The Lord is at hand: come, let us adore him.
Year: A(II). Psalm week: 3. Liturgical Colour: Violet.
splendor lucis ætérnæ
et sol iustítiæ:
veni et illúmina sedéntes in ténebris et umbra mortis.
“O Rising Sun, you are the splendour of eternal light and the sun of justice: come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.”
Yesterday’s antiphon spoke of the people sitting in darkness and shadow and so does today’s, but there is a difference. The light of Christmas is very near. Jesus is nearly here. No longer do we look forward to being led out of our prison: now we look for his light to come and shine into the prison itself, dispelling its darkness.
Isaiah sees this future as a present: “The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone.”
For five evenings now the Magnificat antiphon at Vespers has been counting down to the birth of Jesus. There are only two evenings left to go.
|Saint Peter Canisius, priest, Doctor (1521 - 1597)|
He was born in Nijmegen (now in the Netherlands) in 1521. He studied at Cologne and joined the Society of Jesus: he was ordained priest in 1546. He was sent to Germany, where for many years he worked hard to defend and strengthen the Catholic faith both by writing and by preaching. He wrote many books, of which The Catechism
is particularly noteworthy. He died at Fribourg in Switzerland on 21 November 1597. See the articles in the Catholic Encyclopaedia
(written before his canonization) and Wikipedia
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
|Second Reading: St Ambrose of Milan (340? - 397)|
Ambrose was born in Trier (now in Germany) between 337 and 340, to a Roman family: his father was praetorian prefect of Gaul. Ambrose was educated at Rome and embarked on the standard cursus honorum of Roman advocates and administrators, at Sirmium, the capital of Illyria. In about 372 he was made prefect of Liguria and Emilia, whose capital was Milan.
In 374 the bishopric of Milan fell vacant and when Ambrose tried to pacify the conflict between the Catholics and Arians over the appointment of a new bishop, the people turned on him and demanded that he become the bishop himself. He was a layman and not yet baptized (at this time it was common for baptism to be delayed and for people to remain for years as catechumens), but that was no defence. Coerced by the people and by the emperor, he was baptized, ordained, and installed as bishop within a week, on 7 December 374.
He immediately gave his money to the poor and his land to the Church and set about learning theology. He had the advantage of knowing Greek, which few people did at that time, and so he was able to read the Eastern theologians and philosophers as well as those of the West.
He was assiduous in carrying out his office, acting with charity to all: a true shepherd and teacher of the faithful. He was unimpressed by status and when the Emperor Theodosius ordered the massacre of 7,000 people in Thessalonica, Ambrose forced him to do public penance. He defended the rights of the Church and attacked the Arian heresy with learning, firmness and gentleness. He also wrote a number of hymns which are still in use today.
Ambrose was a key figure in the conversion of St Augustine to Catholicism, impressing Augustine (hitherto unimpressed by the Catholics he had met) by his intelligence and scholarship. He died on Holy Saturday, 4 April 397.
|Liturgical colour: violet|
Violet is a dark colour, ‘the gloomy cast of the mortified, denoting affliction and melancholy’. Liturgically, it is the colour of Advent and Lent, the seasons of penance and preparation.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||Isaiah 2:11 ©|
Human pride will lower its eyes, the arrogance of men will be humbled. The Lord alone will be exalted, on that day.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Isaiah 12:2 ©|
See now, he is the God of my salvation. I have trust now and no fear, for the Lord is my strength, my song, he is my salvation.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Daniel 9:19 ©|
Listen, Lord! Lord, forgive! Hear, Lord, and act! For your own sake, my God, do not delay, because they bear your name, this is your city, this is your people.