Sunday, 21 December 2008

The Fourth Sunday of Advent

Today is the fourth Sunday of Advent, it is a semi-double Sunday of the second class. The feast of St. Thomas the Apostle is transferred to tomorrow.

Mattins has, as for most Sundays, three nocturns and nine lessons. The first nocturn lessons are from the prophet Isiah, the second from a sermon of St. Leo and the third nocturn homily on the Gospel from St. Gregory. The Gospel places the Incarnation in the historical context of various rulers in lands around the Holy Land and the preaching of St. John the Baptist 'Prepare ye the way of the LORD'.

At Lauds the antiphons on the psalms are proper and the antiphon on the Benedictus is proper to the 21st December: Nolite timere... (Fear not..). At Prime the Dominical preces are sung.

At Mass the second collect is of the BVM, Deus, qui de beate, the third for the Church, Ecclesiae, the Creed is sung and the dismissal is Benedicamus Domino. The ministers, of course, wear folded chasubles and, as for all Sundays, six candles are on the altar.

Vespers are of St. Thomas the Apostle, the antiphon on the Magnificat is proper and the Sunday is commemorated with the Great O antiphon O Oriens.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' Mattins is reduced to one nocturn of three lessons. No preces are sung at Prime. At Mass there is no collect for the BVM and no third collect. The dismissal is Ite, missa est. The ministers wear dalmatic and tunicle. Vespers is of the Sunday: St. Thomas, one of the Twelve chosen by the LORD Himself is omitted entirely this year as was the case with St. Andrew barely three weeks ago.

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