira mea, exsultantes in gloria mea. Vox multitudinis in montibus, quasi populorum frequentium: vox sonitus regum, gentium congregatarum. Dominus exercituum præcepit militiæ belli, venientibus de terra procul, a summitate cœli; Dominus, et vasa furoris ejus, ut disperdat omnem terram. Ululate, quia prope est dies Domini, quasi vastitas a Domino veniet. Propter hoc omnes manus dissolventur, et omne cor hominis contabescet, et conteretur. Torsiones et dolores tenebunt, quasi parturiens dolebunt: unusquisque ad proximum suum stupebit, facies combustæ vultus eorum. Ecco dies Domini veniet crudelis et indignationis plenus, et iræ, furorisque ad ponendam terram in solitudinem, et peccatores ejus conterendos de ea. Quoniam stellæ cœli, et splendor earum non expandent lumen suum: obtenebratus est sol in ortu suo, et luna non splendebit in lumine suo. Et visitabo super orbis mala, et contra impios iniquitatem eorum: et quiescere faciam superbiam infidelium, et arrogantiam fortium humiliabo.
Come, let us adore the King our Lord, who is to come.

From the Prophet Isaias.

Ch. xiii.

The burden of Babylon, which Isaias the son of Amos saw. Upon the dark mountain lift ye up a banner, exalt the voice, lift up the hand and let the rulers go into the gates. I have commanded my sanctified ones, and have called my strong ones in my wrath, them that rejoice in my glory. The noise of a multitude in the mountains, as it were of many people: the noise of the sound of kings, of nations gathered together. The Lord of hosts hath given charge to the troops of war, to them that come from a country afar off, from the end of heaven: the Lord and the instruments of his wrath, to destroy the whole land. Howl ye, for the day of the Lord is near, it shall come as a destruction from the Lord. Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every heart of man shall melt, and shall be broken. Gripings and pains shall take hold of them, they shall be in pain as a woman in labour: every one shall be amazed at his neighbour, their countenances shall be as faces burnt. Behold, the day of the Lord shall come, a cruel day, and full of indignation, and of wrath, and fury, to lay the land desolate, and to destroy the sinners thereof out of it. For the stars of heaven, and their brightness shall not display their light: the sun shall be darkened in his rising, and the moon shall not shine with her light. And I will visit the evils of the world, and against the wicked for their iniquity: and I will make the pride of infidels to cease, and will bring down the arrogance of the mighty.

The Church puts before us again, in the Office of to-day, the terrible spectacle of the last coming of Jesus Christ. The sinful Babylon, of which Isaias speaks, is the world grown old in its crimes; the cruel day, full of indignation and wrath, is that on which the Messias will return to judge the world, with His sign glittering in the clouds. The words used by the prophet to describe the terror of the inhabitants of Babylon are so expressive, that it is difficult to meditate upon them seriously and not tremble. You, then, who, in this second week of preparation for the birth of our Saviour, are still wavering and undecided as to what you intend to do for the day of His coming, reflect upon the connection that there is between the two comings. If you receive your Saviour in the first, you need be in no fear for the second; but if you despise the first, the second will be to your destruction, nor will the cries of your despair save you. The Judge will come on a sudden, at midnight, at the very time when you persuade yourself that He is far off from you.

Say not that the end of the world is not yet come, and that the destinies of the human race are not filled up: it is not the world that is here in question, it is you individually. True the day of the Lord will be terrible, when this world shall be broken up as a vessel of clay, and the remnants of creation shall be a prey to devouring flames; but, long before that day of universal terror, your own day of judgement will come. The inexorable Judge will come to you, you will stand before His face, you will have none to defend you, and the sentence He will pass will be eternal; and though the nature of that sentence, whether for or against you, will not be known to the rest of the world until the last and general judgement, still is this His coming to you, at your own judgement, terrible above measure. Remember, therefore, that what will make the terror of the last day so great is, that then will be solemnly and publicly confirmed what was judged irrevocably, though secretly, between your own soul and her Judge; just as the favourable sentence, which the good receive at the happy moment of their death, will be repeated before the immense assembly of men and angels on the last day. Is it wise, then, Christians, to put off your conversion, on the plea of the day of the Lord not having to come for ages, when it might be this night that your soul were required of you?[1] The Lord is coming: lose no time; prepare to meet Him; a humble and contrite and converted heart is sure to find acceptance.

Canticle of the Last Judgment
(It is an interpolation of appropriate sentences into the Responsory Libera: it was occasionally so sung in the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries)

R. Libera me, Domine, de morte æterna, in die illa tremenda;

* Quando cœli movendi sunt et terra;
* Dum veneris judicare sæculum per ignem.

. Timebunt Angeli et Archangeli: impii autem ubi parebunt?
* Quando cœli movendi sunt et terra.

. Quid ergo miserrimus, quid dicam, vel quid faciam, dum nil boni perferam ante tantum judicem?
* Dum veneris judicare sæculum per ignem.

