Saturday, December 27, 2008

Our Blessed Lady's Saturday

The Madonna's Lullaby
by Saint Alphonsus Liguori

Mary sings, the ravished heavens
Hush the music of their spheres;
Soft her voice, her beauty fairer
Than the glancing stars appears;
While to Jesus, slumbering nigh,
Thus she sings her lullaby:

"Sleep, my Babe, my God, my Treasure,
Gently sleep; but ah! the sight
With its beauty so transports me,
I am dying with delight;
Thou canst not Thy mother see,
Yet Thou breathest flames to me.

"If within your lids unfolded,
Slumbering eyes, Thou seemest so fair;
When upon my gaze Thou doth open,
How shall I Thy beauty bear?
Ah! I tremble when Thou wakes,
Lest my heart with love should break.

Cheeks than sweetest roses sweeter,
Mouth where lurks a smile Divine,
Though the kiss my Babe should waken,
I must press those lips to mine.
Pardon, Dearest, if I say
Mother's love will take no nay."

As she ceased, the gentle Virgin
Clasped the Infant to her breast,
And, upon His radiant forehead
Many a loving kiss impressed.
Jesus woke and on her face
Fixed a look of heavenly grace.

Ah! that look, those eyes, that beauty,
How they pierce the Mother's heart!
Shafts of love from every feature
Through her gentle bosom dart.
Heart of stone! can I behold
Mary's love, and still be cold?

Where, my soul, thy sense, thy reason?
When will these delays be o'er?
All things else, how fair so ever,
Are but smoke: resist no more!
Yes! 'tis done! I yield my arms
Captive to those double charms.

If, alas, O heavenly beauty!
Now so late those charms I learn,
Now at least, and ever, ever
With thy love my heart will burn,
For the Mother and the Child,
Rose and Lily undefiled.

Plant and fruit, and fruit and blossom,
I am theirs, and they are mine;
For no other prize I labor,
For no other bliss I pine.
Love can every pain requite,
Love alone is full delight.


Christmas Wind-Down

Now trees their leafy hats do bare
To reverence Winter's silver hair;
A handsome hostesss, merry host,
A pot of ale now and a toast,
Tobacco and a good coal fire,
Are things this season doth require.

Poor Robin's Almanac, 1684.

Marmion: A Christmas Poem, by Sir Walter Scott

Heap on more wood! – the wind is chill;
But let it whistle as it will,
We’ll keep our Christmas merry still.
Each age has deem’d the new-born year
The fittest time for festal cheer:
Even, heathen yet, the savage Dane
At Iol more deep the mead did drain;
High on the beach his galleys drew,
And feasted all his pirate crew;
Then in his low and pine-built hall
Where shields and axes deck’d the wall
They gorged upon the half-dress’d steer;
Caroused in seas of sable beer;
While round, in brutal jest, were thrown
The half-gnaw’d rib, and marrow-bone:
Or listen’d all, in grim delight,
While Scalds yell’d out the joys of fight.
Then forth, in frenzy, would they hie,
While wildly loose their red locks fly,
And dancing round the blazing pile,
They make such barbarous mirth the while,
As best might to the mind recall
The boisterous joys of Odin’s hall.

And well our Christian sires of old
Loved when the year its course had roll’d,
And brought blithe Christmas back again,
With all his hospitable train.
Domestic and religious rite
Gave honour to the holy night;
On Christmas Eve the bells were rung;
On Christmas Eve the mass was sung:
That only night in all the year,
Saw the stoled priest the chalice rear.
The damsel donn’d her kirtle sheen;
The hall was dress’d with holly green;
Forth to the wood did merry-men go,
To gather in the mistletoe.
Then open’d wide the Baron’s hall
To vassal, tenant, serf and all;
Power laid his rod of rule aside
And Ceremony doff’d his pride.
The heir, with roses in his shoes,
That night might village partner choose;
The Lord, underogating, share
The vulgar game of ‘post and pair’.
All hail’d, with uncontroll’d delight,
And general voice, the happy night,
That to the cottage, as the crown,
Brought tidings of salvation down.

