Second Sunday of Advent
From THE LITURGICAL YEAR, Book
THE Office of this Sunday is filled, from
beginning to end, with the sentiments of hope and joy, with which the
should be animated at the glad tidings of the speedy coming of Him Who
is her Saviour and Spouse. The interior coming, that which is effected
in the soul, is the almost exclusive object of the Church's prayers for
this day: let us therefore open our hearts, let us prepare our lamps,
await in gladness that cry, which will be heard in the midnight: 'Glory
be to God! Peace unto men!'
Come, let us adore the King, our Lord, Who is to come.
R. The root of Jesse gave out a branch, and the branch a flower; and on the flower resteth the holy Spirit.
V. The Virgin Mother of God is the branch, her Son the flower. And on the flower resteth the Holy Spirit.
The devout St. Bernard, commenting upon this responsory in his second Advent homily, says: 'The Virgin's Son is the flower, a flower white and ruddy, chosen out of thousands; a flower on Whom the Angels love to look; a flower whose fragrance restores the dead; a flower, as Himself assures us, of the field, not of a garden: for the flowers of the field bloom without man's care, no man has sown their seed, no man has cultivated them. Just so the Virgin's womb, a meadow verdant in an endless spring, has brought forth a flower, Whose beauty will never droop, Whose freshness will never fade. O Virgin, branch sublime, to what a height art thou grown! Even up to Him that sitteth on the throne, even to the Lord of majesty. It was sure to be so, for thou castest deep down the roots of humility. O plant of Heaven indeed! precious above all, holier than all. O tree of life indeed! alone worthy to bear the fruit of salvation.'
And of the holy Spirit and His gifts, what shall we say? They rest and are poured out on the Messias only to the end that they may flow from Him upon us ; He needs them not; but we alone need wisdom and understanding, counsel and fortitude, knowledge and godliness, and fear of the Lord. Let us ask with instance for this Divine Spirit, by Whose operation Jesus was conceived and born in Mary's womb, and let us beg of Him to form Jesus within our hearts. But let us not forget to rejoice at those other glorious things which are told us by the prophet, of the happiness, and peace, and delights, which are to be on the holy mountain. The world has been looking so many ages for peace; it is now coming. Sin had caused enmity and division everywhere; grace will bring unity. A little Child will be the pledge of an alliance between all nations. The prophets have foretold it . . . a new race is being sent down to earth from high Heaven. The flock shall no more fear the fierce lions. The serpent shall be no more: the treacherous plant, which yielded poison, shall grow no more.
Come then, O Messias, and restore to the world its primitive peace; but remember, we beseech Thee, that it is in the heart of man that harmony has been broken more than elsewhere in Thy creation: cure this heart, enter into possession of this Jerusalem, which Thou lovest, though so unworthy: she has been too long captive in Babylon; lead her out of this strange land. Build up her temple again, and make the glory of this second temple to be greater than that of the first, by having Thee to dwell in it, not in figure, but in the reality of Thy adorable Person. The Angel said to Mary: 'The Lord God shall give unto thy Son the throne of David His father; and He shall reign in the house of Jacob for ever; and of His kingdom there shall be no end.' What can we do, O Jesus, but say with Thy beloved disciple, at the close of his prophecy: 'Amen. Come, Lord Jesus!' . . .
Thou art He that was to come, O Jesus! We look for no other. We were blind, Thou hast enlightened us; we were lame, Thou hast made us walk; the leprosy of sin disfigured us, Thou hast cleansed us; we were deaf to Thy words, Thou hast given us hearing; we were dead in sin, Thou hast given us life again; we were poor and had none to care for us, Thou hast come to us with every aid and consolation. These have been, and will again be, the blessings of Thy visit to our souls, O Jesus! A visit, silent but wonderful in its work; which flesh and blood cannot understand, but which faithful hearts feel is granted them. Come, my Saviour, come to me, Thy condescension, and familiarity with such poverty as mine, shall not scandalize me; Thy workings in the souls of men are proof enough that Thou art God. He alone, that created souls, can heal them.
After the symbol of faith
has been chanted, when you see the priest is about to make the offering
of the bread and wine, unite with the Church in asking to be filled
life by the Divine Guest, Who is so soon to be with her.