. Vix justus salvabitur; et ego miser, ubi parebo?
* Quando cœli movendi sunt et terra.

. Lux immarcescibilis, eripe me de tenebris, ne cadam in obscura poenarum incendia;
* Dum veneris judicare sæculum per ignem.

. Plangent super se omnes tribus terrae;
* Quando cœli movendi sunt et terra.

. Vox de cœlis! O vos mortui qui jacetis in sepulchris, surgite et occurrite ad judicium Salvatoris;
* Dum veneris judicare sæculum per ignem.

. Lauda, anima mea, Dominum; laudabo Dominum in vita mea, et in came mea videbo Deum;
* Dum veneris judicare sæculum per ignem.

. Quando Deus filius Virginis Judicare sæculum venerit, Dicet justis ad dexteram positis; Accedite, dilecti filii, Vobis dare regnum disposui. O felix vox! felix promissio! Felix dator et felix datio!
* Quando cœli movendi sunt et terra.

. Post hæc dicet ad lævam positis:
Nescio vos, cultores criminis: Vos decepit gloria sæculi; Descendite ad ima barathri, Cum Zabulon et suis ministris. O proh dolor! quanta tristitia! Quantus luctus! quanta suspiria!
* Dum veneris judicare sæculum per ignem.

. Jam festinat Rex ad judicium, Dies instat horrenda nimium; Et quis erit nobis refugium, Nisi Mater Virgo, spes omnium, Quæ pro nobis exoret Filium? O Jesu Rex, exaudi poscimus
Preces nostras, et salvi erimus;
* Quando cœli movendi sunt et terra.

Creator omnium rerum Deus qui me de limo terræ formasti, et mirabiliter proprio sanguine redemisti, corpusque meum, licet modo putrescat, de sepulchro facies in die judicii resuscitari; exaudi, exaudi me, ut animam meam in sinu Abrahæ patriarchæ tui jubeas collocari;
* Dum veneris judicaro saeculum per ignem.

R. Deliver me, O Lord, from eternal death, on that dread day;
* When heaven and earth are to be moved;
* When thou shalt come to judge the world by fire.

. The Angels and Archangels shall fear; but the impious, where shall they be?
* When heaven and earth are to be moved.

. What, therefore, shall I wretched sinner say? or what shall I do? who can take no good before so great a Judge,
* When thou shalt come to judge the world by fire.

The just shall scarce be saved: and I a sinner, where shall I appear?
* When heaven and earth are to be moved.

. O Light eternal, deliver me from darkness, lest I fall into the dismal fire of torment;
* When thou shalt come to judge the world by fire.

. All the tribes of the earth shall mourn;
* When heaven and earth are to be moved.

. And then a voice from heaven: Arise ye dead that sleep in your graves, and come to the judgement of Jesus;
* When thou shalt come to judge the world by fire.

. Praise the Lord, O my soul! I will praise the Lord, while I live; and in the flesh, I shall see God;
* When thou shalt come to judge the world by fire.

. When God the Son of the Virgin, shall come to judge the world, he will say to the just on his right hand: Come, my beloved children, I have prepared a kingdom to be given unto you. O happy word! happy promise! Happy Giver! and happy gift!
* When heaven and earth are to be moved.

. After this, he will say to them that are on his left: I know you not, ye workers of iniquity: the glory of the world deceived you; go to that deep abyss with the devil and his ministers. O what grief! what sadness! what wailing! what weeping!
* When thou shalt come to judge the world by fire.

. Even now the King is preparing for his judgement; the day, terrible beyond all thought, is at hand; and who will be our refuge? The Virgin Mother, the hope of all May she pray to her Son for us! O Jesus, our King, hear, we beseech thee, our prayers, and we shall be saved.
* When heaven and earth are to bo moved.

. O God, the Creator of all things, who hast formed me from the slimo of the earth, and hast wonderfully redeemed me by thine own Blood, and on the day of judgement wilt make this my now corruptible body to rise again from the grave; hear, oh hear me, and mercifully lead my soul into the bosom of thy patriarch Abraham;
* When thou shalt come to judge the world by fire.

Prayer from the Ambrosian Liturgy
(In the third week of Advent)

Omnipotens Christe, Fili Dei, in die Nativitatis tuæ propitius ad salvandum in te populum veni: ut benignitate solita, ab omni dubietate, et metu temporis nos jubeas liberari. Qui vivis et regnas, &c.


O Jesus, almighty Son of God, mercifully come and save thy people on the day of thy Nativity; and deign, with thy wonted compassion, to deliver us from all the anxieties and fears of this present time. Who livest and reignest for ever and ever.


[1] St. Luke xii. 20.

From Dom Guéranger's The Liturgical Year.

Regem venturum Dominum, venite, adoremus.

De Isaia Propheta.

. 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.


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.


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.