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The Liturgical Year – Second Friday of Advent

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Regem venturum Donalnum,
venite, adoremus.

Do Isaia Prophets.
Cap. xxiv.

Ecce Dominus dissipabit
terram, et nudabit eam; et
affliget faciem ejus et disperget
habitatores ejus. Et
erit sicut populus, sic sacerdos;
et sicut servus, sic
dominus ejus; sicut ancilla,
sic domina ejus; sicut omens,
sic ille qui vendit; sicut
foenerator, sic is qui
mutuum accipit; sicut qui
repetit, sic qui debet.
Dissipatione dissipabitur terra,
et direptione praedabitur:
Dominus enim locutus est
verbum hoc. Luxit et defluxit
terra, et infirmata est:
defluxit orbis, infirmata est
altitudo populi terrae. Et
terra infecta est ab
habitatoribus suis: quia transgressi
sunt leges, mutaverunt jus,
dissipaverunt foedus
sempiternum. Propter hoc
maledictio vorabit terram, et
peccabunt habitatores ejus,
ideoque insanient cultores
ejus; et relinquentur
homines pauci. Luxit vindemia,
infirmata est vitis, ingemuerunt
omnes qui laetabantur corde.
Cessavit gaudium tympanorum,
quievit sonitus laetantium, conticuit
dulcedo citharae. Cum cantico
non bibent vinum: amara
erit potio bibentibus illam.
Attrita est civitas vanitatis:
clausa est omnis domus, nullo
introeunte. Clamor erit super
vino in plateis: deserta est
omnis laetitia, translatum est
gaudium terrae. Relicta est
in urbe solitudo, et calamitas
opprimet portas. Quia haec
erunt in medio terrae, in
medio populorum; quomodo
si paucae olivae quae
remanserunt, excutiantur ex olea:
et racemi, cum fuerit finita
vindemia. Hi levabunt vocem
suam, atque laudabunt; cum
glorificatus fuerit Dominus,
hinnient de mari. Propter
hoc in doctrinis glorificate
Dominum, in insulis maris
nomen Domini Dei Israel. A
finibus terrae laudes
audivimus, gloriam justi.

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

From the Prophet Isaias.
Ch. xxiv.

Behold the Lord shall lay
waste the earth, and shall
strip it: and shall afflict the
face thereof, and scatter
abroad the inhabitants there-
of. And it shall be as with
the people, so with the priest;
and as with the servant, so
with his master; as with the
handmaid, so with her mistress;
as with the buyer, so
with the seller; as with the
lender, so with the borrower;
as with him that calleth for
his money, so with him that
oweth. With desolation shall
the earth be laid waste, and
it shall be utterly spoiled:
for the Lord hath spoken this
word. The earth mourned
and faded away, and is weakened:
the world faded away,
the height of the people of
the earth is weakened. And
the earth is infected by the
inhabitants thereof: because
they have transgressed the
laws, they have changed the
ordinance, they have broken
the everlasting covenant.
Therefore shall a curse devour
the earth, and the inhabitants
thereof shall sin; and
therefore they that dwell
therein shall be mad, and few
men shall be left. The vintage
hath mourned, the vine
hath languished away, all the
merry-hearted have sighed.
The mirth of timbrels hath
ceased, the noise of them that
rejoice is ended, the melody
of the harp is silent. They
shall not drink wine with a
song; the drink shall be
bitter to them that drink it.
The city of vanity is broken
down, every house is shut up,
no man cometh in. There
shall be a crying for wine in
the streets: all mirth is
forsaken, the joy of the earth
is gone away. Desolation is
left in the city, and calamity
shall oppress the gates. For
it shall be thus in the midst
of the earth, in the midst of
the people, as if a few olives
that remain should be shaken
out of the olive tree: or
grapes, when the vintage is
ended. These shall lift up
their voice, and shall give
praise, when the Lord shall
be glorified, they shall make
a joyful noise from the sea.
Therefore glorify ye the Lord
in instruction: the name of
the Lord God of Israel in the
islands of the sea. From the
ends of the earth we have
heard praises, the glory of
the just one.

