The Lord is at hand: come, let us adore him.
Year: B(II). Psalm week: 3. Liturgical Colour: Rose or Violet.
quæ ex ore Altíssimi prodísti,
attíngens a fine usque ad finem,
fórtiter suavitérque dispónens ómnia:
veni ad docéndum nos viam prudéntiæ.
“O Wisdom, you come forth from the mouth of the Most High. You fill the universe and hold all things together in a strong yet gentle manner. O come to teach us the way of truth.”
As the great feast of Christmas approaches, its light begins to blot out the lights of the individual days, as planets are blotted out when they appear too close to the Sun. The great “O Antiphons” at Vespers are worth celebrating even if Vespers itself is not part of your daily pattern. They count down the last seven days before Christmas and tie together seven threads of hope, longing and doctrine which all find their culmination and final union in the moment of the Incarnation.
Jesus is the Word and Wisdom of God. As Isaiah says, “On him the spirit of the Lord rests, a spirit of wisdom and insight, a spirit of counsel and power.”
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: Pope St Leo the Great (- 461)
Leo was born in Etruria and became Pope in 440. He was a true shepherd and father of souls. He constantly strove to keep the faith whole and strenuously defended the unity of the Church. He repelled the invasions of the barbarians or alleviated their effects, famously persuading Attila the Hun not to march on Rome in 452, and preventing the invading Vandals from massacring the population in 455.
Leo left many doctrinal and spiritual writings behind and a number of them are included in the Office of Readings to this day. He died in 461.
Liturgical colour: rose (or violet)
Rose is a lighter version of violet, because today the penitential violet is mixed with the white of the approaching festival.
It is part of human nature that we cannot go on being penitent for a long time, or we sink into a settled and insincere gloom rather than working at the definite and active spiritual exercise called penance. The Church knows human nature, and both in Advent and Lent there is a moment where the atmosphere of penance and preparation is brightened by a shaft of light from the glorious season we are preparing ourselves for.
The third Sunday of Advent tells us ‘Gaudéte, rejoice!’ because the Lord is near and the fourth Sunday of Lent says ‘Lætáre, Ierúsalem, be joyful, Jerusalem, and all who love her!’ because she herself is loved by the Lord. On Gaudete and Laetare Sundays, therefore, the dark penitential violet may be lightened to what the documents call ‘rose’ but most laymen would call ‘pink’.
This happens where it is traditional, and appropriate, and vestments of this extra colour are available. Otherwise there is nothing wrong in keeping violet as violet. Ultimately the liturgical colours are there to serve us, not we to serve them.
Other notes: Advent, Part II
From today the prayers and readings take on a different nature.
In the first half of Advent we count forwards: first week, second week, and so on, paying attention to Advent Sunday, the day when Advent started.
Now the second half of Advent has begun, and Advent Sunday is forgotten: it is Christmas Day that matters. Today is the eighth day before Christmas, tomorrow is the seventh day, and so on. The prayers follow this countdown, and the final readings from Isaiah build up to their climax.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)
|Romans 13:13-14 ©
Let us live decently as people do in the daytime: no drunken orgies, no promiscuity or licentiousness, and no wrangling or jealousy. Let your armour be the Lord Jesus Christ.
|Noon reading (Sext)
|1 Thessalonians 3:12-13 ©
May the Lord be generous in increasing your love and make you love one another and the whole human race as much as we love you. And may he so confirm your hearts in holiness that you may be blameless in the sight of our God and Father when our Lord Jesus Christ comes with all his saints.
|Afternoon reading (None)
|(2 Thessalonians 1:6-10) ©
God will very rightly reward you, who are suffering now, with the same peace as he will give us, when the Lord Jesus appears from heaven with the angels of his power, when he comes to be glorified among his saints and seen in his glory by all who believe in him.