The Advent Cycle

First Sunday of Advent
Second Sunday of Advent
Third Sunday of Advent
Fourth Sunday of Advent

First Sunday of Advent.

Liturgical Commentary

The ecclesiastical year opens under the auspices of the Blessed Virgin. So it was at the Basilica of St. Mary Major that the people of Rome formerly made a station on this day to assist at the solemn Mass celebrated by the Pope assisted by his clergy. At the moment that he approached the altar, the song of entry or Introit was heard in which the Prophet says that he puts his trust in God.

With the Church, at the very opening of the liturgical cycle, let us also put all our confidence in Jesus, Who at Christmas and at the end of the World will reward those who yearn for Him and await Him. "Those who trust in Him shall not be confounded" (Introit).

The whole of the Mass this day prepares us 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 Saviour, 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 double coming.

Mass Readings

INTROIT. To Thee, 0 Lord; have I lifted up my soul; in thee; O my God, I put my trust; let me not be ashamed; neither let mine enemies laugh at me: for none that wait on Thee shall be confounded. Show, O Lord, Thy, ways to me and teach me Thy paths.Glory be to the Father.

COLLECT. Stir up Thy might; we beseech Thee 0 Lord, and come; that from the threatening dangers of our sins we may be rescued by Thy protection and saved by Thy deliverance. Who livest, etc. Amen;

EPISTLE. Rom, xiii. 11-14. Brethren:- Knowing the time that it is now the hour for us to rise from Sleep: for, now our salvation is nearer than when we believed. The night is passed, and the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and impurities, not in contention and envy; but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.

GRADUAL. None of them that wait on Thee shall be confounded 0 Lord. Show, 0 Lord, Thy ways to me, and teach me Thy paths. Alleluia, alleluia. Show us, 0 Lord, Thy mercy: and grant us Thy salvation.: Alleluia.

GOSPEL. Luke xxi. 25-33. At that time: Jesus said to His disciples: There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the Stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, by reason of the confusion of the roaring of the sea and of the waves, men withering away for fear and expectation of what shall come upon the whole world. For the powers of heaven shall be moved; and then they shall see the Son of Man coming in 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 similitude: See the fig-tree, and all the trees; when they now shoot forth their fruit, you know that summer is nigh; so you also, when you shall see these things come to pass, know that the kingdom of God is at hand. Amen I say to you, this generation shall not pass away till all things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away.

OFFERTORY. 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.

SECRET. May these sacred mysteries, 0 Lord, cleanse us by their mighty power, and make us to approach with greater purity to Him who is their source. Through our Lord.

COMMUNION. The Lord will give goodness: and our earth shall yield her fruit.

POSTCOMMUNION. May we receive Thy mercy, 0 Lord, in the midst of Thy Temple, that we may with becoming honor prepare for the approaching solemnities of our redemption. Through our Lord.

Second Sunday of Advent

Liturgical Commentary

It was at the Church of the Holy Cross in Jerusalem, built t in former times by St. Helena for the reception of the relics of the Passion, that this Station was held. It is there that the Roman people assisted at the Solemn Mass on the Second Sunday in Advent. The allusions made in the liturgy of this day to Jerusalem and her People are numerous: "People of Sion, behold the Lord shall come" (Introit). "Out of Sion is the loveliness of His beauty, God shall Come manifestly" (Gradual), In addition to this the Prophets always assign Mount Sion as an abode of the Messiah.

In view of this coming, the Collect asks God to "stir up our hearts to prepare the ways for His only begotten Son." The Epistle in its turn reminds us that "a root of Jesse shall rise up" for the salvation of Jews and Gentiles.

Then in the Gospel we read that John the Baptist, sent "to prepare the way for the Messiah," has the question put to Jesus" Art thou He that art to come ?" In answer Christ wrought many miracles and pointed to them as His reply to the Precursor. And so was realised the prophecy of Isaias, who foretold that by these signs the Messiah would be recognised. They testify therefore to the Divine Mission of Jesus and show what will be the effect of His grace on our souls during the Feast of Christmas.

Let us be filled with sentiments of hope and of joy, for the coming of Jesus is nigh.

Mass Readings

INTROIT. People of Sion, behold the Lord shall come to save the nations; and the Lord shall make the glory of His voice to be heard in the joy of your heart. Give ear, 0 Thou that rulest Israel: Thou that leadest Joseph like a sheep. Glory be to the Father.

COLLECT. Stir up our hearts, 0 Lord, to make ready the ways of Thine 0nly-begotten Son, that through His coming we may be worthy to serve Thee with purified minds. Who liveth.