The fire, with well-dried logs supplied,
Went roaring up the chimney wide;
The huge hall-table’s oaken face,
Scrubb’d till it shone, the day to grace,
Bore then upon its massive board
No mark to part the squire and lord.
Then was brought in the lusty brawn,
By old blue-coated serving-man;
Then the grim boar’s head frown’d on high,
Crested with bays and rosemary.
Well can the green-garb’d ranger tell,
How, when, and where, the monster fell;
What dogs before his death to tore,
And all the baiting of the boar.
The wassel round, in good brown bowls,
Garnish’d with ribbons, blithely trowls.
There the huge sirloin reek'd; hard by
Plum-porridge stood, and Christmas pie;
Nor fail’d old Scotland to produce,
At such high tide, her savoury goose.
Then came the merry makers in,
And carols roar’d with blithesome din;
If unmelodious was the song,
It was a hearty note, and strong.
Who lists may in their mumming see
Traces of ancient mystery;
White shirts supplied the masquerade,
And smutted cheeks the visors made;
But, O! what maskers, richly dight,
Can boast of bosoms half so light!
England was merry England, when
Old Christmas brought his sports again.
‘Twas Christmas broach’d the mightiest ale;
‘Twas Christmas told the merriest tale;
A Christmas gambol oft could cheer
The poor man’s heart through half the year

"Now capons and hens, beside turkeys, geese, and ducks, with beef and mutton- must all die- for in twelve days a multitude of people will not be fed with a little. Now plums and spice, sugar and honey, square it among pies and broth. Now or never must music be in tune, for the youth must dance and sing to get them a heat, while the aged sit by the fire. The country maid leaves half her market, and must be sent again, if she forgets a pack of cards on Christmas eve. Great is the contention of holly and ivy, whether master or dame wears the breeches. Dice and cards benefit the butler; and if the cook do not lack wit, he will sweetly lick his fingers."

A Christmas Carol, by George Wither

So now is come our joyful feast,
Let every man be jolly;
Each room with ivy leaves is dressed,
And every post with holly.
Though some churls at our mirth repine,
Round your foreheads garlands twine,
Drown sorrow in a cup of wine,
And let us all be merry.

Now all our neighbors' chimneys smoke,
And Christmas blocks are burning;
Their ovens they with baked meats choke,
And all their spits are turning.
Without the door let sorrow lie,
And if for cold it hap to die,
We'll bury it in a Christmas pie,
And evermore be merry.

Now every lad is wondrous trim,
And no man minds his labor;
Our lasses have provided them
A bagpipe and a tabor.
Young men and maids, and girls and boys,
Give life to one another's joys;
And you anon shall by their noise
Perceive that they are merry.

Rank misers now do sparing shun,
Their hall of music soundeth;
And dogs thence with whole shoulders run,
So all things aboundeth.
The country-folk themselves advance,
For crowdy-mutton's come out of France;
And Jack shall pipe and Jill shall dance,
And all the town be merry.

Ned Swatch hath fetched his bands from pawn,
And all his best apparel;
Brisk Nell hath bought a ruff of lawn
With droppings of the barrel.
And those that hardly all the year
Had bread to eat or rags to wear,
Will have both clothes and dainty fare,
And all the day be merry.

Now poor men to the justices
With capons make their errands;
And if they hap to fail of these,
They plague them with their warrants.
But now they feed them with good cheer,
And what they want they take in beer,
For Christmas comes but once a year,
And then they shall be merry.

Good farmers in the country nurse
The poor, that else were undone;
Some landlords spend their money worse,
On lust and pride at London.
There the roisters they do play,
Drab and dice their land away,
Which may be ours another day;
And therefore let's be merry.

The client now his suit forbears,
The prisoner's heart is eased;
The debtor drinks away his cares,
And for the time is pleased.
Though others' purses be more fat,
Why should we pine or grieve at that;
Hang sorrow, care will kill a cat,
And therefore let's be merry.

