Monday, December 31, 2012

The Eschatos

Christ is Emmanuel, God-with-us, Alpha and Omega, the Eschatos, the Fulfilment of all, the Word spoken to us last of all by God (Heb i, 1-2).  His Incarnation is the End and Completion of all.  Christian worship is not merely a happy remembrance of past events (what a Protestant notion), nor but a glance toward the last things (the Eschaton, or more properly, ta eschata), but an immersion in Him Who Is, the Eschatos, namely, Our Lord Jesus Christ, the one Liturgist, the Leitourgos (Heb viii, 2) – trust no other! – in Whom we have a participation in the economy of salvation, in His mighty acts past, present, and to come.

For this reason, amongst others, the churches of the Byzantine tradition very often address their prayers to "Christ our God", whereas the Holy Roman Church keeps in the main to the still older tradition whereby prayers are addressed to God the Father. The insights of both East and West coincide, of course, when considering the centrality of the Enfleshment of the Divine Word.  To-day's Collect at Mass, for the 31st of December, the 7th day of the Christmas Octave (found in both the Hadrianum and the Leonine Sacramentary, and thus dating back to the 7th century at least), repays much careful consideration in its magnificent encapsulation of this mystery:
Omnipotens sempiterne Deus, qui in Filii tui nativitate tribuisti totius religionis initium perfectionemque constare, da nobis, quæsumus, in ejus portione censeri, in quo totius salutis humanæ summa consistit. Per...
This may be rendered as:
Almighty everlasting God, Who hast given, in the birth of Thy Son, the beginning and end of all religion to consist, grant us, we beg, in His portion to be reckoned, in Whom the sum of the whole of human salvation doth consist. Through...
Similarly, but not quite so painfully literally, the new translation of the modern Missal englishes the Latin original thus:
Almighty ever-living God, who in the Nativity of your Son established the beginning and fulfilment of all religion, grant, we pray, that we may be numbered among those who belong to him, in whom is the fulness of human salvation. Through...
Note the Latin particularly: in Filii tui nativitate... totius religionis initium perfectionemque constare – the beginning and the perfection of all religion consists in the birth, or, rather, in the Incarnation, of the Son of God Almighty and Eternal.  "Nativity", "birth" must be understood in the sense of the first unveiling of the Incarnation to human eyes (though known first by faith, then by revelation, and then by joyful interior awareness to the Most Holy Virgin at the Annunciation; and a little later to St Joseph), when Christ was born at Bethlehem, the "House of Bread".  The Incarnation is totius religionis initium perfectionemque; just as in due measure the Eucharistic Sacrifice, whereby He, the Eschatos, becomes present to us, in an extension of His Incarnation as it were, is the "source and summit" of Christian worship:
...Liturgia est culmen ad quod actio Ecclesiæ tendit et simul fons unde omnis ejus virtus emanat. ("...the liturgy is the summit toward which the activity of the Church is directed; at the same time it is the font from which all her power flows.") 
— Sacrosanctum Concilium, 10.
While in many and varied ways God spoke to us through His prophets of old, in the fulness of time He spoke to us, lastly, in His Son, His Word, Who for us took flesh, and became the Verbum abbreviatum, the Infinite confined in a Body, God the Son become the Son of Man. (Like the TARDIS, Christ is "bigger on the inside"...)  As St John of the Cross rightly asks, why seek for some further or other communication from on High, when the Most Highest has spoken His Eternal Word to us?  In Christ is all the fulness of Divinity; He is the definitive revelation of the Father.

But there is still more to consider in this Collect, for its first phrase is paralleled by its last: in quo totius salutis humanæ summa consistit – in Whom the sum and height and total of all of human salvation is found, exists, consists.  For there is no other salvation than that found in Christ our God.  Note the repetition of the verb: constare, consistit.  Note the repetition of totius.  Note the paralleling of perfectionem and summa.

