December 23, 2018

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Roráte caéli désuper, et núbes plúant jústum.
Aperiátur terra, et gérminet Salvatórem.
Drop down dew from above, you heavens,
and let the clouds rain down the Just One;
let the earth be opened and bring forth a Savior.
(Cf. Is 45,8)

The Entrance Antiphon for this Fourth Sunday of Advent in the Ordinary Form and Extraordinary Form of the Roman Rite is also the Introit (synonymous with “entrance antiphon”) for the Ember Wednesday of last week in the traditional calendar.

Likewise, all three Masses focus attention of the announcement of the Archangel Gabriel to the young virgin Mary that she would bear a child who would be called “Son of the Most High”.

In this Year C of the three-year cycle of Sunday Readings we hear of the first act after the holy response of the mother of Our Lord: she “traveled to the hill country in haste to a town of Judah, where she entered the house of Zechariah [to care for her elder cousin] Elizabeth”. Here we see the Visitation as an extension of the Annunciation. Elizabeth even refers to message of the Archangel to Mary: “Blessed are you who believed that what was spoken to you by the Lord would be fulfilled”.

Following this theme, the Opening Prayer or Collect for today in both forms of Mass echo the words we repeat at the Angelus:

Pour forth, we beseech you, O Lord,
your grace into our hearts,
that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ your Son
was made known by the message of an Angel,
may by his Passion and Cross
be brought to the glory of his Resurrection.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Returning to our initial prayers of the day we realize that
the dew from above is the Holy Spirit that will yield Our
Savior, the fruit of the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.


These mystical words moved Christian hearts to turn Rorate caeli into a favorite Latin hymn (#735 in our St. Michael Hymnal), much like the “O Antiphons” spawning the hymn “O Come, O Come Emmanuel".

Come, Holy Spirit!
Come, Lord Jesus!
Merry Christmas!

Fr. Christopher J. Pollard

p.s. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Heb 13,8). Amen? Amen!