Tag Archives: Advent

THE most significant Advent antiphon

In my opinion, the best antiphon beside the O Antiphons (which begin tomorrow at Vespers), and I am merely echoing the informed opinions of liturgical scholars, is the Rorate caeli (Rain down you heavens) antiphon in the Advent season. It is the expectation of Israel seen through the eyes of the prophet Isaiah (45:8). The whole purpose of the Incarnation is spoken of here:

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.

Be not angry, O Lord, and remember no longer our iniquity: behold the city of Thy sanctuary is become a desert, Sion is made a desert. Jerusalem is desolate, the house of our holiness and of Thy glory, where our fathers praised Thee.

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.

We have sinned, and we are as one unclean, and we have all fallen as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away thou hast hid Thy face from us, and hast crushed us by the hand of our iniquity

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.

See, O Lord, the affliction of Thy people, and send him whom thou hast promised to send. Send forth the Lamb, the ruler of the earth, from the rock of the desert to the mount of the daughter of Sion, that he himself may take off the yoke of our captivity.

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.

Be comforted, be comforted, my people; thy salvation shall speedily come. Why wilt thou waste away in sadness? why hath sorrow seized thee? I will save thee; fear not: for I am the Lord thy God, the Holy One of Israel, thy Redeemer.

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.

Advent: a recognition of the point of the Birth of Christ

Botticelli, Madonna del Libro, 1483.jpg

It is truly meet and just, right and available to salvation, that we should give thanks to thee, O 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 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. Be 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.


(A prayer from the Ambrosian Breviary, a Sixth Sunday of Advent, Preface)


Advent 2009: Come Lord, Jesus, “my eyes are toward, You Lord, leave me not defenseless”

Los entering the Grave Wm Blake.jpgTo Thee, O Lord, 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.

(Introit, 1st Sunday of Advent)
The Latin Church begins her observance of Advent with First Vespers for the First Sunday of Advent tonight (in Rome Advent has already begun with the Pope’s leading Vespers at Saint Peter’s Basilica). Vespers (evening prayer) is a way of sanctifying the day, giving to God all of the fruits of the day.
Other Catholic Churches, for example, the Ambrosian Church (the Archdiocese of Milan), the Syriac Churches, as in the Maronite Church, and the Byzantine Churches (as well as the Orthodox) began their Advent observance and fast two weeks ago.

B16 with new pastoral staff Vespers Advent 2009.jpg

Saint Paul invites us to prepare for the coming of Lord in a blameless manner. Paul uses the word “coming,” in Latin, “adventus,” meaning “presence, arrival, coming.” An adventus is arrival of an official but can also mean the diety’s coming forth showing his Presence to us. Christians adopted the word to establish a relationship with God. We participate in his coming by our participation in and with the liturgical assembly which knows in the heart: God is here, He has not left us and visits us in many ways: Advent is a personal visit from God entering into my life who wants to talk to me. We have to guard against the “doing” of our lives which monopolizes our interior life and thus distracts from the talking personally with God. Advent invites to see the daily events of our lives as God’s gifts to us, as signs of His Presence in our life, His love in our life. Our recollection of these events is a gesture of gratitude and a method recognizing the Presence of God personally.
With Saint Paul, let’s keep our body and soul blameless for God calls, He is faithful; and He will do it. We are with Mary in preparing room for the newborn Child, the Incarnate Word of God, Jesus.
At the name of Jesus every knee should bow…

O Emmanuel

The Great Antiphon for December 23


Emmanuel.jpgO Emmanuel, God with us, our King and Lawgiver, the expected of the nations and their Savior: Come to save us, O Lord our God.


O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster, exspectatio Gentium, et Salvator earum: veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus noster.


Isaiah 7:14; 88:8; 33:22; Genesis 49:10; cf. Ezekiel 21:32.


Symbols: tablets of stone, Chalice and Host.

O King of the Gentiles

The Great Antiphon for December 22


Rex Gentium.jpgO King of the Gentiles and their desired One, the Cornerstone that makes both one: Come, and deliver man, whom You formed out of the dust of the earth.



O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum, lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum:  veni, et salva hominem, quem de limo formasti.



Psalm 2:7-8; Haggai 2:8; Genesis 2:7; Ephesians 2:14-20.


Symbols, Crown, scepter.

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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