Sunday, December 9, 2012

Advent: A Follow-Up

In my previous post, "The Advent of Our King," I endeavored to show the traditional meaning of Adventide, specifically focusing on the "Three Advents" of Christ as expressed in the traditional Proper of the Mass for the four Sundays of Advent.  Although I briefly mentioned it in the previous article, I want to use this post to expand on the history of the Advent wreath.  At the end of this post will be a listing of the traditional Propers of the Mass and Lectionary readings.


The Advent Wreath


 The Advent wreath is an important part of the season for many of us, but the liturgical significance of its four candles is lost on most people. While many churches ascribe a specific theme to each candle (e.g. Prophecy, Bethlehem, Shepherds, and Angels), such usage is of contemporary (and largely sectarian) origin. However, a wreath with four candles is much more ancient. The lighting of four candles on a wreath likely predates Christian use as a symbol of perseverance during the harshness of winter.  A wreath of evergreen leaves has long symbolized eternal life, both by virtue of the “ever green” leaves and geometric circle.  Candle light, too, has symbolic associations with the same themes. Viewing Christ as the “Light that lightens the Gentiles,” churches adopted the use of the wreath for Advent.  While there is dispute, most sources seem to agree that the use began in Germany around the time of (or shortly prior to) the Blessed Reformation.  Its four candles represent a sort of "count down" to the Feast of Christmas, which some wreaths represent by a larger candle in the center.
 Because violet - symbolizing the subdued penitence of the Advent fast - is the liturgical color for the season, the candles used are this color as well.  The exception to this is the rose-colored candle lit on the third Sunday, which is associated with Gaudete (meaning “Rejoice”) Sunday.  It exists as a mixture of the Advent and Christmastide liturgical colors - violet and white. The idea behind this liturgical color is to remind us that even in the midst of a somber season like Advent, we must remember to “rejoice in the Lord always.”  Gaudete (and its Lenten counterpart, Laetare) is often called "Refreshment Sunday" due to its nature as a "break" during the longer Advent fast.
 Incidentally, when the Vatican II-inspired blue is used in place of the traditional violet, the use of the rose on Gaudete seems out of place (at least in its historical context as a mixture of violet and white).  Coupled with the fact that most parishes don’t use rose paraments and vestments at all these days, it would seem more logical to just use four blue candles in such circumstances.  Alternatively, we could go back to the more traditional violet usage, as has been done at the parishes I am playing for this Advent season.


The Proper of the Mass (with Lectionary readings):


For more information about the use of these texts, see my previous post, "Using the Propers is Proper!"

AD TE LEVAVI

INTROIT 
Ps. 25:1-3a; 25:4 
Antiphon:
To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, I trust in You;
Let me not be ashamed;
Let not my enemies triumph over me.
Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed.
Psalm:
Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths.
Gloria Patri:
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son ✠, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end.
Amen.
Repeat Antiphon

EPISTLE
Romans 13:11-14 
And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed.  The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.  Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.  But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.

GRADUAL
Ps. 25:3a, 4 
Let no one who waits on You be ashamed.
Show me Your ways, O Lord; teach me Your paths.

ALLELUIA
Psalm 85:7
Alleluia. Alleluia.
Show us Your mercy, Lord,
And grant us Your salvation. Alleluia.

GOSPEL
St. Luke 21:25-33
“And there will be signs in the sun, in the moon, and in the stars; and on the earth distress of nations, with perplexity, the sea and the waves roaring; men’s hearts failing them from fear and the expectation of those things which are coming on the earth, for the powers of the heavens will be shaken.  Then they will see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with power and great glory.  Now when these things begin to happen, look up and lift up your heads, because your redemption draws near.”
 Then He spoke to them a parable: “Look at the fig tree, and all the trees.  When they are already budding, you see and know for yourselves that summer is now near.  So you also, when you see these things happening, know that the kingdom of God is near.  Assuredly, I say to you, this generation will by no means pass away till all things take place.  Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will by no means pass away.

OFFERTORY
Ps. 25:1-3a
To You, O Lord, I lift up my soul.
O my God, I trust in You;
Let me not be ashamed;
Let not my enemies triumph over me.
Indeed, let no one who waits on You be ashamed.

COMMUNIO
Psalm 85:12
Yes, the Lord will give what is good;
And our land will yield its increase.

POPULUS ZION

INTROIT 
Isaiah 30:19a, 30a, 29; Psalm 80:1a 
Antiphon:
People of Zion, behold:
The Lord will come to save the nations;
The Lord will cause His glorious voice to be heard,
and you shall have gladness of heart.
Psalm:
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
You who lead Joseph like a flock.
Gloria Patri:
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son ✠, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end.
Amen.
Repeat Antiphon

EPISTLE
Romans 15:4-13
For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.  Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.  Now I say that Jesus Christ has become a servant to the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made to the fathers, and that the Gentiles might glorify God for His mercy, as it is written:
“For this reason I will confess to You among the Gentiles,
And sing to Your name.”
And again he says:
“Rejoice, O Gentiles, with His people!”
And again:
“Praise the Lord, all you Gentiles!
Laud Him, all you peoples!
And again, Isaiah says:
“There shall be a root of Jesse;
And He who shall rise to reign over the Gentiles,In Him the Gentiles shall hope.”
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

GRADUAL 
Psalm 50:2-3a, 5
Out of Zion, the perfection of beauty,
God will shine forth. Our God shall come.
“Gather My saints together to Me,
those who have made a covenant with Me by sacrifice.”

