December, the month dedicated to the Divine Infancy
From "The Liturgical Year" by Dom Gueranger O.S.B.
Volume 1 Advent - Chapter The Fifth
On Hearing Mass During The Time Of Advent
There is no exercise which is more pleasing to God, or more
meritorious, or which has greater influence in infusing solid piety
into the soul, than the assisting at the holy sacrifice of the Mass.
If this be true at all the various seasons of the Christian year, it
is so, in a very special manner, during the holy time of Advent. The
faithful, therefore, should make every effort in order to enjoy this
precious blessing, even on those days when they are not obliged to it
by the precept of the Church.
With what gratitude ought they to assist at that divine sacrifice,
for which the world had been longing for four thousand years! God has
granted them to be born after the fulfilment of that stupendous and
merciful oblation, and would not put them in the generations of men
who died before they could partake of its reality and its riches!
This notwithstanding, they must earnestly unite with the Church in
praying for the coming of the Redeemer, so to pay their share of that
great debt which God had put upon all, whether living before or after
the fulfilment of the mystery of the Incarnation. Let them think of
this in assisting at the holy sacrifice.
Let them also remember that this great sacrifice, which perpetuates
on this earth even to the end of time, though in an unbloody manner,
the real oblation of the Body and Blood of Jesus Christ, has this for
its express aim: to prepare the souls of the faithful for the
mysterious coming of God, who redeemed our souls only that He might
take possession of them. It not only prepares, it even effects this
Let them, in the third place, lovingly profit by the presence of,
and intimacy with, Jesus, to which this hidden yet saving mystery
admits them; that so, when He comes in that other way, whereby He
will judge the world in terrible majesty, He may recognize them as
His friends, and even then, when mercy shall give place to justice,
again save them.
We shall now endeavour to embody these sentiments in our explanation
of the mysteries of the holy Mass, and initiate the faithful into
these divine secrets; not, indeed, by indiscreetly presuming to
translate the sacred formulae, but by suggesting such acts, as will
enable those who hear Mass to enter into the ceremonies and
sentiments of the Church and of the priest.
The faithful, in assisting at Mass during Advent, should first know
whether it is going to be said according to the Advent rite, or in
honour of the blessed Virgin, or of a saint, or, finally, for the
dead. The colour of the vestments worn by the priest will tell them
all this. Purple is used, if the Mass be of Advent; white or red, if
of our Lady or of the saints; and black, if for the dead. If the
priest be vested in purple, the faithful must excite within
themselves the spirit of penance which the Church would signify by
this colour. They should do the same, no matter what may be the
colour of the vestments; for in every Mass during Advent, with the
exception of Masses for the dead, the priest is obliged, even on the
greatest feasts, to make a commemoration of Advent three separate
times, and thus to make use of the same expressions of repentance and
sorrow as he would in a Mass proper to the time of Advent.
On the Sundays, if the Mass at which they assist be the parochial,
or, as it is often called, the public Mass, two solemn rites precede
it, which are full of instruction and blessing: the Asperges, or
sprinkling of the holy water, and the procession.
During the Asperges, let them ask for that purity of heart, which is
necessary for having a share in the twofold coming of Jesus Christ;
and in receiving the holy water, the sprinkling of which prepares us
for assisting worthily at the great sacrifice, wherein is poured
forth, not a figurative water, but the very Blood of the Lamb, they
should think of that baptism of water, by means of which St. John the
Baptist prepared the Jews for that other Baptism, which the power and
mercy of the Redeemer were afterwards to give to mankind.
Sincerely in Christ,
Our Lady of the Rosary Library
"Pray and work for souls"