Religion, in St Augustine's words, is that by which man is "re-bound" to God, as if derived from re-ligare.  Hence, if the Nativity of Christ, the birth of the Incarnate God, is the beginning and the end of all religion, all re-connecting of man to the All-Highest, then of course in Him and His Nativity is found likewise the totius salutis humanæ summa.  These terms again parallel each other.

Therefore, what we pray for is detailed in the middle of the Collect: that we may have some part and share in Him.  Glory be to Christ, in Whom all glory is to God on high, and all peace to men of good will, those who enjoy His grace and favour.

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Our Participation in Angelic Worship

"God... by the Incarnation brought together the heavenly and earthly realm" (Solemn Blessing of Christmas).

Fr Paul, O.P., the visiting priest at the Launceston Carmel and an old friend of mine, preached at the Dawn Mass on sacred music as our share in angelic worship. He noted that the Gospel of the Midnight Mass ended with a great throng of the heavenly host singing Gloria in excelsis (St Luke ii, 14), while the Dawn Gospel began by speaking of what the shepherds next did, the angels having gone back to heaven (ibid., verse 15): it thus appears that the celestial choirs were engaged in chanting hymns of adoration all the night long.  Indeed, ceaseless is their worship; many a Preface makes reference to this fact: how appropriate, therefore, to take us this liturgical hint and contemplate it in the new light of Christmas morn.

God the Word having taken on our mortal flesh, heaven is joined to earth; so, too, we men of earth may lift our voices in company with the angels, and join – here and now in foretaste, in all liturgical worship and, above all, at Mass; one day, please God, in endless fulfilment in the kingdom of heaven – in their unending praise of the Most High and Thrice-Holy.  They sing, fundamentally, in adoration of God as He Is, Triune, a Communion of infinite Love, Three Persons in One God evermore; they sing in praise of His mighty work of Creation; they sing, having beheld the Christmas Mystery and its completion at Easter, of God's still more prodigious work whereby the Almighty united heaven to earth for the salvation of mankind, that on earth there may be pax hominibus bonæ voluntatis.  In the words of the eschatocol of the first, the traditional Christmas Preface:
And so, with Angels and Archangels, with Thrones and Dominions, and with all the hosts and Powers of heaven, we sing the hymn of [God's] glory, as without end we acclaim...
Inter alia, I was amused that Fr Paul mentioned Pope Telesphorus as the Supreme Pontiff to whom is attributed the command to sing Gloria in excelsis at Christmas.  For I recall only one other priest who ever mentioned Telesphorus – it was my old parish priest Fr Jarrett, now a bishop, who, when years ago I, yes, too pedantically, queried why there had been no Gloria at Mass that Sunday, replied, firmly tongue in cheek (having been momentarily forgetful at Mass, and begun the Collect directly the choir finished the Kyrie that day), that I ought really recall that Pope Telesphorus had died on that day, and therefore Holy Mother Church sings no Gloria on his anniversary!

The Gloria in excelsis, the Angelic Hymn or Greater Doxology, begins of course by making our own the song of the angels recorded in Holy Writ, and then adds many phrases drawn from Sacred Scripture and Tradition.  At Mass at Carmel (as always when it is sung, and likewise the Kyrie, Sanctus and Agnus Dei) the Gloria had been chanted in the age-old Latin; Fr Paul reminded us that it is good and proper to value highly and rediscover the Church's patrimony of sacred music, especially in this Year of Faith, for Vatican II, fifty years ago, by no means called for a neglect of what it itself named and lauded as a great treasure; he reminded us that the Supreme Pontiff now gloriously reigning, no less than the Zeitgeist active among younger Catholics, seeks to cultivate and reconnect with these immemorial harmonies as a most fitting mode wherein to praise God, Who inspires all beauty.