Hark how the wags abroad do call
Each other forth to rambling;
Anon you'll see them in the hall,
For nuts and apples scrambling;
Hark how the roofs with laughter's sound,
Anon they'll think the house goes round;
For they the cellar's depths have found,
And there they will be merry.

The wenches with their wassail-bowls
About the streets are singing;
The boys are come to catch the owls,
The wild mare in is bringing.
Our kitchen boy hath broke his box,
And to the dealing of the ox
Our honest neighbors come by flocks,
And here they will be merry.

Now kings and queens poor sheep-cotes have,
And mate with everybody;
The honest now may play the knave,
And wise men play at noddy.
Some youths will now a mumming go,
Some others play at Rowland-hoe,
And twenty other gameboys moe;
Because they will be merry.

Then wherefore in these merry days
Should we, I pray, be duller?
No, let us sing some roundelays
To make our mirth the fuller.
And whilst we thus inspired sing,
Let all the streets with echoes ring;
Woods, and hills, and everything
Bear witness we are merry.


Friday, December 26, 2008

Hunting The Wren

The Clancy Brothers (Minus Tommy Makem, but with Bobby Clancy) on the Mike Doulgas Show

Liam Clancy in an early solo version

And just so that your Irish Christmas needs don't go unfulfilled, here are the Clancy Brothers singing Jingle Bells In Gaelic:

The West Clare Wren Boys. West Clare: I wonder if the assembly includes any Fitzpatricks from Ennis


Friday At the Foot Of the Cross

What Child Is This?
Verse 1:

What Child is this Who, laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?

Chorus 1:

This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Verse 2:

Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.

Chorus 2:

Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross He bore for me, for you
Hail, hail, the Word Made Flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

Verse 3:

So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.

Chorus 3:

Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.


Saint Stephen The Proto-Martyr

The Catholic Encyclopedia

The Golden Legend


Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

For me, Christmas Eve is the holiest time of the year, saving only the Easter Triduum.

It is a time for beginning the Christmas feast, after the first Christmas Masses have been said. It is the occasion for opening a single Christmas Eve gift, for reading the Nativity Story, for putting the Chrisat Child in the crib, for lighted candles, enjoying the Christmas Tree, and the most treasured Christmas albums, lighting the single white candle in the center of the Advent wreath. It is a night of hanging stockings, leaving cookies and milk for old Saint Nick, for roast beef and Yorkshire Pudding, for eggnog and mince pie. It is a time for family and homely entertainment amid holly and ivy, candles (even if electric) in the window, and for peace.

After the dinner on Christmas Eve, it is the time to sit back. The frantic pace of shopping, baking, cooking, wrapping, sending greetings, and entertaining is over. The spiritual preparation is done as well. A good confession has been made, and God willing, you can be housled in something close to a state of grace, baring only the veial sins committed since the confession. Sometimes, I wish I could just pop into the confessional seconds before receiving the Blessed Sacrament, as that is the only way this sinner can be clean enough for Him.

Days of rest are ahead. Now is the time to be with those you love best. The anxiety and stress of modern Christmas is a thing of the past.

I wish all of my readers the most Joyous and Blessed Christmas, and the most Happy and Most Prosperous New Year!

Merry Christmas!!!


Christmas With Perry Como

When I was a child, we had 5 Christmas records. Two were by Perry Como. Even Bing came along much later. So Perry has always meant Christmas to me, from the days when I would furtively play the 2 Christmas albums of his in mid-November, to today. And yeah, I also wear button-up cardigan sweaters.

Here he reads T'was The Night Before Christmas

The Twelve Days Of Christmas

Do You Hear What I Hear?

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen

Ave Maria


A Christmas Salute To Celtic Woman

In the Bleak Midwinter/The First Noel

The Wexford Carol

Ding Dong Merrily On High

O Holy Night


Tuesday, December 23, 2008

O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster,
exspectatio Gentium, et Salvator earum:
veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus noster.

O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver,
the hope of the nations and their Saviour:
Come and save us, O Lord our God.

