blank'/> SHARING CATHOLIC TRUTH: ADVENT --- ERO CRAS - the '0' Antiphons --- Advent hymn O Come O Come Emmanuel ...& ... CHRISTMAS

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

ADVENT --- ERO CRAS - the '0' Antiphons --- Advent hymn O Come O Come Emmanuel ...& ... CHRISTMAS


Old Testament Prophets Foretold the Birth of Christ



Advent 2016 ---- A mobile version of the Advent calendar to make the most out of Christmas

to download in mobile >>>


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 Advent, a season of four Sundays,  is the beginning of a new liturgical year for the Roman Catholic Church. On the first day of Advent, the Church celebrates its New Year's Day. The date for the beginning of Advent falls each year on the Sunday closest to November 30th - the feast day of Saint Andrew the Apostle - and ends on Christmas Eve.

Advent is given to us as a time to prepare our souls for the coming of the Lord. This season is very similar to Lent which helps us to prepare for Easter. In modern times we are tempted to skip over the penitential aspects of Advent and focus on the joy of Christmas. This is a great tragedy. Focusing only on the joy, denies the truth: The Christ Child is our Lord and Saviour Who will suffer and die for our salvation.

Originally Advent was celebrated over forty days, just like the Lenten season. This has now been shortened to four weeks, but the symbolism remains. You may notice another similarity to Lent when you attend Mass; although we still sing the Alleluia before the Gospel reading, we do not sing the song of the angels - the Gloria. We will sing this song anew with the angels on Christmas day - just as they did over 2000 years ago.

The word, Advent, consists of two Latin words: ad — venire, “to come to.” Advent’s message is that God in Christ is coming to the world. The Message of Advent is to “prepare.” The Lord is coming whether the world is ready or not. For those unprepared, his coming means judgment. For those ready for his coming, it means salvation.

How does Advent suggest that we prepare?

  1. Repentance — forsake the sins of the world for a godly way of life.
  2. Prayer – pray for the coming of Christ, for he shall save.
  3. Patience – his coming may be delayed. Watch and wait, for his coming may be sudden

The Mood of Advent

  1. Expressed in colour. The mood of Advent is expressed in the liturgical colour, purple. It depicts a feeling of quiet dignity, royalty and repentance. Purple was the traditional colour of a king’s robe - the coming Christ is King of kings. Advent, like Lent, is a time for solemn and sober thought about one’s sins, leading to repentance. It denotes a quiet time for watching, waiting and praying for Christ to come again, personally and universally.
  2. Joy in hope. Advent stresses not so much fulfillment as anticipation of fulfillment: the Lord is coming! Christians have great expectations of Christ’s coming again. As a family looks forward to a son returning from a war and as a bride anticipates her wedding day, so a Christian looks forward with joy to Christ’s coming. In the quiet joy of anticipation and not the joy of celebration of a past event


"Maranathà !
Come Lord Jesus !

The Advent Wreath 

Since circles have no beginning and no end, the circular shape of the Advent Wreath is used to symbolize the endless nature of God’s love for all mankind.. The wreath holds four candles which are lit over the four weeks of Advent - The light of the flame is a visual reminder that Christ is "The Light of the World" (John 8:12). - There are three violet (purple) candles and one rose coloured, the 'Joy' candle, each representing 1,000 years. Added together, the four candles symbolize the 4,000 years that humanity waited for the Saviour: The entire 4000 year period of God's calling his people to Himself - from Abraham to the human birth of Jesus Christ Himself --- The everlasting covenant that involves promises on God’s part and obligations on mankind’s part ---  The apostle Paul is crystal clear on this point: “If you are Christ’s, then you are Abraham’s offspring [i.e., seed], heirs according to promise” (Gal. 3:29). It is the true church, those who are of faith (Gal. 3:9), who are the people of the covenant and the recipients of the promises of the Abrahamic treaty. It is not a question of blood lineage for one to be a member, but one of faith. As Paul says, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal. 3:28).

In consequence, the wonderful blessings of the covenant belong to God’s people today. First, the promise of an abundant seed is coming to pass in the church throughout the ages. Christ commanded His people to “make disciples of all nations” (Matt. 28:19), and those who come to faith in Christ are of the covenant of Abraham. Paul said, “So that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith” (Gal. 3:14). In addition, believers are recipients of the Promised Land as inheritors of the promise of God to Abraham. Peter remarks, “According to his great mercy, he has caused us to be born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable and unfading, kept in heaven for you” (1 Peter 1:3–4). The true, eternal promised land is not some dusty tract in the Middle East, but it is the celestial city that has been reserved in heaven for the people of the covenant by the work of Christ !

