This first Sunday of Advent or The Fourth before Christmas is the first day of the Liturgical Year. The Mass prepares us this day for the double coming (adventus) of mercy and justice. That is why St. Paul tells us, in the Epistle, to cast off sin in order that being ready for the coming of Christ as our Savior, we may also be ready for His coming as our Judge, of which we learn in the Gospel. Let us prepare ourselves, by pious aspirations and by the reformation of our life for this twofold coming. Jesus Our Lord will reward those who yearn for Him and await Him: “Those who trust in Him shall not be confounded.”
The Advent liturgy opens with that great yearning cry of the prophets of Israel to the Messiah and Redeemer whose advent they awaited. “Come!” God is not deaf to His people’s cry. Fulfilling the promise of salvation made to our first parents at their fall He sent His Son into the world.
St Sabbas, Hermit, born at Mutalaska near Caesarea in Cappadocia, 439; died in his laura 5 December, 532. He entered a Basilian monastery at the age of eight, came to Jerusalem in 456, lived five years in a cavern as a disciple of St. Euthymius, and, after spending some time in various monasteries, founded (483) the Laura Mar Sabe (restored in 1840) in the gorges of the Cedron, southeast of Jerusalem. Because some of his monks opposed his rule and demanded a priest as their abbot, Patriarch Salustius of Jerusalem ordained him in 491 and appointed archimandrite of all the monasteries in Palestine in 494. The opposition continued and he withdrew to the new laura which he had built near Thekoa. A strenuous opponent of the Monophysites and the Origenists he tried to influence the emperors against them by calling personally on Emperor Anastasius at Constantinople in 511 and on Justinian in 531. His authorship of “Typicon S. Sabæ” (Venice, 1545), a regulation for Divine worship throughout the year as well as his authorship of a monastic rule bearing the same title (Kurtz in “Byzant, Zeitschrift”, III, Leipzig, 1894, 167-70), is doubtful. After him was named the Basilica of St. Sabas with its former monastery on the Aventine at Rome. His feast is on 5 December.
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.
Commemoratio S. Sabbae abbatis
Look forgivingly on thy flock, Eternal Shepherd, and keep it in thy constant protection, by the intercession of blessed Sabbas, whom thou didst constitute Shepherd of the whole Church.
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 armor 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.
Commemoratio S. Sabbae abbatis
We beseech You, O Lord, may the holy Abbot Sabbas, prevail by his prayers, so that the offerings placed upon Your sacred altar may be beneficial for our salvation.
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.
Commemoratio S. Sabbae abbatis
Multiply, we beseech thee, O Lord, in thy Church the spirit of grace which tho hast bestowed, that by intercession of blessed Sabbas. the obedience of the flock shall not fail the shepherd, nor the care of the shepherd be wanting to the flock.
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.