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The Liturgical Year – Second Thursday of Advent
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The Liturgical Year - Second Thursday of Advent

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Icon of the Second Coming of Christ

Icon of the Second Coming of Christ

Regem venturum Dominum,
venite, adoremus.

De Isaia Propheta.
Cap. xix.

Onus Egypti. Ecce Dominus
ascendet super nubem
levem: at ingredietur Egypturn:
et commovebuntur simulacra
Egypti a facie ejus,
at cor Egypti tabescet in medio
ejus: et concurrere faciam
Egyptios adversus Egyptios,
et pugnabit vir contra
fratrem suum, at vir contra
amicum suum, civitas
adversus civitatem, regnum
adversus regnum.

Come, let us adore the
King our Lord, who is to
come.

From the Prophet Isaias.
Ch. xix.

The burden of Egypt. Behold
the Lord will ascend
upon a light cloud: and will
enter into Egypt: and the
idols of Egypt shall be moved
at his presence, and the heart
of Egypt shall melt in the
midst thereof: and I will set
the Egyptians to fight against
the Egyptians, and they shall
fight brother against brother,
and friend against friend, city
against city, kingdom against
kingdom.

The Egypt which the Lord is here represented as visiting, and whose idols and empire He will overthrow, is the city of satan, which is to be destroyed, and to give place to the city of God. But how peaceful is the divine Conqueror's entrance into His conquest! it is on a cloud, a light cloud, that He comes, as on His triumphal chariot. How many mysteries in these few words! 'There are three clouds,' says Peter of Blois ; 'the first the obscurity of the prophets ; the second, the depth of the divine decrees; the third, the prodigy of a Virgin Mother.'¹  First, as to the obscurity of the prophets, it is essential to every
prophecy that it be thus veiled, to the end that man's free will may not be interfered with; but under this cloud the Lord comes at last, and when the day comes for the prophecy to be accomplished, all things are clear enough. Thus was it with the first coming; so will it be with the second. Then, as to the decrees of God; as they are ordinarily made manifest by second, that is by created, causes only, it almost always happens that the extreme simplicity of the means employed by the divine Wisdom takes men by surprise. Never was this so observable as in the grand event of the Incarnation. Men would naturally expect that, in restoring a fallen world, a power equal, at least, to that which first created it would be displayed; and all they are told about the portent is: 'You will find the Child wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger' ! O almighty power of God, how dazzling is Thy light through this cloud! how strong art Thou in this apparent weakness!

But there is the third cloud; it is the Virgin Mary; a light cloud, 'for,' says St. Jerome, 'neither concupiscence, nor the burden of earthly marriage, weighs upon her;' a cloud, too, laden with a refreshing Dew, since it holds the Just One, who is to be rained down upon us, that our seething passions may be quenched, and the soil of our spiritual life made fertile. How sweet is the majesty of our divine King, when seen thus through this beautiful cloud! O incomparable Virgin! the whole Church of God recognizes thee in that mysterious cloud which the prophet Elias, ² from the summit of Mount Carmel, saw rising up from the sea, little, at first, like a man's foot, but sending at last such a plentiful rain that all Israel was refreshed by its abundance. Delay not, we pray thee; give us that heavenly and divine Dew which thou possessest within thee. Our sins have made the heavens as brass, and we are parched; thou alone of creatures art just and pure! Beseech our Lord, who has set up His throne of mercy in thee, to come speedily and destroy our enemies and bring us peace.

HYMN FOR ADVENT
(The Mozarabic Breviary, first Sunday of Advent)

Cunctorum rex
omnipotens,
Mundum salvare veniens,
Formam assumpsit corporis
Nostrae similitudinis.
Qui regnat cum Altissimo,
Virginis intrat uterum,
Nasciturus in corpore,
Mortis vincla disrumpere.
Gentes erant in tenebris:
Videbunt lumen fulgoris,
Cum Salvator advenerit
Redimere quos condidit.Quem olim vatum praescia
Cecinerunt oracula,
Nunc veniet in gloria,
Nostra ut curet vulnera.Laetemur nunc in Domino,
Simul in Dei Filio,
Parati eum suscipere
Adventus sui gloria.
Amen.
The almighty King of the
universe, coming to save the
world, assumed to himself a
body like unto ours.
He who reigns with the
Most High, enters the Virgin's
womb, that he may be
born in the flesh, and break
the bonds of death.
The nations have sat in
darkness; but they shall see
the brightest light, when the
Saviour shall come to redeem
his creatures.
He of whom the future-
seeing oracles of the prophets
anciently sang, shall now
come in glory to cure our
wounds.
Let us now be glad in the
Lord, and in the Son of
God, and be ready to receive
him in his glorious coming.
Amen.

PRAYER FROM THE AMBROSIAN BREVIARY
(Sixth Sunday of Advent, Preface)

Vere dignum et justum
est, aequum et salutare: nos
tibi, Domine Deus omnipotens,
gratias agere: et cum
tuae invocatione virtutis,
beatae Marie Virginis festa
celebrare: de cujus ventre
fructus effloruit, qui Panis
angelici munere nos replevit.
Quod Eva voravit in crimine,
Maria restituit in salute.
Distat opus serpentis et Virginis.
Inde fusa sunt venena
discriminis: hinc egressa
mysteria Salvatoris. Inde se
praebuit tentantis iniquitas:
hinc Redemptoris est
opitulata majestas. Inde partus
occubuit; hinc Conditor
resurrexit, a quo humana
natura, non jam captiva, sed
libera restituitur. Quod
Adam perdidit in parente,
Christo recepit auctore.
It is truly meet and just,
right and available to salvation,
that we should give
thanks to thee, 0 Lord God
almighty: and that we should,
whilst invoking thy power,
celebrate the feasts of the
blessed Virgin Mary; from
whose womb grew the Fruit,
which has filled us with the
Bread of angels. That Fruit
which Eve took from us when
she sinned, Mary has restored
to us, and it has saved us.
Not as the work of the serpent
is the work of Mary.
From the one, came the poison
of our destruction; from
the other, the mysteries of
salvation. In the one, we
see the malice of the tempter;
in the other, the help of
the divine Majesty. By the
one, came death to the
creature; by the other, the
resurrection of the Creator, by
whom human nature, now not
captive but free, is restored;
and what it lost by its parent
Adam, it regained by its
Maker Christ.
  1. Second Sermon of Advent
  2. 3 Kings xviii. 42-44.

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