The sign and seal of the covenant in the New Testament age is BAPTISM: God’s people undergo this ritual as a visible sign that they belong to the covenant and that they will receive the blessings of being in the covenant community: Most importantly, through the Sacrament of Reconciliation we will have the grace to receive the Eucharist, God Himself, to guide us in wisdom in our faithfulness and gratitude in Him and in His Church.

By December 2016 - New Catholic application called Gaudete that helps prepare Catholics for Christmas - from The Society of the Infant Jesus, in Singapore


ADVENT - CHRISTMAS - EPIPHANY --- day by day Gospel Videos


The Advent Wreath draws attention to the anticipation of the coming of a Messiah that weaves its way like a golden thread through Old Testament history. The Israelites yearned for a return of God’s dynamic presence in their midst. And so, God revealed to some of the prophets that indeed He would not leave His people without a true Shepherd.


First Sunday in Advent – Light the first purple candle which is the candle of Hope and in some traditions prophecy because it reminds us that God foretold the coming of His Son and it represents the period of waiting.


First Sunday of Advent




[Is:45:8] "Qattru, smewwiet, mill-għoli,
u jraxxax is-sħab il-ġustizzja;
tinfetaħ l-art u tinbet is-salvazzjoni,
u tinbet magħha l-ġustizzja.
Jiena l-Mulej, jien ħlaqtha.

Rorate coeli - Gregoriano a música da paz

Second Sunday in Advent – Light the first and the second purple candle which is the candle of Peace and in some traditions it is called the Bethlehem Candle because it reminds us that even God prepared for the birth of His Son. The manger in Bethlehem became a cradle fit for a King.


Second Sunday of Advent


Third Sunday in Advent – Gaudete Sunday - Light the first two purple candles and the rose candle that is called the candle of Joy and in some traditions the Shepherds’ candle. It reminds us of the poor shepherds who were the first people to see Jesus – that we all need a shepherd and that Jesus is our shepherd. God loves all people. Some are rich and famous, but others are poor and sometimes hungry. Each has a very special place in the heart of God.

Third Sunday of Advent


Gaudete Sunday




Fourth Sunday in Advent – Light the 4th purple of love (together with the other 2 purple and 1 rose candles).  This candle is also called the Angel’s Candle. It reminds us that Love came into the world when Jesus was born and represents rejoicing.

 Fourth Sunday of Advent


Reading 1 - Micah 5:1-4
Psalm - Psalm 80:2-19
Reading 2 - Hebrews 10:5-10
Gospel - Luke 1:29-45

Mary, David and the Theo-Drama (The heavenly joy and strength when we restrain our human ego-drama to concentrate on God)

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The Nativity of the Lord (Christmas)
Vigil Mass

All the candles are lit and the white candle in the centre which is Christ’s Candle 

 Happy Birthday dear Jesus


The nativity of Jesus - video in Maltese


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Oh Come Oh Come Emmanuel

Veni Emmanuel (New York Polyphony)  

ADVENT - ERO CRAS - the '0' Antiphons ---  and the Advent hymn O Come O Come Emmanuel