Isaiah had prophesied:

* "Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Look, the young woman is with child and shall bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel." Isaiah 7:14


Monday, December 22, 2008

More Christmas Tunes I Like

The Holly and the Ivy

A Song Of Bethlehem, from The Chieftains' The Bells Of Dublin album, with the late Burgess Meredith narrating

The Sussex Carol instrumental

Master's In This Hall, by the Mars Hill Madrigal Singers. Turn up the volume as the audio is a little muddy

God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen instrumental


A Trio Of Favorites: Christmas Song Clips

I Saw Three Ships, by Blackmore's Night

Good King Wenceslas, by the Irish Rovers

The Gloucestershire Wassail, coordinated with Beatrix Potter's The Tailor Of Gloucester

Those should get the party started in good old fashion. Because, like Squire Bracebridge, I won't have anything but good old English at Christmas.


O Rex Gentium

O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum,
lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum:
veni, et salva hominem,
quem de limo formasti.

O King of the nations, and their desire,
the cornerstone making both one:
Come and save the human race,
which you fashioned from clay.

Isaiah had prophesied:

* "For a child has been born for us, a son given us; authority rests upon his shoulders; and he is named Wonderful Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

* "He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning-hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war anymore." Isaiah 2:4

Also compare Isaiah 28:16 and Ephesians 2:14


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas At Still River

I dearly love the Immaculate Heart of Mary Chapel at Still River, which is pictured here. I'm overdue for another visit.


Time To Bake the Cookies

OK. I've waited out the Advent Embertide. Now it is time for the joy of Christmas to start seeping through here.

The way Thanksgiving means pies, Christmas means cookies. So let's start with some of my favorite Christmas cookie recipes, which can all be found in the files section of Recta Ratio: The Yahoo Group.

Chambord or Cointreau Brownies
1 bottle of chambord of cointreau liquer
1 box of dark chocolate bronwie mix with syrup packet
ingredients (egg and oil) as specified on the box of brownie mix)

Follow the recipe on the box, except substitute either Cointreau or Chambord for the water called for in the recipe on a 1-for-1 basis (if the recipe calls for 2/3 cup of water, make it 2/3 cup of Chambord or Cointreau).

When the brownies are out of the oven, let them set for about 30 minutes. Then pick rows of holes in the brownies with a fork, corresponding to the lines you will cut with a knife.

Liberally pour (your finger partially covering the opening of the bottle) more of the Chambord or Cointeau over the brownies, but not so much that the brownies will be a sodden mess.

Let the brownies soak up and imbibe the liquer. Then slice off as desired.

Honey Cookies
1C butter
1C sugar
2 eggs
2 C honey
2/3 C water
7 C flour
4 t baking soda
3 t cream of tartar
1 t salt
1 T cinnamon
1 t ginger
1 t nutmeg

Cream the butter and sugar. Add eggs, honey, & water. Add flour to baking soda, cream of tartar, salt, & spices. Add the dry mix to the creamed mix. Blend thoroughly and refrigerate for 1 hour. Roll dough 1/4 inch thick and cut to desired shapes. place on ungreased cookie sheets 2 inches apart. Bake at 350 degrees until cookies are lightly browned. Makes 4-5 dozen cookies depending on the size of the cutters you use.
From Yuletide at Winterthur.

22/3 C sugar
4 C butter
8 eggs
4 T vanilla extract
4 T cinnamon
4 t nutmeg
51/3 C flour

Cream butter and sugar. Add vanilla and egg and mix completely. Blend spices with flour and add to the creamed mixture. Drop from a teaspoon 2 inches apart on a non-stick cookie sheet. Bake at 350 degrees until the edges are golden brown (about 10 minutes, but watch them carefully). Makes 16 dozen small cookies, but the recipe can be easily halved or quartered.
From Yuletide At Winterthur


1/2 cup Honey
1/2 cup Molasses
3/4 cup Sugar, brown
1 Egg
1 tbsp Lemon juice
1 tsp Lemon rind; grated
2 3/4 cups Flour; sifted
1/2 tsp Baking soda
1 tsp Cinnamon, ground
1 tsp Cloves, ground
1 tsp Allspice, ground
1 tsp Nutmeg, ground
1/3 cup Citron; chopped
1/3 cup Nuts; chopped

1 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Water
1/4 cup confectioners Sugar

Mix the honey and molasses; bring to a boil. Remove from the heat and cool thoroughly. Stir in the brown sugar, egg, lemon juice, and lemon rind.

