Today is Ember Saturday in Advent. It is a day of Fast and Partial Abstinence as we prepare for one week from today the coming of the Lord. Today is a Major Feria, not Privileged Station at St. Peter’s. In the first ages ordinations took place in Rome only in the month of December usually at the tomb of St. Peter. The Pope alone inherits the plenitude of St. Peter’s primacy, and in the Twelfth Century it came to be the rule that the papal consecration alone was carried out at the altar over the tomb of the Apostle. The long Mass contains the traces of the fast which began after supper on Friday and lasted until the dawn of Sunday; in that period there was no Mass on Saturday. St. Gregory shortened the primitive vigil and the Mass assumed the form in which we have it today. The Mass includes the great canticle of the Blessings which, in the earlier rite formed the morning doxology. According to the Pontifical now in use, Tonsure is conferred after the Kyrie Eleison; the ordination of Porters follows the first lesson; of Readers, the second; of Exorcists, the third; of Acolytes, the fourth; of sub-deacons, the fifth. Deaconship is conferred at the end of the Epistle; the priesthood is conferred after the first versicle of the Tract. Christianity came into a world in which events were carefully noted; the oriental religions arose in a primitive world lost in the haze of primitive barbarism. It is for this reason that St. Luke begins the narrative of the Gospel of Jesus with chronological notes concerning the rulers who were then controlling the destinies of Palestine. The Messias assumes the consoling name of Emmanuel, God with us. The Word Himself will soon come to make, His dwelling-place amongst us and to redeem us, and in order to show by His very name all this merciful plan of salvation, He will be called Emmanuel and Jesus– that is, Savior.
INTROIT Ps 79:4, 2.
Come, O Lord, from Your throne upon the Cherubim; if Your face shine upon us, then we shall be safe. Ps 79:2 O Shepherd of Israel, hearken, O Guide of the flock of Joseph! V. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost. R. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Come, O Lord, from Your throne upon the Cherubim; if Your face shine upon us, then we shall be safe.
Let us pray.
V. Let us kneel.
O God, You Who see how we are troubled by our evil tendencies, mercifully grant that we may find consolation in Your coming. Who livest and reignest with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. R. Amen
Lesson Isa 19:20-22
Lesson from the book of Isaias: In those days, they shall cry out to the Lord against their oppressors, and He shall send them a Savior to defend and deliver them. The Lord shall make Himself known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day; they shall offer sacrifices and oblations, and fulfill the vows they make to the Lord. Although the Lord shall smite Egypt severely, He shall heal them; they shall turn to the Lord and He shall be won over, and the Lord, our God, shall heal them.
Gradual Ps 18:7, 2.
At one end of the heavens He comes forth, and His course is to their other end. V. The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament proclaims His handiwork.
Let us pray.
V. Let us kneel.
Grant, we beseech You, almighty God, that we who are heavy-laden under the yoke of sin may be delivered from the bondage of old by the long-awaited new birth of Your only-begotten Son. Who livest and reignest with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. R. Amen
Lesson Isa 35:1-7
Lesson from the book of Isaias: Thus says the Lord: The desert and the parched land will exult; the steppe will rejoice and bloom. They will bloom with abundant flowers, and rejoice with joyful song. The glory of Lebanon will be given to them, the splendor of Carmel and Saron; they will see the glory of the Lord, the splendor of our God. Strengthen the hands that are feeble, make firm the knees that are weak, say to those whose hearts are frightened: ‘Be strong, fear not! Here is your God, He comes with vindication; with divine recompense He comes to save you.’ Then will the eyes of the blind be opened, the ears of the deaf be cleared; then will the lame leap like a stag, then the tongue of the dumb will sing. Streams will burst forth in the desert, and rivers in the steppe. The burning sands will become pools, and the thirsty ground, springs of water, says the Lord almighty.
Gradual Ps 18:6-7
He has pitched His tent in the sun, and He comes forth like the groom from his bridal chamber. V. At one end of the heavens He comes forth, and His course is to their other end.