Thus was the earth in desolation when the Messias came to deliver and save it. So diminished, so decayed, were truths among the children of men, that the human race was bordering on its ruin. The knowledge of the true God was becoming rarer as the world grew older; idolatry had made everything in creation an object of its adulterous worship; the practical result of a religion which was but gross materialism, was frightful immorality; man was for ever at war with man; and the only safeguards of what social order still existed in the world, were the execrable laws of slavery and extermination. Among the countless inhabitants of the globe, a mere handful could be found who were seeking God! they were as rare as the olives that remain on the tree after a careful plucking, or as grape-bunches after the vintage is ended. Of this happy few were, among the Jewish people, those true Israelites whom our Saviour chose for His disciples; and, among the Gentiles, the Magi that came from the east, asking for the new-born King; and later on, Cornelius the centurion, whom the angel of the Lord directed to St. Peter. But with what faith and joy did they acknowledge the incarnate God! and what their hymns of glad gratitude, when they found that they had been privileged, above others, to see with their own eyes the promised Saviour!

Now, all this will again happen when the time draws near of the second coming of the Messias. The earth will once more be filled with desolation, and mankind will be again a slave of its self-degradation. The ways of men will again grow corrupt; and, this time, the malice of their evil will be the greater, because they will have received Him who is the Light of the world, the Word of life. A profound sadness will sit heavy on all nations, and every effort for their well-being will seem paralyzed; they, and the earth they live on, will be conscious of decrepitude; and yet it will never once strike them that the world is drawing to an end. There will be great scandals; there shall fall stars from heaven, that is, many of those who had been masters in Israel shall apostatize, and their light shall be changed into darkness. There shall be days of temptation, and faith shall grow slack:
that when the Son of Man shall appear, faith shall scarce be found on the earth. Let it not be, O Lord, that we live to see those days, of temptation; or, if it be Thy will that they overtake us, make our hearts firm in their allegiance to Thy holy Church, which will be the only beacon left to Thy faithful children in that fierce storm. Grant, O Lord, that we may be of the number of those chosen olives, of those elect bunches of grapes, wherewith Thou wilt complete the rich harvest which Thou wilt garner for ever into Thy house. Preserve intact within us the deposit of faith which Thou hast entrusted to us; let our eye be fixed on that Orient of which the Church speaks to us, and where Thou art suddenly to appear in Thy majesty. When that day of Thine comes, and we behold Thy triumph, we will shout our glad delight, and then, like eagles which cluster round the body, we shall be taken up to meet Thee in the air, as Thy apostle speaks, and thus shall we for ever be with Thee.¹ Then we shall hear the praises and glory of the Just One, from the ends of this earth, which it is Thy good will to preserve until the decrees of Thy mercy and justice shall have been fully executed. O Jesus! we are the work of Thy hands; save us, and be merciful to us on that great day.

HYMN OF ADVENT
(Mozarabic breviary, in the second week of Advent)

A Patre, Unigenite,
Ad nos venis per Virginem,
Baptismi rore consecrans,
Cunctos fide regenerans.

De coelo celsus prodiens,
Excepit formam hominis,
Victor a morte rediens,
Gaudia vitae largiens.

Hoc te, Redemptor,
quaesumus,
Illabere propitius,
Clarumque nostris cordibus
Lumen praebe deificum.
Deo Patri sit gloria
Ejusque soli Filio
Cum Spiritu Paraclito,
In sempiterna saecula.
Amen.

Only-begotten Son of the
Father, thou comest to us by
the Virgin, consecrating us
all by the dew of Baptism,
and by faith regenerating us.
The Most High coming
from heaven has taken on
himself the form of man,
returning after conquering
death, and giving us the joys
of a new life.
Wherefore, we beseech thee,
0 Redeemer, descend upon
us in thy mercy, and give to
our hearts the brightness of
the divine light.
To God the Father, and to
his only Son, and to the
holy Paraclete, be glory for
ever and ever.
Amen.

PRAYER FROM THE GALLICAN MISSAL
(In Adventu Domini, Collecta)

Animae nostrae quaesumus,
omnipotens Deus, hoc
potiantur desiderio: ut a
tuo Spiritu inflammentur,
ut sicut lampades divino
munere satiati, ante con-
spectum venientis Christi
Filii tui velut clara lumina
fulgeamus.
Grant, we beseech thee, 0
almighty God, that our souls
be filled with a desire of being
inflamed with thy Spirit;
that being nourished with
the divine gift, as lamps with
their oil, we may shine as
bright lights before the face
of Christ thy Son, who is
coming to us.

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