Most of both Masses at Midnight and Dawn – certainly the Collect, the Preface, and so forth, but also the Gospel itself – were chanted by priest and people, thus singing to the Lord, in consonance with our morning homily.  Hearing the Nativity Gospels sung made one listen more carefully to each phrase; the texts' solemnity impressed on the mind by their ceremonial presentation as itself a ritual act, a principal part of Divine service. Worship is a lifting of the whole person to God by His grace, and this necessarily involves our minds, our hearts, our voices, our bodies and all that is ours, for we are both flesh and spirit in complex unity.

At the end of Mass, the Solemn Blessing reminded us that "God... by the Incarnation brought together the heavenly and earthly realm".  Last night, driving home after Midnight Mass, I spontaneously sang over the words of the recessional hymn, "O little town of Bethlehem", with its quiet assurance of salvation for those who receive the Christ Child in faith and truth:

O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie!
Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.
Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light;
The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight. 
For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above,
While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love.
O morning stars together, proclaim the holy birth,
And praises sing to God the King, and peace to men on earth! 
How silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is giv’n;
So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His Heav’n.
No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,
Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in. 
O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;
Cast out our sin, and enter in, be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Last Day of Advent

At early Mass, Fr Paul reminded us of that grief of separation from the Lord that the Church feels now, in these last days, between His Ascension and Second Advent. We yearn to be with the Lord; Communion, the Blessed Sacrament, is the foretaste and promise of this everlasting abiding with Him – hence Mass, a glimpse of heaven here below (till sacraments shall cease) is a pledge of what shall be forevermore, the Nuptial Banquet and Union with the Triune God through Christ.

Advent is not merely about getting ready for Christmas; as Parsch said (or was it Jungmann?), the Liturgical Year does not so much begin with Advent as end with it – end with it, and with Christmastide, finally concluding with the Presentation and old Simeon's Nunc dimittis.  The Year of Grace may be said to begin with Septuagesima, with Genesis telling of Creation and the Fall: Advent and Christmastide is the presage of the Second Coming, and of everlasting bliss in the Kingdom that shall have no end.

We ought not just look backward in sentiment, as look forward in hope tempered with holy fear: the Lord shall come, and all His Saints with Him, and He shall restore Jerusalem. Christ's coming in flesh in the last days is the guarantee that, His warfare ended, having run the race from womb to tomb, soon He shall return in glory, to judge the living and the dead and the world by fire: His Sacred Humanity, the first fruits of bodily resurrection and eternal deification for all who shall be found in Him.

A blessed Christmas to all: prepare yourselves, for in the morning the glory of the Lord shall shine upon us, and we shall behold His glory, glory as of the Father's Only-begotten Son, full of grace and truth.
Σὺ γὰρ εἶ τὸ ὄντως ἐφετὸν καὶ ἡ ἀνέκφραστος εὐφροσύνη τῶν ἀγαπώντων σε, Χριστὲ ὁ Θεὸς ἡμῶν, καὶ σὲ ὑμνεῖ πᾶσα ἡ κτίσις εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας. Ἀμήν. 
For Thou art that which is truly sought for, and the unutterable gladness of those that love Thee, O Christ our God, and all creation hymneth Thee unto the ages. Amen.

Saturday, December 22, 2012

We have seen the True Light

When from time to time I attend the Divine Liturgy, and am inspired to read over those holy rites again (as I have been doing all week), I am always struck anew by the words of the sticheron sung after Communion:

Εἴδομεν τὸ φῶς τὸ ἀληθινόν, ἐλάβομεν Πνεῦμα ἐπουράνιον, εὕρομεν πίστιν ἀληθῆ, ἀδιαίρετον Τριάδα προσκυνοῦντες, αὕτη γὰρ ἡμᾶς ἔσωσεν. 
We have seen the true light, we have received the heavenly [lit. super-celestial] Spirit, we have found the true Faith, worshipping the undivided [or: indivisible] Trinity: for This [i.e. the Trinity] hath saved us. 
Видехом свет истинный, прияхом Духа Небеснаго, обретохом веру истинную, нераздельней Троице покланяемся, Та бо нас спасла есть.