EPISTLE. Rom. xv. 4-13. Brethren: What things so-ever were written, were written for our learning, that, through patience and the comfort of the Scriptures, we might have hope. Now the God of patience and of comfort grant you to be of one mind one towards another, according to Jesus Christ; that with one mind, and with one mouth, you may glorify God and the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. Wherefore receive one another, as Christ also hath received you unto the honor of God. For I say that Christ Jesus was minister of the circumcision for the truth of God, to confirm the promises made unto the fathers. But that the Gentiles are to glorify God for His mercy, as it is written: Therefore will I confess to Thee, O Lord, among the Gentiles, and will sing to Thy name. And again He saith: Rejoice, ye Gentiles, with His people. And again: Praise the Lord, all ye Gentiles; and magnify Him, all ye people. And again, Isaias saith: There shall be a root of Jesse; and He that shall rise up to rule the Gentiles, in Him the Gentiles shall hope. Now the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing; that you may abound in hope, and in the power of the Holy Ghost.

GRADUAl. Out of Sion the loveliness of His beauty: God shall come manifestly. Gather ye together His saints to Him; who have set His covenant before sacrifices. Alleluia, aIleluia. I rejoiced at the things that were said to me: We shall go into the house of the Lord. Alleluia.

GOSPEL Matt. xi. 2-10. At that time: When John had heard in prison the works of Christ: sending two of His disciples, he said to Him: Art thou He that art to come, or do we look for another? And Jesus making answer, said to them: Go and relate to John what you have heard and seen. The blind see, the lame walk, the lepers are cleansed, the deaf hear, the dead rise again, the poor have the gospel preached to them; and blessed is he that shall not be scandalized in me. And when they went their way, Jesus began to say to the multitudes concerning John: What went you out into the desert to see? a reed shaken with the wind? But what went you out to See? a man clothed in soft garments? Behold they that are clothed in soft garments are in the houses of kings. But what went you out to see? a prophet? yea, I tell you, and more than a prophet. For this is he of whom it is written: Behold I send my Angel before thy face, who shall prepare thy way,before Thee.

OFFERTORY. 0 God, turning, Thou wilt bring us life; and Thy people shall rejoice in Thee: show us, 0 Lord, Thy mercy, and grant us Thy salvation.

SECRET. Be appeased, we beseech Thee, 0 Lord, by the prayers and sacrifices of our humility: and whereas we have no merits to plead in our favor, do Thou succor us by Thy protection. Through our Lord.

COMMUNION. Arise, 0 Jerusalem, and stand on high: and behold the joy that cometh to thee from thy God.

POSTCOMMUNION. Filled with the food of this spiritual nourishment, we humbly beseech Thee, 0 Lord, that through our participation in this Mystery Thou wouldst teach us to despise earthly things, and love those that are heavenly

Third Sunday of Advent

Liturgical Commentary

Constantine had erected a Basilica on the hill of the Vatican, on the very spot where St. Peter was martyred and where his body rests. It is there that the Mass of the Third Sunday of Advent was always celebrated in Rome.

This Sunday is called "Gaudete" (Rejoice) from the first word of the Introit. The whole of this Mass is filled with the sentiments of joy with which the Church wishes our souls to be filled at the approach of the Saviour.

"The Lord is nigh," says St. Paul in the Epistle, "rejoice in the Lord: again I say, rejoice." "Behold our God shall come," adds the Communion and "He will save us". "Lord, come that Thou mayest save us," sings the Alleluia," and in the Gospel we see John the Forerunner Who announces the coming of the Messiah, who tells of His greatness and effaces himself before Him, for "he is not the Light, but he gives testimony of the true Light, who is Jesus." May our faith and hope in Christ always increase. At Christmas Christ will come to deliver us more and more from the bondage of sin.

Mass Readings

INTROIT. Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men; for the Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous; but in everything by prayer let your petitions be made known to God. Thou hast blessed Thy land, 0 Lord: Thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob. Glory be to the Father.

COLLECT. Incline Thine ear to our prayers we beseech Thee, 0 Lord, and enlighten the darkness of our minds by the grace of Thy visitation. Who livest and reignest.

EPISTLE. Philip. iv. 4-7. Brethren: Rejoice in the Lord always: again I say, rejoice. Let your modesty be known to all men. The Lord is nigh. Be nothing solicitous; but in every thing, by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving, let your petitions be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasseth all understanding, keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.

GRADUAL. Thou, 0 Lord, that sittest upon the Cherubim, stir up Thy might, and come. Give ear, 0 Thou that rulest Israel. Thou that leadest Joseph like a sheep. Alleluia, alleluia. Stir up thy might, 0 Lord, and come to save us. Alleluia.

