Sunday, 1 December 2013

First Sunday of Advent

The first Sunday of Advent is a semi-double Sunday of the first class and its liturgical colour is violet. The liturgy of Advent is perhaps the most exquisite of the entire liturgical year with 'layers' of meaning for both the First and Second Comings of the LORD. There is a weave of expectant joy and penance to be found in the liturgical texts. The eschatalogical theme of last Sunday's Gospel continues with St. Luke's Gospel today and the Coming of the Divine Judge.

During Advent bishops of the Roman rite exchange their violet choir cassocks for black ones (with train) which are worn with either a black mozzeta or black mattelletum with violet linings. Cardinals of the Court of Rome wear their 'winter' violet merino apparel (in contrast to their summer mourning dress of violet watered-silk) in place of their watered-silk scarlet dress.

At Mattins the invitatory is Regem venturum and this is sung in both the Dominical and ferial Offices of Advent until the third Sunday. The Office hymn is Verbum supernum. In the first nocturn the antiphons Veniet ecce Rex etc are sung with the usual psalms for Sunday. In the first nocturn the lessons are the Incipit of the prophet Isaiah. In the second nocturn the antiphons Gaude et laetare etc are sung and the lessons are taken from the writing of St. Leo on the fast of the tenth month, the theme of which is preparing for the Coming. In the third nocturn the antiphons Gabriel Angelus etc are sung and the homily is from St. Gregory continuing the theme of Coming with his commentary on St. Luke's Gospel about the end times. A ninth responsory is sung and the Te Deum is omitted in the Office of Advent. At Lauds the antiphons proper to the first Sunday In illa die etc, are sung with the Dominical psalms. The hymn is En clara vox. The Suffage is omitted during Advent.

At Prime the first antiphon from Lauds, In illa die, is sung with the usual Dominical psalms (117, 118i, 118ii). In the short responsory the versicle Qui venturus es in mundum replaces Qui sedes ad dexteram Patris for all of Advent except when an occurring feast has a proper versicle. The Dominical preces are sung. At the other Hours the remaining antiphons of Lauds are sung in the usual order.

Mass is sung after Terce. During Advent for ferial and Dominical Masses in the Roman rite the deacon and sub-deacon do not wear the dalmatic and tunicle but violet folded chasubles, an ancient feature of the Roman liturgy. The Gloria in not sung, the second collect is Deus, qui de beate, the third collect is Ecclesiae. The Creed is sung, the preface that of the Blessed Trinity and, as the Gloria was not sung, the dismissal is Benedicamus Domino, sung by the deacon facing the altar not turned towards the people.

At Vespers the antiphons In illa die etc are sung with the Dominical psalms. The Office hymn is Creator alme siderum. After the collect of the Sunday a commemoration is sung of the following feast of St. Bibiana. The Suffrage is omitted. At Compline the Dominical preces are sung.

In the 'liturgical books of 1962' so much has been excised from the Breviary that there are only two volumes not four and Advent Sunday marks the beginning of the Pars Prior, which runs until first Vespers of Trinity Sunday. Mattins is cut down to a single nocturn of three lessons. At Prime there are no preces. At Mass the deacon wears the dalmatic, and the sub-deacon the tunicle as at other times of the year. Folded chasubles, so ancient and so quintessentially Roman, have been tossed aside. There is only one collect and the dismissal is Ite, missa est. At Vespers there are no commemorations.

Art: Jerome Nadal

No comments: