31 Meditations for Advent and Christmas: Day Nineteen

19 December 2014

“The King Who is to come; O come let us adore Him.”

19th Day: THE CONDESCENSION OF OUR KING

advent wordsCondescension is the stooping from a higher position, in order to place ourselves on a level with those whose position is a lower one than our own. The good teacher stoops to the level of a learner, in order to become intelligible to him; the prince who loves his people stoops to kindly and familiar intercourse, or comes down from his own level to that of others. What shall we say, then, of the condescension of our King, who was God, co-equal with the Father, when He stooped to our low estate, and came to dwell among those whom He had made out of the dust of the earth? How can we ever appreciate as we ought this debasement of Himself for our sakes?

If our King had for one moment taken the form of one of the archangels, or had appeared for an instant among us clad in a human form of majesty, such a condescension on the part of the Infinite God would have had an infinite value. It would have been an infinite debasement of His glory and dignity. What, then, was the Divine condescension that led Him to hide Himself in the womb of one of His own creatures, to appear as a helpless babe, to grow up as if an ordinary human being, to appear among men as the inferior and the servant of others, and to mix with the sinful worms of earth as His friends and brethren!

But all this did not satisfy Him. He must needs prepare for Himself not merely a humble life, but one of rejection, and insult, and outrage. He desired to stoop as low as He possibly could, to submit to be trampled on, spat upon, and even put to a slave’s death. How strange, with such an example before me, that I should be so unwilling to stoop! It is because I am misled by my pride, and do not see in what true dignity consists.

31 Meditations for Advent and Christmas: Day Eighteen

18 December 2014

“The King Who is to come; O come let us adore Him.”

18th Day: THE EXAMPLE OF OUR KING

letusadorehimnativity1How can we poor, weak and sinful men ever hope to conform ourselves to the example of our King and God, the Spotless Lamb of God? Is not the task an impossible one? No, it is possible, and within our reach, for–

The prevailing feature of His life was unselfishness, and we all can be unselfish if we choose, and love unselfishness, and wish to be ourselves unselfish. To call anyone selfish, is to brand him at once as one whom we cannot love, or even esteem; as a despicable character, and as one whom we shall do well to avoid. On the other hand, a thoroughly unselfish man cannot fail to be loved; there is something very attractive about him; we rejoice in his society; we wish to be like him. And unselfishness is, besides, within everyone’s reach. Hence our King, in giving us a pattern of unselfishness, gives us a pattern of the most attractive of all qualities, and one within everyone’s reach.

Our King in proposing Himself for our example, puts forward another virtue, which we all can imitate, and which in us is but common sense. “Learn of Me,” He says “for I am meek and humble of heart.” Now humility in us is but the esteeming ourselves at our true value; in recognizing that we have nothing good of our own; and that we are therefore to be placed below others, not above them. This we can all practice, and must practice, if we are to be like to our King, who humbled Himself.

The third point in which we can easily imitate our King is obedience. He was obedient in every detail of His life to the will of His eternal Father. If we try in all the particulars of our life to do what God wills, not what we will, we cannot fail to become dear to our King.


† The O Antiphons †

17 December 2014

Thank you to Father John Zuhlsdorf for this succinct & practical piece on the “O” Antiphons which goes from December 17th through December 23rd in Advent.

The O Antiphons developed during the Church’s very first centuries. The writer Boethius (+525) mentions them. By the 8th century they were in use in Rome. There are seven of these special antiphons, and their texts spring from the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures, the Prophetic and Wisdom Books. They are found in the Liturgy of the Hours or older Roman Breviary, which clerics, religious, consecrated virgins, and others use for daily prayer.

The O Antiphons are short prayers sung before and after the Magnificat, the great prayer of Mary in Luke 1:46-55 when coming visit to Elizabeth her cousin the Virgin praised God for His favor wondrous deeds. The Magnificat is sung during Vespers, evening prayer. The O Antiphons begin on 17 December, seven days before the Vigil of Christmas (24 December). The seventh and last antiphon is sung at Vespers on 23 December. They are called the “O Antiphons” because they all begin with the letter-word “O”: they address Jesus by one of His Old Testament titles.  They are fervent prayers asking Our Lord to come to us.