GOSPEL. John i. 19-28. At that time: The Jews sent from Jerusalem priests and Levites to John, to ask him: Who art thou? And he confessed, and did not deny; and he confessed: I am not the Christ. And they asked him: What then? Art thou Elias? And he said: I am not. Art thou the prophet? And he answered: No. They said therefore unto him: Who art thou, that we may give an answer to them that sent us? what sayest thou of thyself? He said: I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness: Make straight the way of the Lord, as said by the prophet Isaias. And they that were sent were of the Pharisees. And they asked him, and gaid to him: Why then dost thou baptize, if thou be not Christ, nor Elias, nor the prophet? John answered them, saying: I baptize with water; but there hath stood one in the midst of you, whom you know not; the same is He that shall come after me, who is preferred before me, the latchet of whose shoe I am not worthy to loose. These things were done in Bethania beyond the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

OFFERTORY. Thou hast blessed Thy land, 0 Lord: Thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob: Thou hast forgiven the iniquity of Thy people.

SECRET. May the sacrifice of our devotion, we beseech Thee, O Lord, be continually offered unto Thee; that it may both attain the end for which Thou didst institute this sacred Mystery, and wonderfully work in us Thy salvation. Through our Lord.

COMMUNION. Say: to the faint-hearted, take courage, and fear not: behold, our God will come and save us.

POSTCOMMUNION. We implore, Thy mercy 0 Lord, that these Divine gifts by atoning for our sins, may prepare us for the coming feast. Through our Lord.

Fourth Sunday of Advent.

Liturgical Commentary

Whereas the Church during the whole year offers her prayers to God the Father in union with Jesus Christ, during Advent she adresses herself directly to the Word, and not to the Word Incarnate, as is shown by today's Collect. Only on the Second Sunday does she entreat God the Father to prepare our hearts for the coming of His Son; but she asks this of God without laying stress on the mediation of Christ. The Liturgy reminds us, indeed, during these four weeks or the time during which the world was without Jesus. This Mediator we now await, and since we can go to God only through Him, we implore Him, to hasten His coming (Collect). "Come, 0 Lord, and tarry not" (Alleluia). "The Lord is nigh" (Gradual), and it is Mary who is about to give Him to us. The Offertory and the Communion are consecrated to His praises. In the Offertory especially we find the AVE MARIA, in which the Church in a single salutation combines the words of the Angel and those of St. Elizabeth, which were given us in the Gospels of the preceding Wednesday and Friday.

Mass Readings

INTROIT. Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just: let the earth be opened, and bud forth a Saviour. The heavens show forth the glory of God, and the firmament declareth the work of His hands. Glory be to the Father.

COLLECT. Stir up Thy powers, 0 Lord, we beseech Thee, and come, and with great might succor us; that, by the aid of Thy grace, that which is hindered by our sins may be hastened by Thy merciful indulgence.Who livest and reignest.

EPISTLE. I Cor. iv. 1-5. Brethren: Let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ, and the dispensers of the mysteries of God. Here now it is required among the dispensers, that a man be found faithful. But to me it is a very small thing to be judged by you, or by man's day: but neither do I judge my own self. For I am not conscious to myself of anything, yet am I not hereby justified: but He that judgeth me is the Lord. Therefore judge not before the time, until the Lord come; who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise from God.

GRADUAI. The Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon Him, to all that call upon Him in truth. My mouth shall speak the praise of the Lord and let all flesh bless His holy name. Alleluia, alleluia. Come, O Lord, and do not delay; forgive the sins of Thy people Israel, Alleluia.

GOSPEL. Luke iii. 1-6. In the fifteenth year of the reign of Tiberius Caesar, Pontius Pilate being governor of Judea, and Herod being tetrarch of Galilee, and Philip his brother tetrarch of Iturea and the country of Trachonitis, and Lysanias tetrach of Abilina, under the high-priests Annas and Caiphas; the word of the Lord was made unto John, the son of Zachary, in the desert. And he came into all the country about the Jordan, preaching the baptism of penance for the remission of sins, as it is written in the book of the sayings of Isaias the prophet: A voice of one crying in the wilderness: Prepare ye 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 shall be made straight, and the rough ways plain: and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.

OFFERTORY. Hail, Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb.

SECRET. Favorably regard, we beseech Thee, O Lord, these present sacrifices, that they may profit us both unto devotion and salvation. Through our Lord.

COMMUNION. Behold a Virgin shall conceive, and bring forth a son, and His name shall be called Emmanuel.

POSTCOMMUNION. Having received Thy gifts, we beseech Thee, O Lord, that with the frequent use of this Mystery the effect of our Salvation may increase. Through our Lord.