DECEMBER 9. THE SECOND DAY WITHIN THE OCTAVE OF THE IMMACULATE CONCEPTION.

Let us consider how the immaculate Mary came into this world nine months after her Conception, and how each day of her life gave man fresh reason to hope for the great promises made him by God. Let us admire the fulness of grace which God has given to her, and contemplate the respect and the love wherewith the holy Angels look upon her as the future Mother of Him who is to be their Head and King, as well as ours. Let us follow this august Queen to the Temple of Jerusalem, where she is presented by her parents, St. Joachim and St. Anne. When but three years of age, she was initiated into all the secrets of divine love. "I always rose at midnight (thus she spoke of herself, in a revelation to St. Elizabeth of Hungary), and went before the Altar of the Temple, where I besought of God that I might observe all the commandments of his Law, and be enriched with those graces which would render me pleasing to his Majesty. I most earnestly prayed him, that I might live to see that most holy virgin who was to bring forth into this world his own divine Son. I asked him to grant me to enjoy the use of my eyes that I might see her, of my tongue that I might praise her, of my hands that I might serve her, of my feet that I might go her errands, and of my knees that I might adore the Son of God resting in her arms."

Thou, O Mary, thou thyself wast this Virgin, who was worthy of the praises of men and Angels ! But God had not yet revealed it to thee, and thy heavenly humility forbade thy thinking that the immense dignity, which thou didst so deeply venerate, could ever be thine. Nay, thou wast the first and the only one of the daughters of Israel that had renounced all hope of ever being the Mother of the Messias. To be Mother of the Messias was, indeed, an ineffable honour; but it seemed as though it could only be received on the condition of having another Spouse besides God, and this thou wouldst not suffer; thou wouldst be united to God alone, and thy vow of Virginity which made thee so, was dearer to thee than the possibility of any privilege, which would rob thee even of a tittle of that. Thy marriage with St. Joseph, therefore, was a fresh lustre added to thy incomparable purity, whilst, in the designs of God, it provided thee with the protection which thy coming honours would soon require. We follow thee, O Spouse of Joseph, into thy house at Nazareth, where is to be spent thy humble life. There we behold thee diligent in all thy duties, the valiant Woman of the Scriptures [Prov. xxxi. 10], the object of the admiration of God and his Angels. Suffer us, O Mary! to unite our Advent devotions with the prayers which thou didst offer up for the coming of the Messias; with the veneration wherewith thou didst think upon Her that was to be his Mother; and with the inflamed desires wherewith thou didst long for the divine Saviour. We salute thee as the Virgin [Is. vii. 14] foretold by Isaias; it is thyself, blessed Mother, that deservest the praise and love of the holy people and city, the redeemed of the Lord [ibid. xlii. 12].

 

SEQUENCE. 
(Taken from the Cluny Missal of 1523.)

Veneremur Virginem
Genitricem gratiae,
Salutis dulcedinem,
Fontem Sapientiae.

Haec est aula regia,
Regina prudentiae,
Virgo plena gratia,
Aurora laetitiae.

Haec est melle dulcior,
Castitatia lilium;
Jaspide splendidior,
Moeroris solatium.

O f ons admirabilis,
Fidei principium,
Mater admirabilis,
Vas virtutis pretium.

Tu es regis speciosi
Mater honestissima,
Odor nardi pretiosi,
Rosa suavissima est

Arbor vitae digna laude,
O Stella fulgentissima,
Generosa Mater, gaude,
Virginum sanctissima.

Tu medela peccatorum,
Regina consilii,
Peperisti florem florum,
Christum fontem gaudii.

Virga Jesse, lux Sanctorum,
Donatrix auxilii,
Memor esto miserorum,
In die Judicii.

Tu es mundi gaudium,
Charitatis regula,
Victoris stipendium,
Aromatum cellula.

Sit tibi, flos omnium,
Virgo sine macula,
Honor et imperium,
Per aeterna saecula.
Amen.

Let us venerate the Virgin,
the Mother of grace, the 
sweetness of Salvation, the 
fount of Wisdom. 

She is the palace of the 
King, the Queen of prudence, 
the Virgin full of grace, the 
Aurora of joy. 

She is sweeter than honey, 
the lily of chastity; she is 
brighter than the jaspar, our 
solace in sorrow.

O fountain most admirable, 
source whence came the author of our faith, 
Mother most admirable, 
precious vessel of  virtue.

Thou art the purest Mother 
of the beautiful King; thou 
art the perfume of precious 
ointment; thou art the sweet- Rose.

Rejoice, O glorious tree of 
life, O brightest of stars, 
noblest of Mothers, O Virgin
most holy! 

Thou the sinner's help, and 
Queen of counsel, didst bring 
forth the flower of flowers, 
Jesus the source of our joy. 

Branch of Jesse, light of the 
Saints, help of the needy, be 
mindful of us sinners on the 
day of judgment. 

Thou art the joy of the 
world, the model of charity, 
the encouragement to victory, 
the treasury of every fragrance.

To thee, O sweetest flower, 
Immaculate Virgin, 
be queenly honour
  for ever. 
Amen. 

 

PRAYER FROM THE GREGORIAN SACRAMENTARY.
(In the daily Prayers for Advent)

Exsultemus, quaesumus, Domine Deus noster, omnes recti corde in unitate fidei congregati : ut veniente Salvatore nostro Filio tuo, immaculati occurramus ibi in ejus Sanctorum comitatu. Per Christum Dominum nostrum.  Amen.

Grant, we beseech thee, O Lord our God, that all we, who are united with upright hearts in the unity of faith, may rejoice: that so, when thy Son our Saviour shall come, we, being purified, may meet him in the society of his Saints. Through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.