Advent is about the many ways in which the Lord comes.  He came historically at Bethlehem in the fullness of time. In the liturgical year he comes to us sacramentally.  He will come again at the end of the world as Judge of the living and the dead.  Christ comes to us also in the two-fold consecration of the Body and Blood of Christ by the priest at Holy Mass and, in a special way in a good Holy Communion.  He comes in the person of the priest, who is alter Christus, another Christ.  He comes in the words of Holy Scripture. He also comes in the person of our neighbor, especially those who are in need of the spiritual and corporal works of mercy.

During Advent, John the Baptist has been reminding us in the liturgy to “make straight His paths”. When we come to the Lord in death, or He comes to us in His Second Coming, He will make straight the path whether we have during our earthly lives done our best to straighten it ahead of time or not. Let us now, while we may, make straight the paths by which Christ Jesus comes.

Here are two more interesting notes about these O Antiphons.

The first is not apparent in English, but it can be seen clearly in the official language of the Roman Catholic Church: Latin. The Latin versions of each of the titles of the Messiah are: Sapientia (Wisdom), Adonai (Lord), Radix (Root), Clavis (Key), Oriens (Dawn), Rex (King), and Emmanuel (Emmanuel).  Take the first letters of each of the titles, starting with the last and working back to the first. You spell: EROCRAS or “ero cras… I will be (there) tomorrow”.

The song “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel” is simply a reworking of the seven O Antiphons. When you sing it, you are joining yourself to a vast throng of Christians stretching back across centuries and spanning the whole of the earth who prayed as all Christians do, “Come, Lord Jesus!” (Rev 22:20)

Here are the O Antiphons for each of the next week in Advent. To pray these enriches your Christmas prayer life…

17 Dec. O Sapientia
18 Dec. O Adonai
19 Dec. O Radix Jesse
20 Dec. O Clavis David
21 Dec. O Oriens
22 Dec. O Rex Gentium
23 Dec. O Emmanuel

This is my favorite week in the Christmas Season. These antiphons express the true meaning of why we wish each other Merry Christmas…

Ad Majorem Dei Gloriam,
Sofia


Advent Embertide

17 December 2014

Genesis 8:22 “All the days of the earth, seedtime and harvest,
cold and heat, summer and winter, night and day, shall not cease.”

AbelGrimmer1607-winter

Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after Gaudete Sunday (3rd Sunday of Advent) are known as “Advent Embertide,” and they come near the beginning of the Season of Winter (December, January, February). Liturgically, the readings for the days’ Masses follow along with the general themes of Advent, opening up with Wednesday’s Introit of Isaias 45: 8 and Psalm 18:2 :

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just: let the earth be opened and bud forth a Savior. The heavens show forth the glory of God: and the firmament declareth the work of His hands.

Wednesday’s and Saturday’s Masses will include one and four Lessons, respectively, with all of them concerning the words of the Prophet Isaias except for the last lesson on Saturday, which comes from Daniel and recounts how Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago are saved from King Nabuchodonosor’s fiery furnace by an angel. This account, which is followed by a glorious hymn, is common to all Embertide Saturdays but for Whit Embertide.

The Gospel readings for the three days concern, respectively, the Annunciation (Luke 1:26-28), Visitation (Luke 1:37-47), and St. John the Baptist’s exhorting us to “prepare the way of the Lord and make straight His paths” (Luke 3:1-6).

The Natural Season

Psalm 147:12, 16-17
“Praise the Lord, O Jerusalem:
praise thy God, O Sion.
Who giveth snow like wool:
scattereth mists like ashes.
He sendeth his crystal like morsels:
who shall stand before the face of his cold?”

Winter is a time of reflection, when human activity is stilled and snow blankets the world with silence. For the Christian, Winter symbolizes Hope: though the world now appears lifeless and makes us think of our own mortality, we hope in our resurrection because of the Resurrection of the One Whose Nativity we await now. How providential that the Christ Child will be born at the beginning of this icy season, bringing with Him all the hope of Spring! Also among our Winter feasts are the Epiphany and Candlemas, two of the loveliest days of the year, the first evoked by water, incense, and gold; the latter by fire…

Yes, despite the typical, unimaginative view of Winter as a long bout with misery, the season is among the most beautiful and filled with charms. The ephemeral beauty of a single snowflake… the pale blue tint of sky reflected in snow that glitters, and gives way with a satisfying crunch under foot… skeletal trees entombed in crystal, white as bones, cold as death, creaking under the weight of their icy shrouds… the wonderful feeling of being inside, next to a fire, while the winds whirl outside… the smell of burning wood mingled with evergreen… warm hands embracing your wind-bitten ones… the brilliant colors of certain winter birds, so shocking against the ocean of white… the wonderfully long nights which lend themselves to a sense of intimacy and quiet! Go outside and look at the clear Winter skies ruled by Taurus, with the Pleiades on its shoulder and Orion nearby… Such beauty!

