[Here] you will see a short video about the music of Advent featuring Dr. Sara Pecknold, a professor of sacred music at the Catholic University of America. I encourage you to watch. Advent features some of the Church's most beautiful and poignant music, songs filled with longing and expectation. This Sunday we will sing one of my own favorite Advent hymns: Conditor alme siderum. It is a Latin hymn dating back to the 7th century, and in the Breviary it is assigned to be sung at Vespers during Advent. We know it in its English translation by great Oxford Movement hymn writer John Mason Neal, "Creator of the stars of night." This ancient hymn enfolds within itself all of salvation history, from our Lord's first coming in great humility -
Thou cam’st, the Bridegroom of the bride,
As drew the world to evening-tide;
Proceeding from a virgin shrine,
The spotless victim all divine.
To that great day when he shall come again in his glorious majesty -
O Thou whose coming is with dread
To judge and doom the quick and dead,
Preserve us, while we dwell below,
From every insult of the foe.
Advent calls us to keep both these comings of the Lord in our minds and in our hearts, so that we may, redeemed and renewed by his first coming, then "without shame or fear rejoice to behold his appearing" (as we pray in the Advent preface) at his second.
Saturday, of course, we take a step out of Advent to celebrate the beautiful Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception. This will be a special day in the life our community as we receive a new family, the Carlsons, into the full communion the Catholic Church. This Mass will also inaugurate a new ministry for girls, the Guild of St. Margaret Clitherow. This will be an opportunity for the girls to meet and grow together in their faith and love for the Lord, but the most visible manifestation of this ministry will be the girls' participation in leading Marian devotions at Mass on appropriate feast days. The collect for St Margaret Clitherow asks God to "raise up in our day women of courage and resource to care for thy household the Church," and that exactly is our hope for what God will accomplish in and through the members of this new guild.
God bless you,