Saint Barbara was from Heliopolis of Phoenicia and lived during the reign of Maximian, during the third century. The daughter of a wealthy, pagan idolater named Dioscorus; she was raised in the belief of polytheism.
Highly intelligent and extremely beautiful, St. Barbara was ordered to live her life imprisoned in the tower by her jealous father. Vowing to protect her from the outside world, he forbade her association with friends and St. Barbara only came in contact with teachers and servants who had been carefully instructed that she be taught how to worship the pagan gods.
One day, as her father was leaving for a business trip, he ordered a bathhouse be built for Saint Barbara. He gave specific instructions for the design of the building, commanding the workers to install only two windows. Having learned about the teachings of Christ, St. Barbara’s belief in Christianity became firm. During her father’s absence she instructed the workmen to install three windows to symbolize the Holy Trinity.
When Dioscorus returned, he was enraged at the changes and infuriated with St. Barbara when she confessed that she was a Christian. He took her before the prefect of the province, who decreed she be tortured and beheaded, as was the punishment for Christians during this time. It was Dioscorus who rendered the death sentence to St. Barbara. On his way home, he was struck by lightning and killed instantly.
It is because of this legend of Saint Barbara that she came to be known as Saint Barbara the saint of danger from thunderstorms, fires and sudden death. When gunpowder was introduced in the Western world, Saint Barbara was invoked for protection against explosion and soon was regarded as the patroness of the artillerymen.
Who is Saint Barbara? She is the patron saint of firefighters, sailors, artillerymen and anyone who is in danger of sudden death. A young virgin who chose a violent death rather than deny Christ; she is a saint in the highest tradition.
On the first Sunday of Advent, the traditional opening prayer (or Collect) prayed: “Stir up Thy might, we beg Thee, and come.” With this request to God to “stir up” His might, this day was traditionally called Stir-Up Sunday. Many families create a traditional plum pudding or fruit cake or some other recipe that all the family and guests can “stir-up.”
This activity of stirring-up the ingredients symbolizes our hearts that must be stirred in preparation for Christ’s birth.
INTROIT Psalm 24:1-3
To Thee have I lifted up my soul: in Thee, O my God, I put my trust; let me not be ashamed: neither let my enemies laugh at me; for none of them that wait on Thee shall be confounded. (Ps. 24: 4) Show, O Lord, Thy ways to me: and teach me Thy paths. v. Glory be to the Father…
Put forth Your power, O Lord, we beseech You, and come, that with You as our protector we may be rescued from the impending danger of our sins; and with You as our deliverer, may we obtain our salvation. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever. R. Amen.
Commemoration of St. Barbara
Let us pray. God, Who, among other miracles of Thy power, hast conferred the victory of martyrdom even on the weaker sex, mercifully grant that we, who celebrate the natal feast of blessed Barbara, Thy virgin and martyr, may advance toward Thee through her example.
Collect for the Blessed Mother
O God, Who didst will that at the message of an angel Thy word should take flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary: grant that we, Thy suppliants, who believe her to be truly the mother of God, may be helped by her intercession with Thee.
Collect for God’s Holy Church
Graciously hear, O Lord, the prayers of Thy Church that, having overcome all adversity and every error, she may serve Thee in security and freedom. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever. R. Amen.
EPISTLE Rom 13:11-14
Lesson from the letter of St Paul the Apostle to the Romans: Brethren: Understand, for it is now the hour for us to rise from sleep, because now our salvation is nearer than when we came to believe. The night is far advanced; the day is at hand. Let us therefore lay aside the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light. Let us walk becomingly as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in debauchery and wantonness, not in strife and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ. R. Thanks be to God.
GRADUAL/ALLELUIA Psalm 24:3-4
No one who waits for You shall be put to shame. V. Your ways, O Lord, make known to me; teach me Your paths. Alleluia, alleluia. Ps 84:8 V. Show us, O Lord, Your kindness, and grant us Your salvation. Alleluia.
GOSPEL Luke 21:25-33
At that time, Jesus said to His disciples: There will be signs in the sun and moon and stars, and upon the earth distress of nations bewildered by the roaring of sea and waves; men fainting for fear and for expectation of the things that are coming on the world; for the powers of heaven will be shaken. And then they will see the son of Man coming upon a cloud with great power and majesty. but when these things begin to come to pass, look up, and lift up your heads, because your redemption is at hand. And He spoke to them a parable. Behold the fig tree, and all the trees. When they now put forth their buds, you know that summer is near. Even so, when you see these things coming to pass, know that the kingdom of God is near. Amen I say to you, this generation will not pass away till all things have been accomplished. Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away. R. Praise be to Thee, O Christ.
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Psalm 24:1-3
To You I lift up my soul: in You, O my God, I trust; let me not be put to shame; let not my enemies exult over me. No one who waits for You shall be put to shame.
May these offerings, O Lord, cleanse us by their mighty power and thus make us come purer before You Who are their author. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen.
Commemoration of St. Barbara
Let us pray. Graciously receive, O Lord, the gifts which we offer on the solemnity of Thy virgin and martyr, Barbara, by whose patronage we trust to be delivered from all evil.
Secret for the Blessed Virgin Mary
Strengthen in our minds, O Lord, we beseech Thee, the mysteries of the true faith, that, confessing Him Who was conceived of the Virgin to be true God and true man, we may deserve, through the power of His saving resurrection, to attain everlasting joy.
Secret for God’s Holy Church
Protect us, O Lord, who assist at Thy mysteries, that, cleaving to things divine, we may serve Thee both in body and in mind. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, Forever and ever. R.Amen.
PREFACE of the Common
It is truly meet and just, and profitable unto salvation, that we should at all times, and in all places, give thanks to thee, O Holy Lord, Father Almighty, eternal God, through Christ, our Lord. Though whom the angels praise thy majesty, the dominions adore it, the powers are in awe. Which the heavens and the hosts of heaven together with the blessed seraphim joyfully do magnify. And do thou command that it be permitted to us join with them in confessing thee, while we say with lowly praise:
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Psalm 84:13
The Lord will give His benefits: and our land shall yield its increase.
May we receive Your mercy, O Lord, in the midst of Your temple, and thus prepare with due observance for the coming festal season of our redemption. Through the same Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God For ever and ever. R. Amen.
Commemoration of St. Barbara
Let us pray. May the mysteries we have received, help us, O Lord, and, by the intercession of blessed Barbara, Thy virgin and martyr, may they cause us to rejoice in everlasting protection.
Postcommunion for the Blessed Virgin Mary
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts, that we, to whom the incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an angel, may, by His passion and cross, be brought to the glory of His resurrection.
Postcommunion for God’s Holy Church
O Lord our God, we pray Thee that Thou suffer not to succumb to human hazards those whom Thou hast been pleased to make sharers of divine mysteries. Through the Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, Who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, one God Forever and ever. R. Amen.