The Latin edition of the Catechism quotes this text as Vidimus verum Lumen, Spiritum recepimus cælestem, veram fidem invenimus: Trinitatem adoramus indivisibilem quia Ipsa nos salvavit – however, I wonder why it does not more exactly reproduce the word order of the Greek original, nor correctly render προσκυνοῦντες, originally "kissing towards" (in the sense of prostrating oneself in an act of obeisance), later meaning "venerating", as adorantes, "worshipping", not to say procidentes, "falling down before (in worship)" rather than representing it as adoramus, "we worship".

Surely Vidimus lumen verum, recepimus Spiritum (super)cælestem, invenimus fidem veram, indivisibilem Trinitatem adorantes, quia ipsa nos salvavit would be a closer rendering?  The vital point is that it is in worshipping the Trinity that we have seen the true light, received the Spirit, found the Faith: various translations try and emphasise this, phrasing it "by worshipping" or "as we worship". Or, better, let the whole sticheron be reversed: the Trinity has deigned, via the all-wise plan or economy of salvation, to have saved us – worshipping the Same, we have found the true Faith, we have been gifted with the Uncreated Gift of the Holy Ghost, Uncreated Grace engendering supernatural grace that uplifts us beyond our merely natural capacities to become capax Dei; yes, we have beheld the true Light, Who is Christ. 

This pregnant passage, which is originally a sticheron sung at Pentecost Vespers, has always struck me as somehow not quite ad rem at Communion in the narrow sense.  After all, "see[ing] the true light" is if anything more a reference to the Sacrament of Enlightenment, Photismos, that is, Baptism; and "receive[ing] the heavenly Spirit" is likewise more directly a reference to Baptism and Confirmation (which in the East are normally celebrated together). The words fit more directly to the Eastern view of Pentecost as not so much a celebration of the Descent of the Holy Ghost, as of the definitive revelation of the Trinity: participating in this in worship, which both instantiates and transcends the historical event recalled, is to find "the true Faith".

What then of its possible application at Communion time? Of course, Christ is the Light of the world, and we "see" Him in the Sacrament, the Realsymbol of His Real Presence; of course, in receiving Christ, we do receive the Holy Spirit, since no Person of the Trinity is ever without the others, by reason of their perichoresis, their circumincession; of course – in all sacraments and every prayer, above all in the Divine Mysteries that is the Liturgy par excellence – we do find "the true Faith" in "worshipping the undivided Trinity" Who "hath saved us"; but one feels that this is to receive this sacred text an accommodated sense.

Sure enough, the use of this sticheron at every Divine Liturgy (outside of Paschaltide, when different texts are employed) turns out to be a 17th or 18th century addition to the Liturgy – the carefully-preserved liturgical books of the Old Believers know nothing of its use, and it makes its first appearance in the Divine Liturgy in the famous (not to say notorious) liturgicon promulgated by Patriarch Nikon in 1655 for the Russian Church. It did not appear in Greek liturgical books till later; curious, since Nikon was motivated by a mania to conform the Russian Rite to the Greek, not knowing that the Russian Rite in fact preserved an older and arguably purer form of the Byzantine Rite, which the Greeks had innovated away.

There was a strong tendency, especially in those centuries, to interpret each part of the Divine Liturgy as symbolic of some part of Our Lord's life (just as mediæval Westerners likewise allegorised the Roman Mass): the Communion was viewed as symbolic of the Resurrection and Ascension, and of the sending down the Holy Ghost – perhaps this engendered the desire to sing a most appropriate sticheron of Pentecost to cement this understanding.

I find personally that the choral exclamation "We have seen the true light", in its triumphant proclamation of orthodoxy – literally, right worship (of the Trinity) – in the joyful proclamation of adherence to the one true Faith, and indeed sums up the experience of Byzantine worship as an uplifting and sanctifying participation in the life of heaven, a glimpse of the divine beauty. It seems redolent of what Orthodoxy means in all its purity, as also in its prominent references to Christ our God and to the Holy Spirit, paralleling those distinctive emphases of Eastern worship.

