rose-wide

The ancient plainchant Rorate Coeli is traditional during Advent:

Rorate coeli desuper et nubes pluant justum,

Aperiatur terra et germinet salvatorem

Translated it reads:

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just,

Let the earth be opened and send forth a Saviour

The text of this hauntingly beautiful chant is from Isaiah, Chapter 45. It expresses the hope of the Old Covenant for its Messiah, a longing of many centuries eventually fulfilled in Christ Jesus.

Longing and hope are key aspects of Advent that we share with those who lived before the birth of the Lord. The key difference is that we are waiting for waiting for what we know, our joy is ecstatic and complete, our bodies rest in hope, our souls are filled.

From above and below, God has come to meet us. The heavens have sent him and the earth yields him up to us. The reign of God has begun.

When this present world has given way to the fullness of the kingdom of God and Christ returns, never to depart, heaven and earth will be more beautiful and more holy than even this lovely musical token of our faith. It seems unlikely, but it is nonetheless true.

Until that time, we will praise, and hope, and anticipate with the most beautiful things that the Tradition of the Church has given us. Things like chant and the noble ecclesiastical Latin.

Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just,

Let the earth be opened and send forth a Saviour.  

The first Christmas was a matter of intense waiting. Consider the time between now and Christmas from the vantage point of the Virgin Mary. for her, nine months of puzzlement and wonder fill the space from the Annunciation to the Birth. As the birth draws closer, she wonders: Will God deliver on his promises, despite the attitude of those around me?

Are you able to believe that in the very midst of this world, God has begun a revolution of unrestricted power? You already know the paradox of the Babe: all that power in all that weakness. Truly God’s ways are not our ways.

Isn’t it odd, but very significant, that all the nations of the world are still waiting upon the things they hold out as promises: justice, human dignity, peace?

The world does not know what we are waiting on but we do. We will wait on what God is doing, and we will rejoice, now, on behalf of a world that has nothing to rejoice in.

The poet Rainer Maria Reike once wrote to a young poet both of Christ and of this young poet’s life. He asked quite poetically:

“What keeps you from projecting his birth into times that are in the process of becoming, and living your life like a painful and beautiful day in the history of a great gestation?”

The “great gestation” of God, known by Our Lady Mary, and every one of the Baptized who waits in hope, is achieving fullness- it will not be long now. It is not long until hope clothes itself in flesh and we turn and see it together.

We will wait on what God is doing, and we will rejoice!

-from Prepare the Way: Daily Meditations for Advent by Dr. Ronald Thomas

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