Although not carrying as strictly a penitential tone as does Lent, the Church does mark this preparation period before Christmas with penitential sentiments. Liturgically, violet vestments are worn on Sundays and on weekdays that have no saint assigned, the Gloria in excelsis is absent, the joyful Alleluia, although present, is not as frequent, and the organ is subdued. All are encouraged to follow these sentiments with some suitable penance and devotions in preparation for the arrival of the Christ Child in four short weeks, perhaps an added Mass during the week, a family Advent wreath and prayers, small sacrifices that add straw to the home Manger, among other things that better serve to keep Christ in Christmas.
Beginning on December 17, the great “O Antiphons” are sung in office of Vespers, all which tell of some quality of the Infant King, finally hailing Him as Emmanuel, that is “God with us” on December 23.
The Rorate Mass in candlelight in honor of our Lady is scheduled for Saturday, December 15 at 9:00 AM. A commentary that describes this beautiful tradition reads:
“The season of Advent falls each year in the dark month of December and it is a month when we see the general theme of the liturgical season being echoed in nature. Darkness has crept over the world, and is increasing each day. Yet, there is hope for soon the days will begin to lengthen and the sun will conquer the night. The earth reveals that there is a light in this dark place and that Light reigns victorious. The Church makes this truth more visible with an ancient tradition called the Rorate Mass.
This votive Mass during Advent in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary receives its name from the first words of the opening chant in Latin, Rorate caeli, meaning ‘Shower, O heavens.’
All are warmly invited to attend. The monthly recollection will follow twenty minutes after the conclusion of the solemn High Mass. Spread the word!