Could not the ambassadors sent by Grand Prince Vladimir of Kiev, later to be canonised as St Vladimir, the Enlightener of Russia, having beheld the worship of the Great Church of Hagia Sophia, have cried out in exactly these words? "We have seen the true light, we have received the heavenly Spirit, we have found the true Faith, worshipping the undivided Trinity: for This hath saved us."

Christmas at St Anne's in Perth

My old parish priest, Fr Rowe, sent me this photograph of the sanctuary at St Anne's Church, Belmont, new headquarters of the Latin Mass in Perth, Western Australia. (It also features himself and the two workers who made the altar rail gates and restored the Marian altar, not shown.)

I remember what an ugly sanctuary it was back when it was arranged for the modern Mass: but the forward "Cranmer table" was ripped out, its low platform replaced with a high stepped affair, and a proper high altar put in, with altar rails installed.  Anything iconoclastic done to a church can be reversed.  

Here are the details about Christmas Masses at St Anne's (11 Hehir St, Belmont):

Christmas Eve Monday 24th December: 11.00pm Rosary & Carols, 12.00 Midnight Mass.
Christmas Day Tuesday 25th December 2012: 8.00am Dawn Mass; 10.00am Day Mass. 

Please note confessions are not able to be heard before these Christmas Masses unless arranged with the priest, except during Rosary & Carols at 11.00pm before Mass. (Normally, Fr Rowe hears confessions before all Masses, but at Christmas this is precluded by all the extra burdens.)

New Year’s Day, the Octave Day of Christmas, Tuesday 1st January 2013: Masses at 8.00am & 10.00am & 6.00pm - the plenary indulgence for the faithful who publicly recite the Veni Creator on New Year's Day may be gained on the usual conditions by joining in the singing of this hymn, which will be sung after each of these Masses.

Sunday Masses at St Anne's are as follows: 7.30am, 9.30am, & 11.30am.  (From memory, the 9.30am Mass is the Missa cantata.)

Monday, December 17, 2012


The Russian Catholic parish in Melbourne is flourishing, and has just had the great joy of the ordination of two of its members: Anton Usher to the diaconate, and Justin McDonnell to the subdiaconate – they are both good and devout men, much learned about all matters liturgical, musical and spiritual, and will certainly be a support and ornament to their pastor, Mitred Archpriest Lawrence Cross.

The ordinations took place on Sunday; I was able to fly over to Melbourne for the weekend, and stayed with Justin and his wife Lydia (whom now I address as Hypodiaconissa).  Come Sunday morning, we drove up from the outer suburb where they live, about 40 km (25 miles) to the Russian Catholic church of Holy Trinity-St Nicholas, in the inner suburb of St Kilda East.  This is a former congregationalist church recently purchased and extensively renovated for the use of the Russian Catholic parish, thanks to a most generous grant from the Vatican.  The ladies of the parish were already preparing the celebratory lunch to be had much, much later on... Soon enough, the choir arrived, much supplemented for the occasion by excellent singers from around Melbourne. (The singing was nearly all in English, save for some of the litanies and the Cherubikon.)  Yours truly was employed in menial tasks suited to his capacity, such as peeling hardboiled eggs and putting up party decorations.

His Excellency Robert Rabbat, Bishop of the Greek Melkite Eparchy of Australia and New Zealand came down from Sydney to celebrate the Divine Mysteries. (Unfortunately, the Russian Catholics have had no bishop of their own for many years now).  Both after the subdiaconal ordinations, and before the final prayer at the Divine Liturgy, the good bishop addressed us briefly (Archpriest Lawrence having been delegated to preach the sermon): I was most impressed to hear a bishop so conversant with the Gospels, and so spiritual in his understanding thereof - what a blessing! As he exhorted the congregation, by our prayers we ought help bear the Cross with Anton and Justin, rather than crucify them, as parishioners can.