Even if you are not a “winter person,” consider that Shakespeare had the right idea when he wrote in “Love’s Labours Lost”:

Why should proud summer boast
Before the birds have any cause to sing?
Why should I joy in an abortive birth?
At Christmas I no more desire a rose
Than wish a snow in May’s new-fangled mirth;
But like of each thing that in season grows.

Source: Fisheaters


31 Meditations for Advent and Christmas: Day Seventeen

17 December 2014

“The King Who is to come; O come let us adore Him.”

17th Day: OUR KING AS OUR TEACHER

adoreOur King is not only our Master and Ruler, but also our Teacher in all that is of the greatest importance to our welfare. He says of Himself: “For this I came into the world, that I might give testimony to the truth.” He is always ready to teach us, if we look to Him for instruction and guidance. We cannot go wrong, so long as we carry out His precepts, and conform our opinions to what He has revealed to us. All our errors arise either from our ignorance, or from our ears being dulled by the din of the world, or by self-will and self-love, which deafen our ears to His voice when He teaches us what is true and right.

But it is not safe to trust to what we think is His voice speaking within us. It is easy here to deceive ourselves and to fancy we hear His voice, when we really are listening to the echoes of our own prejudices, or our own self-will. He has therefore provided an external voice, whose teaching none can mistake. His Priests and Bishops execute His authority. “He who hears you,” He says, “hears Me.” Am I thoroughly loyal to the Church in all her teaching, accepting it with unquestioning faith as the voice of my King and Master, Jesus Christ?

Our King also teaches us through the pages of Holy Scripture, of which God is the Author, and especially by all the discourses and parables, as recorded by the Evangelists. All these we must treasure up in our hearts as jewels of truth, and faithfully obey as the commands of our King. When we are not certain of their meaning, we must seek an explanation from those who teach in our King’s name, and accept it in a loyal spirit of submission.

Source: Catholic Harbor of Faith and Morals


Ember Wednesday in Advent – Let’s Do it! Link to Live Mass at 9am EST

17 December 2014

Ember Wednesday in Advent
Feria IV Quattuor temporum in Adventu ~ II. classis
Missa ‘Roráte coeli’
2nd Class
Violet
[Common Preface or Preface of Advent; Preces]

Full Fast/Partial Abstinence – refer to post here for rules.

Fra Angelico

(To follow the Mass LIVE in the Extraordinary Form, please click HERE
Livestreamed from Christ the King Roman Catholic Church in Florida, an FSSP parish at 9 AM EST –
Mass goes live ten mins before Mass)

Propers of the Mass for Ember Wednesday

[STATION AT ST. MARY MAJOR’S]

On the Wednesday of Ember Week in Advent, the Mystery of the Annunciation is commemorated by many Churches. The Mass is sung early in the morning. That Mass is sometimes called the Golden Mass, Rorate Mass or Messias Mass. On that occasion the Church is illuminated as a token that the world was still in darkness when the Light of the world appeared. The Mass is called the Golden Mass possibly because in the Middle Ages the whole of the Mass or at least the initial letters were written in gold, or on account of the golden magnificence of the solemnity or more probably on account of the special, great, “golden” grace which, at that time, is obtained by the numerous prayers. It is called Rorate Mass after the first words of the Introit of the Mass: Rorate Coeli, and Messias Mass because of the Church, like Our Lady, expresses on that day her longing for the arrival of the Messias.

