Sunday, 11 December 2011

The Third Sunday of Advent

The third Sunday of Advent, often referred to as Gaudete Sunday from the words of its introit, Gaudete in Domino semper: iterum dico gaudete sees a lightening of the Advent mood. 'Rejoice in the LORD always; again I say rejoice.' The same words begin the Epistle from Philippians (4:4). The Sunday's rank is a semi-double of the second class. The Gospel pericopes from St. John contain the Baptist's famous words "I am the voice of one crying in the wilderness, make straight the way of the LORD." On this Sunday, mirroring Laetare Sunday in Lent, the penitential mood is lightened with the deacon and sub-deacon wearing violet dalmatic and tunicle rather than their folded chasubles or, following the more modern praxis, with the use of rose vestments. The absence of folded chasubles means that the organ may be played. On this Sunday Cardinals of the Court of Rome traditionally wore rose waterered silk cassocks, with rose watered silk mozzeta and mantelleta.

At Vespers yesterday the antiphons from the following Sunday's Lauds, Veniet Dominus etc, were sung with the psalms of Saturday. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations were sung of the preceding Office of a day within the Octave and of St. Damasus. At Compline the Dominical preces were omitted due to the occurring Octave. Although within an Octave of the Blessed Virgin the concluding verse of Te lucis was in the ordinary form as the Doxology is not sung on the Sunday within the Octave following the 1911-13 reform.

At Mattins the invitatory is Prope est jam Dominus: Venite adoremus. This invitatory is now used until the 23rd of December inclusive. Office hymn is Verbum supernum. In the first nocturn the antiphons Veniet ecce Rex etc are sung with the usual psalms for Sunday. The lessons are a continuation of Isaiah and today contain the beautiful symbolism of the Rod of Jesse. In the second nocturn the antiphons Gaude et laetare etc are sung and the lessons are taken from St. Leo's sermon on the fast of the tenth month. In the third nocturn the antiphons Gabriel Angelus etc are sung and the homily is from St. Gregory on St. John's Gospel and the record of the Baptist. The Te Deum is omitted and in its place a ninth responsory, Docebit nos Dominus vias suas, is sung.

At Lauds the antiphons Veniet Dominus etc are sung with the Sunday psalms. The Office hymn is En clara vox. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations are sung of St. Damasus and of the Octave. At the Hours the antiphons from Lauds are used in the usual sequence. At Prime the versicle in the responsory is Qui venturus es in mundum and the Dominical preces are omitted due to the occurring Octave. At Prime and the Hours the hymns have the ordinary Doxology.

Mass is sung after Terce. The ministers wear dalmatic and tunicle. The Gloria is not sung. The second collect is of St. Damasus, the third of the Octave. The Creed is sung and the preface that of the Trinity. As the Gloria is not sung the dismissal is Benedicamus Domino, sung by the deacon facing the altar.

At Vespers the antiphons, Veniet Dominus etc, are sung with the Sunday psalms. The Office hymn is Creator alme siderum. After the collect of the Sunday commemorations are sung of the following day within the Octave and of St. Damasus. At Compline the Dominical preces are omitted.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' at both Vespers there are no commemorations. The Octave of the Virgin has been abolished. Mattins is stripped down to one nocturn of three lessons. At Lauds there are no commemorations. At Mass there is only one collect and the dismissal is Ite, missa est.

Art: Jerome Nadal depicts today's Gospel where the Jews sent priests and Levites to interrogate St. John the Baptist.

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