(I ought add that two Ukrainian priests concelebrated with the Bishop, alongside Archpriest Lawrence, and two deacons attended, one Roman, one Ukrainian Rite - the latter undertaking the deacon's parts, being more adept at the requisite ceremonies.)

Worship began with the Third Hour (mainly in Church Slavonic, but with the Psalms in English) at 10:20 am. His Excellency entered the church for vesting at 10:30 am, an episcopal throne and bema having been erected for the occasion in the midst of the nave. That done, he proceeded to confer the lectorate on Anton; Justin had previously received this minor order. Next, the two men were ordained subdeacons together.

After that, Hierarchical Divine Liturgy began; I noted by my watch that the Epistle was read 90 minutes after we had began. Strangely, or not so strangely, this most elaborate and lengthy worship did not seem to deter at all the 60 or more parishioners and friends who were filling up the nave. I was next to a friend, a seminarian of the local Roman archdiocese; my only complaint was increasingly sore feet as we stood for the whole liturgy.

Most movingly, the order of the diaconate was conferred upon Anton in the appointed manner to me until then unknown - he was ordained directly after the Eucharistic Prayer, just before the Litany leading into the Lord's Prayer. When he came forth after Communion to lead the litany of thanksgiving, all were most glad and edified to see him our new deacon. The Liturgy concluded at 1:35 pm, some three and a quarter hours after our corporate worship commenced.

The ensuing festal lunch was most welcome, as was conversation with many friends new and old.  One of the Latin-Mass-goers who had come along for the occasion (many being friends of Justin) remarked to the effect that the Roman Liturgy moves the mind, but the Byzantine the heart.  I must say, as a Roman who loves the East, that the Divine Liturgy has a power to uplift to heaven the heart even of this poor sinner.

Ἄξιος! Многая Лета!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Off to Melbourne

This weekend finds me in Melbourne, where I will attend a diaconal ordination in the Russian Catholic church there; I will stay with some good friends of mine, and partake of their hospitality.  Please pray for Anton, who will be ordained deacon on Sunday.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Advent Baroque Canticle III

The Baroque, and Advent – what more could you want?  (I am reminded of Bach's Christmas Oratorio, Lutheran though it be, with all its joyful exhuberance and high art, consummating the hoped-for longings of Advent, and of the earlier but just as joyful – and Lutheran – church music of Prætorius.)

The elevation of the chalice, in Baroque style, at a first Mass (note assistant priest in cope);
by the Priestly Fraternity of Saint Peter, available from

The Christmas Novena first sung in Turin in 1720 began with the following canticle; then came the Lætentur cæli and Little Chapter, before the hymn En clara vox (itself consisting of stanzas 1 and 3 of the Advent Lauds hymn, stanzas 2, 3 and 4 of the Christmas Lauds hymn, and a doxology) and the Magnificat with the appropriate O Antiphon (but on the 16th, the Magnificat antiphon Ecce veniet Rex, from the 2nd Monday of Advent, and on the 24th, that day's Magnificat antiphon Cum ortus fuerit). I visualize the whole sung coram Sanctissimo, as would be most fitting. It is clearly a sort of reënvisioning of Vespers, but incorporating many treasures from throughout the Office.

This Canticle is in fact a combination of the Advent Invitatory antiphon of Advent Matins, combined with many Old Testament texts, "prophecies", as digested and recombined to form antiphons and responsories in the Breviary during Advent. I have highlighted any slight modifications made to these texts in order to fit.  (I have appended a hasty translation.)



Antiphona. “Regem venturum Dominum, venite adoremus.”[1]
et repetitur antiphona: Regem venturum Dominum, venite adoremus.

[Composed by Fr Antonio Vacchetta, 1720]

1. “Jucundare, filia Sion, et exulta satis, filia Jerusalem”[2]: “ecce Dominus veniet, et erit in die illa lux magna”[3] et “stillabunt montes dulcedinem, et colles fluent lac et mel,”[4] quia “veniet Propheta magnus, et ipse renovabit Jerusalem.”[5]   R/.