INTROIT ¤ Isaias 45. 8
Rorate, coeli, desuper, et nubes pluant iustum: aperiatur terra, et germinet Salvatorem. — Coeli enarrant gloriam Dei: et opera manuum eius annuntiat firmamentum. V.: Gloria Patri et Filio et Spiritui Sancto. Sicut erat in principio et nunc et semper, et in saecula saeculorum. Amen. Rorate, coeli, desuper, et nubes pluant iustum: aperiatur terra, et germinet Salvatorem. Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just: let the earth be opened and bud forth a Savior. — (Ps. 18. 2). The heavens show forth the glory of God: and the firmament declareth the work of His hands. V.: Glory 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. Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just: let the earth be opened and bud forth a Savior.

COLLECT
S. Oremus. Priest: Let us pray.
V. Flectamus genua Deacon: Let us kneel.
R. Levate. Subdeacon: Arise.
Praesta, quaesumus, omnipotens Deus: ut redemptionem nostrae ventura solemnitas, et praesentis nobis vitae subsidia conferat, et aeternae beatitudinis praemia largiatur. Per Dominum nostrum, Iesum Christum, Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Grant, we beseech Thee, almighty God, that the coming solemnity of our redemption may both confer upon us assistance in this present life and bestow the rewards of everlasting blessedness. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.

LESSON ¤ Isaias 2. 2-5
Lesson from the Book of the Prophet Isaias.
Lectio Isaiae Prophetae.
[Description of the Holy Catholic Church by the prophet Isaias.]
In diebus illis, dixit Isaias Propheta: 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 Iacob, et docebit nos vias suas, et ambulabimus in semitis eius: quia de Sion exibit lex et verbum Domini de Hierolysimam. Et iudicabit gentes et arguet populos multos: et conflabunt gladios suos in vomeres, et lanceas suas in falces. Non levabit gens contra gentem gladium: nec exercebuntur ultra ad proelium. Domus Iacob, venite, et ambulemus in lumine Domini. In those days, the prophet Isaias said: In the last days the mountain of the Lord shall be prepared on the top of the 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. And He shall judge the Gentiles and rebuke many people: and they shall turn their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into sickles. Nation shall not lift up sword against nation: neither shall they be exercised any more to war. O house of Jacob, come ye, and let us walk in the light of the Lord our God.

GRADUAL ¤ Ps. 23. 7, 3, 4

Tollite portas, principes, vestras: et elevamini portae aeternales: et introibit Rex gloriae. V.: Quis ascendit in montem Domini? aut quis stabit in loco sancto eius? Innocens manibus et mundo corde. Lift up your gates, O ye princes: and be ye lifted up, O eternal gates: and the King of glory shall enter in. V.: Who shall ascend into the mountain of the Lord? or who shall stand in His holy place? The innocent in hands and clean of heart.

COLLECT
Dominus vobiscum is here said without Flectamus genua.
Festina quaesumus, Domine, ne tardaveris, et auxilium nobis supernae virtutis impende; ut adventus tui consolationibus subleventur, qui in tua pietate confidunt. Qui vivis et regnas, cum Deo Patri, in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. Hasten, we beseech Thee, O Lord, tarry not: and grant us the help of Thy heavenly power, that they who trust in Thy loving kindness may be relieved by the consolations of Thy coming. Who livest and reignest, with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.

LESSON ¤ Isaias 7. 10-15

Lesson from the Book of the Prophet Isaias.
Lectio Isaiae Prophetae.
[A Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and His Name shall be called Emmanuel.]
In diebus illis: Locutus est Dominus 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 molestis estis et Deo meo? Propter hoc dabit Dominus ipse vobis signum. Ecce virgo concipiet, et pariet filium, et vocabitur nomen eius Emmanuel. Butyrum et mel comedet, ut sciat reprobare malum, et eligere bonum. In those days the Lord spoke 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. He shall eat butter and honey, that He may know to refuse the evil, and to choose the good.

GRADUAL ¤ Ps. 144. 18, 21
Prope est Dominus omnibus invocantibus eum, omnibus qui invocant eum in veritate. V.: Laudem Domini loquetur os meum: et benedicat omnis caro nomen sanctum eius. The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call upon Him in truth. V.: My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord: and let all flesh bless His holy Name.

