For Prayers Such As These For Advent

1024px-Candle_flame_(1)

Candle flame by Jon Sullivan

Before I became a Catholic, I had no idea what Advent meant. It was just another one of those weird, mysterious, Catholic words for a time in the year before Christmas. Nowadays, I appreciate it more because I understand that it commemorates the time when the people of Israel yearned for the Messiah.

I yearn for Him too. Especially this time of year when Madison Avenue kicks the Christmas shopping season into high gear, and the radio stations start the post-Thanksgiving “Holiday music” songs playing 24/7  for the Christmas season, and the television hits us non-stop with must-have gift ideas.

Because I don’t want to shop just yet, nor do I wish to be humming Christmas carols either. Instead, I long for the coming of the Lord. In fact, my wife and I are headed to the Holy Land for the first two weeks of Advent. It is a trip I’ve been looking forward to taking for some time.

I’m writing this post while riding in a bus filled with a group of like-minded pilgrims. Advent as a time of fasting and anticipation goes much better for me when I fast from the television and the radio.

And it is more meaningful when I pray for the coming of Our Lord in the manner suggested by the following verses translated by Blessed Cardinal John Henry Newman (from works of anonymous authors from the 6th and 7th centuries).

I’ll be praying these words tonight for Vespers and tomorrow for Matins and Lauds. Care to join me?

Advent—Vespers. Creator alme siderum.

Advent—Vespers. Creator alme siderum.

Creator of the starry pole,

Saviour of all who live,

And light of every faithful soul,

Jesu, these prayers receive.

Who sooner than our foe malign Should triumph,

from above Didst come,

to be the medicine

Of a sick world, in love;

And the deep wounds to cleanse and cure 

Of a whole race, didst go, 

Pure Victim, from a Virgin pure, 

The bitter Cross unto. 

Who hast a Name, and hast a Power, 

The height and depth to sway, 

And Angels bow, and devils cower, 

In transport or dismay ; 

Thou too shalt be our Judge at length; 

Lord, in Thy grace bestow 

Thy weapons of celestial strength, 

And snatch us from the foe. 

Honour and glory, power and praise, 

To Father, and to Son, 

And Holy Ghost, be paid always, 

The Eternal Three in One. 

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, 

as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. 

Amen. Alleluia. 

Advent—Matins. Verbum supernum prodiens

Supernal Word, proceeding from

The Eternal Father’s breast,

And in the end of ages come, 

To aid a world distrest; 

Enlighten, Lord, and set on fire 

Our spirits with Thy love, 

That, dead to earth, they may aspire 

And live to joys above. 

That, when the judgment-seat on high 

Shall fix the sinner’s doom, 

And to the just a glad voice cry, 

Come to your destined home; 

Safe from the black and yawning lake 

Of restless, endless pain, 

We may the face of God partake, 

The bliss of heaven attain. 

To God the Father, God the Son, And Holy Ghost, to Thee, 

As heretofore, when time is done, 

Unending glory be. 

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit,

as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, 

world without end. Amen. Alleluia. 

Advent—Lauds. En clara vox redarguit

Hark, a joyful voice is thrilling,

And each dim and winding way 

Of the ancient Temple filling; 

Dreams, depart! for it is day. 

Christ is coming!—from thy bed, 

Earth-bound soul, awake and spring,— 

With the sun new-risen to shed 

Health on human suffering. 

Lo! to grant a pardon free, 

Comes a willing Lamb from Heaven; 

Sad and tearful, hasten we, 

One and all, to be forgiven. 

Once again He comes in light, 

Girding each with fear and woe; 

Lord! be Thou our loving Might, 

From our guilt and ghostly foe. 

To the Father, and the Son, 

And the Spirit, who in Heaven Ever witness. 

Three and One, Praise on earth be ever given. 

Glory be to the Father and to the Son and to the Holy Spirit, 

as it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be, 

world without end. Amen. Alleluia.

It’s like the King David wrote in the thirty-seventh psalm, 1000 years before the Messiah came. Wait for the Lord, and keep His way.

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