2. “Ecce veniet Deus, et homo de domo David sedere in throno,”[6] “et videbitis, et gaudebit cor vestrum.”[7]           R/.

3. “Ecce veniet Dominus protector noster, Sanctus Israël, coronam regni habens in capite suo, et dominabitur a mari usque ad mare, et a flumine usque ad terminos orbis terrarum.”[8]      R/.

4. “Ecce apparebit Dominus, et non mentietur: si moram fecerit expecta eum, quia veniet et non tardabit.”[9]          R/.

5. “Descendet Dominus sicut pluvia in vellus: orietur in diebus ejus justitia, et abundantia pacis, et adorabunt eum omnes reges” terræ, “omnes gentes servient ei.”[10]          R/.

6. “Nascetur nobis parvulus, et vocabitur Deus fortis, ipse sedebit super thronum David patris sui, et imperabit, cujus potestas super humerum ejus.”[11]            R/.

7. “Bethlehem, civitas Dei summi, ex te exiet Dominator Israël, et egressus ejus sicut a principio dierum æternitatis, et magnificabitur in medio universæ terræ, et pax erit in terra nostra dum venerit.”[12]      R/.

[24 Dec.
8. “Crastina die delebitur iniquitas terræ, et regnabit super nos Salvator mundi.”[13]        R/.

R/. “Prope est jam Dominus, Venite adoremus.”[14]


R/. The Lord is the King soon to come, O come, let us adore him.
R/. The Lord is the King soon to come, O come, let us adore him.

1. Be glad, O daughter of Sion, and rejoice heartily, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, the Lord shall come, and there shall be in that day a great light, and the mountains shall drop down sweetness, and the hills shall flow with milk and honey, for the great Prophet shall come, and He will renew Jerusalem.
R/. The Lord is the King soon to come, O come, let us adore him.

2. Behold, He shall come, God, and man from the house of David, to sit upon the throne, and ye shall behold, and your heart shall rejoice.
R/. The Lord is the King soon to come, O come, let us adore him.

3. Behold the Lord our protector shall come, the Holy One of Israel, having the crown of the kingdom on his head [i.e. the Crown of Thorns He shall wear when going forth to save us by His Passion], and He shall rule from sea to sea, and from the river to the ends of the round world.
R/. The Lord is the King soon to come, O come, let us adore him.

4. Behold, the Lord will come, and will not disappoint: if He delay, wait for Him, for He shall come, and will not be late.
R/. The Lord is the King soon to come, O come, let us adore him.

5. The Lord shall come down as rain on the fleece: justice shall dawn in His days, and abundance of peace, and all the kings of the earth shall worship Him, all nations shall serve Him.
R/. The Lord is the King soon to come, O come, let us adore him.

6. For us shall be born a little One, and He shall be called mighty God, He Himself shall sit upon the throne of David His father, and rule, whose power is upon His shoulder [i.e. the Cross He shall bear, the instrument of man's salvation].
R/. The Lord is the King soon to come, O come, let us adore him.

7. Bethlehem, city of God Most High, from thee shall go forth the Ruler of Israel, and His going forth shall be as from the beginning of the days of eternity, and He shall be magnified in the midst of the earth, and peace shall be in our land when He comes.
R/. The Lord is the King soon to come, O come, let us adore him.

8. To-morrow the iniquity of the earth shall be washed away, and the Saviour of the world shall reign over us.
R/. The Lord is now very near, O come, let us adore him.

