Reflection on the Liturgy of the Day – from L’Année Liturgique, by Dom Prosper Guéranger
The whole world is in expectation of its Redeemer; come, dear Jesus, show Thyself to it by granting it salvation. The Church, Thy spouse, is now commencing another year, and her first word is to Thee, a word which she speaks in the anxious solicitude of a mother for the safety of her children; she cries out to Thee, saying: Come! No, we will go no further in our journey through the desert of this life without thee, O Jesus! Time is passing quickly away from us; our day is perhaps far spent, and the shades of our life’s night are fast coming on; arise, O divine Sun of Justice; Come! guide our steps, and save us from eternal death.
To Thee have I lifted up my soul: in Thee, O my God, I put my trust, let me not be ashamed: neither let my enemies laugh at me: for none of them that wait on Thee shall be confounded. Psalm. Show, O Lord, Thy ways to me, and teach me Thy paths. Glory be to the Father…
Exert, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy power, and come: that by Thy protection we may be freed from the imminent dangers of our sins, and be saved by Thy mercy. Who liveth and reigneth with God the Father, in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. Amen.
Collect in honor of the Blessed Virgin Mary
O God, who wast pleased that Thy Word, when the Angel delivered his message, should take flesh in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary, give ear to our humble petitions, and grant that we who believe Her to be truly the Mother of God, may be helped by Her prayers.
Lesson of the Epistle of Saint Paul the Apostle to the Romans, Ch. XIII.
Brethren, know that it is now the hour for us to rise from sleep. For now our salvation is nearer than when we believed. The night is passed and the day is at hand. Let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and put on the armour of light. Let us walk honestly, as in the day: not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and impurities, not in contention and envy: but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ.
Reflexion on the Epistle
The Saviour, then, who is coming to us is the clothing which we are to put on over our spiritual nakedness. Here let us admire the goodness of our God, who, remembering that man hid himself after his sin, because he was naked, vouchsafes Himself to become man’s clothing, and cover with the robe of His Divinity the misery of human nature. Let us, therefore, be on the watch for the day and the hour when He will come to us, and take precautions against the drowsiness which comes of custom and self-indulgence. The light will soon appear; may its first rays be witness of our innocence, or at least of our repentance. If our Saviour is coming to put over our sins a covering which is to hide them for ever, the least that we, on our part, can do, is to retain no further affection for those sins, else it will be said of us that we refused our salvation. The last words of this Epistle were those which caught the eye of St. Augustine, when, after a long resistance to the grace which pressed him to give himself to God, he resolved to obey the voice which said to him: Tolle lege; take and read. They decided his conversion; he immediately resolved to abandon the worldly life he had hitherto led, and put on Christ Jesus. Let us begin this very day, and imitate this Saint. Let us long for that dear and glorious Clothing, with which the mercy of our heavenly Father is so soon to cover us, and say with the Church these touching words, which we cannot repeat too often during this time of the year:
None of them that wait on Thee shall be confounded, O Lord. Show, O Lord, Thy ways to me: and teach me Thy paths. Alleluia, Alleluia. Show us, O Lord, Thy mercy: and grant us Thy salvation. Alleluia.
The Sequel of the holy Gospel according to saint Luke, Ch. XXI
At that time, Jesus said to His Disciples: There shall be signs in the sun, and in the moon, and in the stars; and upon the earth distress of nations, by reason of the confusion of the roaring of the sea, and of the waves; men withering away for fear, and expectation of what shall come upon the whole world: for the powers of the heaven shall be moved; and then they shall see the Son of Man coming in a cloud with great power and majesty. But when these things begin to come to pass look up, and lift up your heads; because your redemption is at hand. And He spoke to them a similitude: See the fig-tree and all the trees: when they now shoot forth their fruit, you know that summer is nigh. So you also, when you shall see these things come to pass, know that the kingdom of God is at hand. Amen, I say to you, this generation shall not pass away till all things be fulfilled. Heaven and earth shall pass away; but My words shall not pass away.
Reflexion on the Gospel
Thou art to come, then, O Jesus, in all the terror of the Last Judgment, and when men least expect Thee! In a few days, Thou art coming to us to clothe our misery with the garment of Thy mercy; a garment of glory and immortality to us; but Thou art to come again on a future day, and in such dread majesty, that men will wither away with fear. O my Saviour! condemn me not on that day of the world’s destruction. Visit me now in Thy love and mercy; I am resolved to prepare my soul. I desire that Thou shouldst come and be born within me, so that when the convulsions of nature warn me of Thy coming to judge me, I may lift up my head, as Thou biddest Thy faithful disciples do, who, when the rest of men shall tremble at the thunder of Thy Judgment, will have confidence in Thee, because they have Thee in their hearts.