Let us pray.
V. Let us kneel.
Saddened by the guilt of our deeds, we, Your unworthy servants, beseech You, O Lord, to gladden us by the coming of Your only-begotten Son. Who livest and reignest with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. R. Amen
Lesson Isa 40:9-11
Lesson from the book of Isaias: Thus says the Lord: Go up onto a high mountain, Sion, herald of glad tidings; cry out at the top of your voice, Jerusalem, herald of good news! Fear not to cry out and say to the cities of Juda: ‘Here is your God! Here comes with power the Lord God, Who rules by His strong arm; here is His reward with Him, His recompense before Him. Like a shepherd He feeds His flock; in His arms He gathers the lambs, carrying them in His bosom, the Lord, our God.’
Gradual Ps 79:20; 79:3
O Lord God of Hosts, restore us; if Your face shine upon us, then we shall be safe.
V. Rouse Your power, O Lord, and come to save us.
Let us pray.
V. Let us kneel.
Grant, we beseech You, almighty God, that the coming festival of Your Son may bring us healing today and rewards eternal. Through the same Jesus Christ, thy Son, Our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.
Lesson Isa. 45:1-8
Lesson from the book of Isaias: Thus says the Lord to His anointed, Cyrus, whose right hand I grasp, subduing nations before him, and disarming kings, opening doors before him and leaving the gates unbarred: I will go before you and level the mountains; bronze doors I will shatter, and iron bars I will snap. I will give you treasures out of the darkness, and riches that have been hidden away, that you may know that I am the Lord, the God of Israel, Who calls you by your name. For the sake of Jacob, My servant, of Israel. My chosen one, I have called you by your name, giving you a title, though you knew Me not. I am the Lord and there is no other, there is no God besides Me. It is I Who arm you, though you know Me not, so that toward the rising and the setting of the sun men may know that there is none besides Me. I am the Lord, there is no other; I form the light, and create the darkness, I make well-being and create woe; I, the Lord, do all these things. Let the Just One descend, O heavens, like dew from above, like gentle rain let the skies drop Him down. Let the earth open and a Savior bud forth; let justice also spring up! I, the Lord, have created this.
Gradual Ps 79:3, 2, 3.
Rouse Your power, O Lord, and come to save us. V. O Shepherd of Israel, hearken, O Guide of the flock of Joseph! From Your throne upon the Cherubim, shine forth before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasse.
Let us pray.
V. Let us kneel.
Heed in Your mercy, we beseech You, O Lord, the prayers of Your people, that we, who are justly chastised for our sins, may be consoled by the coming of Your goodness. Who livest and reignest with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. R. Amen
Lesson Dan. 3:47-51
Lesson from the book of Daniel: In those day, the Angel of the Lord went down into the furnace with Azaria and his companions, drove the fiery flames out of the furnace, and made the inside of the furnace as though a dew-laden breeze were blowing through it. And the flames rose forty-nine cubits above the furnace, and spread out, burning the Chaldeans nearby, the king’s men who were stoking the furnace. And the fire in no way touched them or caused them pain or harm. Then these three in the furnace with one voice sang, glorifying and blessing God:
HYMN Dan. 3:52-56
Blessed are You, O Lord, the God of our fathers, praiseworthy and exalted above all forever. And blessed is Your holy and glorious name, praiseworthy and exalted above all for all ages. Blessed are You in the temple of Your holy glory, praiseworthy and glorious above all forever. Blessed are You on the holy throne of Your kingdom, praiseworthy and exalted above all forever. Blessed are You upon the sceptre of Your divinity, praiseworthy and exalted above all forever. Blessed are You Who look into the depths from Your throne upon the Cherubim, praiseworthy and exalted above all forever. Blessed are You Who walk upon the wings of the wind, and on the waves of the sea, praiseworthy and exalted above all forever. Let all Your Angels and Saints bless You, and praise You and exalt You above all forever. Let the heavens, the earth, the sea and all the things that are in them bless You, and praise You and exalt You above all forever. Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit, praiseworthy and exalted above all forever. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen. Praiseworthy and exalted above all forever. Blessed are You, O Lord, the God of our father, praiseworthy and exalted above all forever.