[1] Invitatorium, a Dominica I usque ad sabbatum ante Dominicam III Adventus.
[2] Aña 2 ad V. & L., Dominica I Adventus (excl. “alleluja”).
[3] Aña 3 ad V. & L., Dominica I Adventus (excl. “et omnes Sancti ejus cum eo” & “alleluja”).
[4] Aña 1 ad V. & L., Dominica I Adventus (excl. “In illa die” & “alleluja”).
[5] Aña 5 ad V. & L., Dominica I Adventus (excl. “Ecce” & “alleluja”).
[6] Aña ad Bened., Feria VI infra hebdomadam I Adventus (excl. “alleluja”).
[7] *, Responsorium ii, Feria VI infra hebdomadam II Adventus (excl. V/.).
[8] Responsorium i, Feria VI infra hebdomadam II Adventus (incl. V/.).
[9] Aña 3 ad V. & L., Dominica II Adventus (excl. “alleluja”).
[10] Responsorium iii, Feria III infra hebdomadam III Adventus (incl. V/.).
[11] Responsorium i, Feria III infra hebdomadam IV Adventus (excl. V/.).
[12] Responsorium ii, Feria II infra hebdomadam III Adventus (excl. V/.).
[13] Aña 3 ad L., Vigilia Nativitatis Domini.
[14] Invitatorium, a Dominica III usque ad ultimam diem ante vigiliam Nativitatis Domini.

From my Correspondents

I always esteem any kindly messages I receive regarding this blog (even the backhanded compliment about my waxing eloquent, paid me by a somewhat irascible, if, as I certainly do know from his support over the years, a really rather kind priest, albeit of a different theological outlook, when I ventured to ask if he knew who the next Archbishop would be). After all, I do aim to please, in a somewhat pathetic way.

Two emails recently received deserve comment.

Luke suggests my poor effort at an Advent collect would be better as follows – and I tend to agree:
O God, who by thy prophet Isaias hast revealed unto us the first coming of thine only-begotten Son in great humility to save that which was lost, and his coming again in glory to judge the quick and the dead and the world by fire: Grant us grace so to worship the infant Christ with faith and good works, that we may with sure confidence behold him when he shall come to be our judge; who liveth and reigneth world without end. Amen.
I left him the chore of latinizing it, and he has generously done so, altering it a little in the process so as to be truer to the Latin idiom:
Deus, qui per Isaiam prophetam revelasti nobis adventum primum unigeniti Filii tui magna in humiliate ad salvandum perditum et adventum secundum magna in gloria judicare vivos et mortuos et saeculum per ignem; Præsta, quæsumus, gratiam qua adoremus infantem Christum fide operibusque bonis, ut venientem judicem securi videamus, Dominum nostrum Jesum Christum, qui tecum vivit et regnat in sæcula sæculorum. Amen.
Alan, meanwhile, wrote to say:
I  do hope that you'll finish the Novena text soon. I looked up Gueranger's Liturgical Year but cannot find the "use" for Rorate caeli. Maybe just a pre-Mass Processional. I wonder why the Anglicans changed that one verse ??? There is nothing ultramontane in it, just as the order of the verses in "O Come O Come" is strange in some hymn books.
Respondeo dicens:

1. I will, Deo volente.
2. The Franciscans at the Holy Sepulchre certainly sing the Rorate cæli in procession; I have heard it sung at the Offertory at Mass, and I have seen its use suggested at Benediction. It is a sort of paraliturgical text that really constitutes a stand-alone musical meditation for Advent – last night, at our fortnightly schola practice, instead of Compline and Benediction (our priest being in hospital for a – we trust – minor operation), we sang the Rorate in procession at the end, and this seemed very moving, I believe.
3. As to why the Anglicans changed one verse, I suppose they wanted more unwatered-down Isaiah straight from the Bible, and less mish-mash from the Breviary (strange, since many Anglicans lust for all things Roman, much as they would never submit to the Pope, just as some Americans go mad over any royal personage that deigns to visit their republic, though they wouldn't give up their President).
4. Hymn books oft put "O come, O come, Emmanuel" first, even though it corresponds to the last O Antiphon, as it perhaps better sets the scene than to begin with the versified version of O Sapientia. Why sometimes less than all seven verses are sung is due to the modern love of brevity (a species of indifference and lack of love).