Sift together the flour, baking soda, and spices. Stir into the honey-molasses mixture. Mix in the citron and nuts. Chill the dough overnight.

Roll a small amount at a time, keeping the rest chilled. Roll out to 1/4 inch thickness and cut into oblongs 1 1/2 x 2 1/2 inches. Place about 1 inch apart on a greased baking sheet. Bake in a 400 F (moderate/ hot) oven for 10 to 12 minutes until, when touched lightly, no imprint remains.

While the cookies bake, make the Glazing Icing:
Boil together the sugar and water until the first indication of a thread appears (230F). Remove from the heat. Stir in the confectioners' sugar.

Brush the hot icing thinly over the cookies. (When the icing gets sugary, reheat slightly, adding a little water until clear again.)

makes 6 dozen

Rum Balls
3 cups fine vanilla wafer crumbs
1/2 cup ground pecans
3 tablespoons cocoa
1 cup confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
1/3 cup water
2 teaspoons rum flavored extract
1/4 cup confectioners' sugar

In a medium bowl, mix vanilla wafer crumbs, ground pecans, cocoa, 1 cup confectioners' sugar, corn syrup, water, and rum flavoring together.
Roll mixture into 1 inch balls, and then roll in remaining confectioners' sugar. Store, covered, about a week before serving. They cure, but may need to be rolled a second time in confectioner's sugar befoe serving, as they tend to absorb the sugar.

8 eggs
4 C sugar
8 T anise seed
8 C flour
2 t baking soda
Beat eggs until light, gradually adding sugar and continue beating 15-20 minutes or until batter is thick and lemon-colored. Add anise seed. Combine flur and soda and add to the egg mixture. Blend. Cover the bowl and let stand 15 minutes. Divide the dough into thrids. On a lightly floured surface, roll each section of dough out to an 8-inch square 1/4 inch thick. Let rest 1 minute. Flour your cookie cutters, and press your designs into the dough, cut, and place each cookie on a lightly floured surface. Cover with a towel overnight. Grease cookie sheets, and flour them lightly, brushing off the excess. Align cookies 1/2 inch apart on the sheets (they don't spread). Bake 15-20 minutes at 300 degrees, but do not let the cookies brown. Makes 12 dozen. the recipe can be easily halved. Store in an airtight container. if the cookies become hard, place a slice of apple in the airtight container with them to soften them.
From The Greenfield Village Cookbook


O Oriens

O Oriens,
splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae:
veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

O Morning Star,
splendour of light eternal and sun of righteousness:
Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

Isaiah had prophesied:

* "The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who lived in a land of deep darkness—on them light has shined." Isaiah 9:2

Also compare Isaiah 60:1-2 and Malachi 4:2


The Fourth Sunday Of Advent

From The Liturgical Year, by Abbot Prosper Gueranger, OSB:

WE have now entered into the week which immediately precedes the birth of the Messias. That long-desired coming might be even tomorrow; and at furthest, that is, when Advent is as long as it can be, the beautiful feast is only seven days from us. So that the Church now counts the hours; she watches day and night, and since December 17 her Offices have assumed an unusual solemnity. At Lauds, she varies the antiphons each day; and at Vespers, in order to express the impatience of her desires for her Jesus, she makes use of the most vehement exclamations to the Messias, in which she each day gives Him a magnificent title, borrowed from the language of the prophets.