ALLELUIA
Psalm 122:1
Alleluia. Alleluia.
I was glad when they said to me,
“Let us go into the house of the Lord.” Alleluia.

GOSPEL
St. Matthew 11:2-10
And when John had heard in prison about the works of Christ, he sent two of his disciples and said to Him, “Are You the Coming One, or do we look for another?” Jesus answered and said to them, “Go and tell John the things which you hear and see: The blind see and the lame walk; the lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear; the dead are raised up and the poor have the gospel preached to them.  And blessed is he who is not offended because of Me.” As they departed, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: “What did you go out into the wilderness to see? A reed shaken by the wind?  But what did you go out to see? A man clothed in soft garments? Indeed, those who wear soft clothing are in kings’ houses.  But what did you go out to see? A prophet? Yes, I say to you, and more than a prophet.  For this is he of whom it is written:
‘Behold, I send My messenger before Your face,
Who will prepare Your way before You.’”

OFFERTORY
Psalm 85:6-7
Will You not revive us again,
That Your people may rejoice in You?
Show us Your mercy, Lord,
And grant us Your salvation.

COMMUNIO
Baruch 5:5, 4:36
Arise, Jerusalem, stand on the heights,
And see the joy that is coming to you from God.

GAUDETE

INTROIT
Philippians 4:4-6; Psalm 85:1 
Antiphon:
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God.
Psalm:
Lord, You have been favorable to Your land;
You have brought back the captivity of Jacob.
Gloria Patri:
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son ✠, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end.
Amen.
Repeat Antiphon

EPISTLE
Philippians 4:4-7
Rejoice in the Lord always. Again I will say, rejoice! Let your gentleness be known to all men. The Lord is at hand. Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.

GRADUAL 
Psalm 80:1b, 2a, 1a
You who dwell between the cherubim,
Stir up Your strength, and come!
Give ear, O Shepherd of Israel,
You who lead Joseph like a flock.

ALLELUIA
Psalm 80:2b
Alleluia. Alleluia.
Stir up Your strength,
And come and save us!  Alleluia.

GOSPEL
St. John 1:19-28
Now this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?”
He said, “I am not.”
“Are you the Prophet?”And he answered, “No.”
Then they said to him, “Who are you, that we may give an answer to those who sent us? What do you say about yourself?”
He said: “I am
‘The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
“Make straight the way of the Lord,”’
as the prophet Isaiah said.”
Now those who were sent were from the Pharisees.  And they asked him, saying, “Why then do you baptize if you are not the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” John answered them, saying, “I baptize with water, but there stands One among you whom you do not know.  It is He who, coming after me, is preferred before me, whose sandal strap I am not worthy to loose.” These things were done in Bethabara beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

OFFERTORY
Psalm 85:1-2
Lord, You have been favorable to Your land;
You have brought back the captivity of Jacob.
You have forgiven the iniquity of Your people;
You have covered all their sin.

COMMUNIO
Isaiah 35:4
Say to those who are fearful-hearted,“Be strong, do not fear!
Behold, our God will come and save us."

RORATE COELI

INTROIT
Isaiah 45:8; Psalm 19:1 
Antiphon:
Rain down, you heavens, from above,
And let the skies pour down Righteousness;
Let the earth open, let them bring forth Salvation [a Savior].
Psalm:
The heavens declare the glory of God;
And the firmament shows His handiwork.
Gloria Patri:
Glory be to the Father, and to the Son ✠, and to the Holy Spirit,
As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be: world without end.
Amen.
Repeat Antiphon

EPISTLE
1 Corinthians 4:1-5
Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God.  Moreover it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.  But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by a human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself.  For I know of nothing against myself, yet I am not justified by this; but He who judges me is the Lord.  Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord comes, who will both bring to light the hidden things of darkness and reveal the counsels of the hearts. Then each one’s praise will come from God.

GRADUAL
Psalm 145:18, 21
The Lord is near to all who call upon Him,
To all who call upon Him in truth.
My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord,
And all flesh shall bless His holy name.

ALLELUIA 
1 Kings 8:34
Alleluia, Alleluia.
Come, O Lord,
and forgive the sins of Your people Israel.  Alleluia.

GOSPEL
St. Luke 3:1-6
Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, his brother Philip tetrarch of Iturea and the region of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrarch of Abilene, while Annas and Caiaphas were high priests, the word of God came to John the son of Zacharias in the wilderness.  And he went into all the region around the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the remission of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of Isaiah the prophet, saying:
“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
‘Prepare the way of the Lord;
Make His paths straight.
 Every valley shall be filled
And every mountain and hill brought low;
The crooked places shall be made straight
And the rough ways smooth;
 And all flesh shall see the salvation of God.’”

OFFERTORY
St. Luke 1:28, 42
"Hail, Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with you.
Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the fruit of your womb, Jesus Christ!"

COMMUNIO
Isaiah 7:14
The Virgin shall conceive and bear a Son,
and shall call His name Immanuel.

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