Most familiar today from the Advent hymn, "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel," the seven traditional "O Antiphons" are actually more than a thousand years old. They have long been used at the very end of Advent (Dec. 17-23 - with Dec. 24 being Christmas Eve and Vespers for that evening being for the Christmas Vigil) in the liturgical prayer of the Church, as Antiphons for the "Magnificat" sung or recited during Vespers (the Evening Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours). Since the Second Vatican Council, they have also been adapted (slightly reworded and rearranged) for the "Alleluia Verse" of the Mass (the short scriptural text or paraphrase that immediately precedes the Gospel reading). Each Antiphon invokes the coming of the Messiah, beginning with a biblical title and closing with a specific petition. The importance of “O Antiphons” is twofold:
Each one highlights a title for the Messiah: O Sapientia (O Wisdom), O Adonai (O Lord), O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse), O Clavis David (O Key of David), O Oriens (O Rising Sun), O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations), and O Emmanuel. Also, each one refers to the prophecy of Isaiah of the coming of the Messiah.
Let’s now look at each antiphon with just a sample of Isaiah’s related prophecies :
(Dec 17) O Sapientia: “O Wisdom, O holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care. Come and show your people the way to salvation.” Isaiah had prophesied, “The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord, and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord.” (11:2-3), and “Wonderful is His counsel and great is His wisdom.” (28:29).
(Dec 18) O Adonai: “O sacred Lord of ancient Israel, who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush, who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain: come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free.” Isaiah had prophesied, “But He shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the land’s afflicted. He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.” (11:4-5); and “Indeed the Lord will be there with us, majestic; yes the Lord our judge, the Lord our lawgiver, the Lord our king, he it is who will save us.” (33:22).
(Dec 19) O Radix Jesse: “O Flower of Jesse’s stem, you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in your presence; the nations bow down in worship before you. Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid.” Isaiah had prophesied, “But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.” (11:1), and A On that day, the root of Jesse, set up as a signal for the nations, the Gentiles shall seek out, for his dwelling shall be glorious.” (11:10). Remember also that Jesse was the father of King David, and Micah had prophesied that the Messiah would be of the house and lineage of David and be born in David’s city, Bethlehem (Micah 5:1).
(Dec 20) O Clavis David: “O Key of David, O royal Power of Israel controlling at your will the gate of Heaven: Come, break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death; and lead your captive people into freedom.” Isaiah had prophesied, AI will place the Key of the House of David on His shoulder; when he opens, no one will shut, when he shuts, no one will open.” (22:22), and “His dominion is vast and forever peaceful, from David’s throne, and over His kingdom, which he confirms and sustains by judgment and justice, both now and forever.” (9:6).
(Dec 21) O Oriens: “O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.” Isaiah had prophesied, “The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shown.” (9:1).
(Dec 22) O Rex Gentium: “O King of all the nations, the only joy of every human heart; O Keystone of the mighty arch of man, come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust.” Isaiah had prophesied, “For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.” (9:5), and “He shall judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again.” (2:4)
(Dec 23) O Emmanuel: “O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver, desire of the nations, Savior of all people, come and set us free, Lord our God.” Isaiah had prophesied, “The Lord himself will give you this sign: the Virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel.” (7:14). Remember “Emmanuel” means “God is with us.”
In the traditional arrangement, when viewed from Christmas Eve backward, the first letters of the Latin texts (Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia) spell out the phrase ero cras ("I come tomorrow"). So the “O Antiphons” not only bring intensity to our Advent preparation, but bring it to a joyful conclusion.
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Note that the first verse of the popular hymn "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel", is actually the last of the traditional "O Antiphons" (for Dec. 23!), while the other verses of the hymn (in the order printed in most hymnals) correspond to the Antiphons for Dec. 17 to Dec. 22.
  • Unfortunately, many churches sing the first verse of the hymn over and over again throughout the Advent season, maybe also sing verses two and three, but never get around to singing the other beautiful verses.
  • Ideally, the hymn "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" ought to be sung only during the last week of Advent. But since it is so popular, and some people might not even realize that it was Advent unless they heard this hymn, it could be sung earlier, possibly even each Sunday (to help unify the season liturgically).
  • Yet if this is done, there are better ways of distributing the verses over the four weeks. Since most people know the tune so well, one could easily the first verse until the end, and people could just as easily sing the other verses on the first three Sundays of Advent. To maintain the traditional order, here is one possible suggestion:
  • First Sunday: Verses 2 (Wisdom) & 3 (Lord)
  • Second Sunday: Verses 4 (Rod of Jesse) & 5 (Key of David)
  • Third Sunday: Verses 6 (Dayspring) & 7 (Desire of Nations)
  • Fourth Sunday: Verse 1 (Emmanuel) & repeat one or two others
Or, if your congregation insists on singing the first verse on the first Sunday, then at least all sing the other verses throughout the season. Here's another possible suggestion (to be adapted, depending on how many verses your congregation normally sings):
  • First Sunday: Verses 1 (Emmanuel) & 2 (Wisdom) & 3 (Lord)
  • Second Sunday: Verses 3 (Lord) & 4 (Rod of Jesse) & 5 (Key of David)
  • Third Sunday: Verses 5 (Key of David) & 6 (Dayspring) & 7 (Desire of Nations)
  • Fourth Sunday: Verse 1 (Emmanuel) & any others you wish to repeat

excerpts and references from:

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Novena tal-Milied


 Libera - Gaudete

“Angels from the Realms of Glory”

(mixed with “Angels We Have Heard On High”)






2016.12.24 Midnight Mass of Christmas