Monday, November 28, 2011

First Sunday of Advent

First Sunday of Advent
Entrance Chant Ps 24(25) 1-3
Happy Liturgical New Year! It is always invigorating to begin anew, and we have so many new beginnings this week. A new year, a new season and a new translation of the Roman Missal. Like all good Catholics across the country, we were ready at Holy Mass with our Mass cards and new responses printed in bold. I was very impressed with our chapel congregation on Sunday that nearly blew us away with their enthusiastic, “And with your Spirit!”
It was a new Sunday, but we sang some very old Gregorian Chant. The Latin words of the Introit (Entrance Chant) are beautiful. My own translation follows here:
To you, my God, I lift up my soul: in you I trust, let me not be put to shame: neither let my enemies laugh at me: indeed, all who wait for you will not be confounded.
One of our cherished Poor Clare customs is to gather around our Advent wreathe to light the candles before each meal. In the evening, the Sisters take turns offering a prayer. This is my own, inspired by the Entrance Chant of Sunday:
To you, we lift up our soul, O Lord our God! We trust in you, we believe in you, we confide all our hope in you! But we see that the winter nights are long and the days will be growing cold, unwarmed by the sun’s weakening rays. We fear the strange sounds in the darkness and the footsteps that are not your own. The enemy of our soul would snare us in our weakness and laugh at our downfall. Our love, not yet perfect, has little power to cast out our fear. So you give us words to express our anguish: “Let me not be put to shame!” “My soul yearns for you in the night, yes my spirit keeps vigil for you”. You listen to our cry, and you come to save us! You are our light and our help. Whom shall we fear? You have already come and you will come, you are with us in our darkest night and our deepest sorrow. We wait for you, watching and waking. We listen for that longed for knock on the door of our hearts so that we can open to you without delay. We remember those who have waited for you and were not confounded—our Holy Father Francis, our Holy Mother Clare and all the saints who have gone before us. With them we lift up our souls. We are filled as with a banquet and our mouths will praise you with joy. We cling to you and your right hand holds us fast. Your love is better than this passing life. Come, Lord Jesus!

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