Today, [1] she makes a last effort to stir up the devotion of her children. She leads them to the desert; she shows them John the Baptist, upon whose mission she instructed them on the third Sunday. The voice of the austere Precursor resounds through the wilderness, and penetrates even into the cities. It preaches penance, and the obligation men are under of preparing by self-purification for the coming of Christ. Let us retire from the world during these next few days; or if that may not be by reason of our external duties, let us retire into the quiet of our own hearts and confess our iniquities, as did those true Israelites, who came, full of compunction and of faith in the Messias, to the Baptist, there to make perfect their preparation for worthily receiving the Redeemer on the day of His appearing to the world.

See, then, with what redoubled earnestness the Church, before opening the book of her great prophet, repeats her invitatory:

The Lord is now nigh; come, let us adore.

From the Prophet Isaias.
Ch. xxxv.

The land that was desolate and impassable shall be glad, and the wilderness shall rejoice, and shall flourish like the lily. It shall bud forth and blossom, and shall rejoice with joy and praise; the glory of Libanus is given to it, the beauty of Carmel and Saron. They shall see the glory of the Lord, and the beauty of our God. Strengthen ye the feeble hands, and confirm the weak knees. Say to the faint-hearted: Take courage, and fear not. Behold your God will bring the revenge of recompense: God Himself will come and will save you. Then shall the eyes of the blind be opened, and the ears of the deaf shall be unstopped. Then shall the lame man leap as a hart, and the tongue of the dumb shall be free: for waters are broken out in the desert, and streams in the wilderness. And that which was dry land, shall become a pool, and the thirsty land springs of water. In the dens where dragons dwelt before shall rise up the verdure of the reed and the bulrush. And a path and a way shall be there, and it shall be called the holy way: the unclean shall not pass over it; and this shall be unto you a straight way, so that fools shall not err therein. No lion shall be there, nor shall any mischievous beast go up by it, nor be found there: but they shall walk there, that shall be delivered. And the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and shall come into Sion with praise, and everlasting joy shall be upon their heads: they shall obtain joy and gladness, and sorrow and mourning shall flee away.

Oh, the joy of Thy coming, dear Jesus! How great it must needs be, when the prophecy says it shall be like an everlasting crown upon our heads. And could it be otherwise? The very desert is to flourish as a lily, and living waters are to gush forth out of the parched land, because their God is coming. Come, O Jesus, come quickly, and give us of that water, which flows from Thy sacred Heart, and which the Samaritan woman, the type of us sinners, asked of Thee with such earnest entreaty. This water is Thy grace; let it rain upon our parched souls, and they too will flourish; let it quench our thirst, and we will run in the way of Thy precepts and examples. Thou, O Jesus, art our way, our path, to God; and Thou art Thyself God; Thou art, therefore, both our way and the term to which our way leads us. We had lost our way; we had gone astray as lost sheep: how great Thy love to come thus in search of us! To teach us the way to Heaven, Thou hast deigned to come down from Heaven, and then tread with us the road which leads to it. No! there shall be no more weak hands, nor feeble knees, nor faint hearts; for we know that it is in love that Thou art coming to us. There is but one thing which makes us sad: our preparation is not complete. We have some ties still to break; help us to do it, O Saviour of mankind! We desire to obey the voice of Thy Precursor, and make plain those rugged paths, which would prevent Thy coming into our hearts, a Divine Infant! Give us to be baptized in the Baptism of the waters of penance; Thou wilt soon follow, baptizing us in the Holy Ghost and love.

The prophet has made us thirst for that clear cool fountain, which he tells us is to spring up on the coming of the Messias; let us ask, together with the Church, for the Dew which will give new life to our hearts, and for the Rain which will make them fruitful.


Drop down Dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One: let the earth be opened and bud forth a Saviour.

Ps. The heavens show forth the glory of God: and the firmament declareth the works of His hands.
V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen.

Drop down Dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One: let the earth be opened and bud forth a Saviour.

In the Collect, the Church implores God to hasten the time of His coming to her assistance; she fears lest, her sins might keep her Spouse from visiting her; she, therefore, prays that this obstacle may be removed by His mercy.