V. The Lord be with you.
R. And with thy spirit.
Let us pray.
O God, You Who tempered the flames of fire for the three young men, mercifully grant that the flames of sin may not burn us, Your servants. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.
EPISTLE 2 Thess. 2:1-8
Lesson from the second letter of St Paul the Apostle to the Thessalonians: We beseech you, brethren, by the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ and our being gathered together unto Him, not to be hastily shaken from your right mind, nor terrified, whether by spirit, or by utterance, or by letter attributed to us, as though the day of the Lord were near at hand. Let no one deceive you in any way, for the day of the Lord will not come unless the apostasy comes first, and the man of sin is revealed, the son of perdition, who opposes and is exalted above all that is called God, or that is worshipped, so that he sits in the temple of God and gives himself out as if he were God. Do you not remember that when I was still with you, I used to tell you these things? And now you know what restrains him, that he may be revealed in his proper time. For the mystery of iniquity is already at work; provided only that he who is at present restraining it, does still restrain, until he is gotten out of the way. And then the wicked one will be revealed, whom the Lord Jesus will slay with the breath of His mouth and will destroy with the brightness of His coming. R. Thanks be to God.
GRADUAL Ps 79:2-3
O Shepherd of Israel, hearken, O Guide of the flock of Joseph! V. From Your throne upon the Cherubim, shine forth before Ephraim, Benjamin and Manasse. V. Rouse Your power, O Lord, and come to save us.
GOSPEL St Luke 3:1-6
Now in the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, when Pontius Pilate was procurator of Judea, and Herod tetrarch of Galilee, and Philip his brother tetrarch of the district of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiphas, the word of God came to John, the son of Zachary, in the desert. And he went into all the region about the Jordan, preaching a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins, as it is written in the book of the words of Isaias the prophet. The voice of one crying in the desert, ‘Make ready the way of the Lord, make straight His paths. Every valley shall be filled, and every mountain and hill shall be brought low, and the crooked ways shall be made straight, and the rough ways smooth; and all mankind shall see the salvation of God.’
OFFERTORY Zach 9:9
Rejoice heartily, O daughter of Sion, shout for joy, O daughter of Jerusalem! See, your King shall come to you, a just Savior is He.
The Advent Prose
R/ Drop down, ye heavens, from above,
and let the skies pour down righteousness.
Be not wroth very sore, O Lord,
neither remember iniquity for ever:
the holy cities are a wilderness,
Sion is a wilderness,
Jerusalem a desolation:
our holy and our beautiful house,
where our fathers praised thee. R/
We have sinned, and are as an unclean thing,
and we all do fade as a leaf:
and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away;
thou hast hid thy face from us:
and hast consumed us, because of our iniquities. R/
Ye are my witnesses, saith the Lord,
and my servant whom I have chosen;
that ye may know me and believe me:
I, even I, am the Lord, and beside me there is no Saviour:
and there is none that can deliver out of my hand. R/
Comfort ye, comfort ye, my people,
my salvation shall not tarry:
I have blotted out as a thick cloud thy transgressions:
Fear not, for I will save thee:
for I am the Lord thy God,
the Holy One of Israel, thy Redeemer. R/
Look with favor, we beseech You, O Lord, upon the offerings here before You, that they may be beneficial for our devotion and for our salvation. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. 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 Ps 18:6-7
He has rejoiced as a giant to run the way: at one end of the heavens He comes forth, and His course is to their other end.
We beseech You, O Lord our God, that the sacrament You have given as the bulwark of our atonement may be made a saving remedy for us in this life and in the life to come. Through Jesus Christ, thy Son our Lord, Who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, ever one God, world without end. R. Amen.