GOSPEL ¤ Luke 1. 26-28
Continuation of the holy Gospel according to St. Luke.
Sequentia sancti Evangelii secundum Lucam.
[Gospel of the Annunciation by the Angel to the Blessed Virgin Mary.]
In illo tempore: Missus est Angelus Gabriel a Deo in civitatem Galilaeae, cui nomen Nazareth, ad Virginem desponsatam viro, cui nomen erat Ioseph, de domo David, et nomem Virginis Maria. Et ingressus Angelus ad eam, dixit: Ave gratia plena: Dominum tecum: benedicta tu in mulieribus. Quae cum audisset, turbata est in sermone eius: et cogitabat qualis esset ista salutatio. Et ait Angelus ei: Ne timeas, Maria, invenisti enim gratiam apud Deum: ecce concipies in utero, et paries filium, et vocabis nomen eius Iesum. Hic erit magnus, et Filius Altissimi vocabitur, et dabit illi Dominus Deus sedem David patris eius: et regnabit in domo Iacob in aeternum, et regni eius non erit finis. Dixit autem Maria ad Angelum: Quomodo fiet istud, quoniam virum non cognosco? Et respondens Angelus, dixit ei: Spiritus Sanctus superveniet in te, et virtus Altissimi obumbrabit tibi. Ideoque et quod nascetur ex te Sanctum, vocabitur Filius Dei. Et ecce Elizabeth cognata tua, et ipsa concipit filium in senectute sua: et hic mensis sextus est illi, quae vocatur sterilis: quia non erit impossibile apud Deum omne verbum. Dixit autem Maria: Ecce ancilla Domini, fiat mihi secundum verbum tuum. At that time the Angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the Angel being come in, said unto her: Hail, full of grace: the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. Who having heard, was troubled at his saying: and thought with herself what manner of salutation this should be. And the Angel said to her: Fear not, Mary, for thou hast found grace with God: behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call His name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Most High, and the Lord God shall give unto Him 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. And Mary said to the Angel: How shall this be done, because I know not man? And the Angel answering, said to her: The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Most High shall overshadow thee. And therefore also the Holy which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And behold thy cousin Elizabeth, she also hath conceived a son in her old age; and this is the sixth month with her that is called barren; because no work shall be impossible with God. And Mary said: Behold the handmaid of the Lord, be it done to me according to thy word.

OFFERTORY ¤ Isaias 35. 4
Confortamini, et iam nolite timere: ecce enim Deus noster retribuet iudicium: ipse veniet ut salvos nos faciet. Take courage, and now fear not: for behold our God will bring judgment: He Himself will come and will save us.

SECRET
Accepta tibi sint, quaesumus, Domine, nostra ieiunia: quae et expiando nos tua gratia dignos efficiant, et ad sempiterna promissa perducant. Per Dominum nostrum, Iesum Christum, Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. May our fasts, we beseech Thee, O Lord, be acceptable unto Thee, and by expiating our sins, make us worthy of Thy grace, and bring us to Thine everlasting promises. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.

PREFACE

The Common Preface
Vere dignum et iustum est, aequum et salutare, nos tibi semper, et ubique gratias agere: Domine sancte, Pater omnipotens, aeterne Deus: per Christum Dominum nostrum. Per quem maiestatem tuam laudant Angeli, adorant Dominationes, tremunt Potestates. Coeli, coelorumque Virtutes, ac beata Seraphim socia exsultatione concelebrant. Cum quibus et nostras voces, ut admitti iubeas, deprecamur, supplici confessione dicentes: It it truly meet and just, right and for our salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks unto Thee, O holy Lord, Father almighty, everlasting God, through Christ our Lord. Through whom the Angels praise Thy Majesty, the Dominations worship it, the Powers stand in awe. The heavens and the heavenly hosts together with the blessed Seraphim in triumphant chorus unite to celebrate it. Together with them, we entreat Thee, that Thou mayest bid our voices also to be admitted, while we say in lowly praise:

COMMUNION ¤ Isaias 7. 14

Ecce Virgo concipiet et pariet Filium: et vocabitur nomen eius Emmanuel. Behold a Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son: and His name shall be called Emmanuel.

POSTCOMMUNION

Salutaris tui, Domine, munere satiati supplices deprecamur: ut, cuius laetamur gustu, renovemur effectu. Per Dominum nostrum, Iesum Christum, Filium tuum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in unitate Spiritus Sancti Deus, per omnia saecula saeculorum. O Lord, we humbly beseech Thee, that being filled with the gift of Thy salvation, we may be renewed by the effect of that which we taste with joy. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end.

Thanks to Traditional Latin Mass in Maryland blog for the info!


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