Exert, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy power and come, and succour us by Thy great might: that by the assistance of Thy grace, Thy indulgent mercy may hasten what is delayed by our sins; who livest and reignest God, world without end.

The other Collect of the blessed Virgin, against the persecutors of the Church, and for the Pope, are given in the Mass of the first Sunday of Advent.


Lesson of the Epistle of St. Paul the Apostle to the Corinthians.
Ch. iv.

Brethren, let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and the dispensers of the mysteries of God, Here now it is required among the dispensers that a man be found faithful. But to me it is a very small thing to be judged by you or by man's day: but neither do I judge my own self, For I am not conscious to myself of anything: yet I am not hereby justified: but he that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore judge not before the time, until the Lord come: Who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise from God.

The Church here reminds the people of the dignity of the Christian priesthood. The occasion is an appropriate one, as the ordinations were held yesterday. She also brings before her sacred ministers the obligation they have contracted of being faithful to the duties imposed upon them. But let not the flock judge their pastor; since all, both priest and people, are living in expectation of the day of our Saviour's coming; not only of that second one, for which we are now preparing, but also of that last coming which will be as terrible as the other two are dear to the hearts of men. After having spoken these words of stern admonition, the Church resumes the expressions of her hope and her entreaties for the speedy coming of her Spouse.

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.
Alleluia, alleluia.
V. Come, O Lord, and delay not: release Thy people Israel from their sins. Alleluia.


Sequel of the holy Gospel according to Luke.
Ch. iii.

Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Cæsar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod tetrarch of Galilee, and Philip his brother tetrarch of Iturea and the country of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilina, under the high priests Annas and Caiphas, the word of the Lord came to John, the son of Zachary, in the desert. And he came into all the country about the Jordan, preaching the baptism of penance for the remission of sins: as it was written in the book of the words of Isaias the prophet: A voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare ye the way of the Lord: make straight his paths: every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low: and the crooked shall be made straight, and the rough ways plain: and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

Thou art nigh, O Lord, for the inheritance of Thy people has passed into the hands of the Gentiles, and the land which Thou didst promise to Abraham is now but a province of that vast empire, to which Thine Own is to succeed. The oracles of the prophets are being rapidly fulfilled, each in its turn; the prediction of Jacob himself has been accomplished: the sceptre is taken from Juda. Everything is ready for Thy coming, O Jesus! Thus it is that Thou renewest the face of the earth; deign also, I beseech Thee, to renew my heart, and give me courage during these last few hours of my preparation for receiving Thee. I feel the need I have of withdrawing into solitude, of receiving the baptism of penance, of making straight all my ways: O Divine Saviour, let all this be done in me, that so my joy may be full on the day of Thy coming.
During the Offertory, the Church salutes the ever glorious Virgin, in whose chaste womb is still concealed the Saviour of the world. Give us, O Mary, this God, Who fills thee with Himself and His grace. The Lord is with thee. O incomparable Mother! but the happy hour is rapidly advancing when He will also be with us; for His name is Emmanuel.


Hail, Mary, full of grace: the Lord is with thee: Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.


Hear us, O Lord, we beseech Thee, and being appeased by these offerings, grant they may increase our devotion, and advance our salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Who livest and reignest God, world without end. R. Amen.

The other Secret as on the first Sunday.

During the Communion, the Church, now filled with the God Who has just come into her, borrows the words of Isaias, wherewith to celebrate the praise of the Virgin Mother. The same words apply also to the Church herself, since that same God, Who made Mary His tabernacle, has this instant visited her.


Behold a Virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son: and His name shall be called Emmanuel.


Having received what has been offered to Thee, O Lord, grant, we beseech Thee, that the more frequently we partake of these sacred mysteries, the more our devotion may increase. Through our Lord Jesus Who livest and reignest God, world without end. R. Amen.

The other Postcommunions as on the first Sunday.

1. The fourth Sunday of Advent is called Rorate, from the Introit; but more frequently, Canite tuba, which are the first words of the first responsory of Matins, and of the first antiphon of Lauds and Vespers.


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