Advent through the centuries: the fifteenth century

Sunday, December 15, 2013
The fifteenth century of the Church

Scripture:
Isaiah 60:1-3

“Arise! Shine! For your light arrives!
The splendor of the Lord shines on you!
For, look, darkness covers the earth
and deep darkness covers the nations,
but the Lord shines on you;
his splendor appears over you.
Nations come to your light,
kings to your bright light.

Reading:

Thomas à Kempis, ‘On Christmas Night, On Seeking the Infant Jesus’ from The Incarnation of Christ. Written in 1456. Read the rest here.

1
Arise, all ye faithful of Christ: hasten together to this solemnity of the birth of the Lord. For this is the most holy night on which the Redeemer of the world, Jesus Christ, willed to be born of the Virgin Mary. Arise, therefore, all, and watch; prepare your hearts and pray. The Lord is come–come and adore. Our King is arrived–Christ is born to us. Come, let us adore and fall down before Him: for He it is who made us. Come, ye angels and archangels: chant and rejoice and sing psalms.

2
Be glad, you who are just in the Lord, God is come in the flesh; He who is never away from us in the divine, He is with us in human nature. Come, little and great: old and aged, youths and maidens; sing to the Lord a new canticle: for he hath wrought wonders this day. Lift up your hearts with your hands to heaven. The Lord is with us: be not sad. Put on, you chosen ones of God, the garments of gladness and joy; cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light.

3
Let us sing canticles and hymns; let us offer Him our vows; let us present Him the service of our mouth. Who can sleep now; while the angels are singing in the heavens, and the voice of praise resounds on high? Who would remain in his bed; while all rejoice to be with Jesus in gladness? Who would not rise this night with eagerness; when all things seem to be rejoicing? For this day true peace has come down from Heaven, to appease and restore the things that are in Heaven and the things that are on earth.

4
This day the true Light has shone upon the earth: to enlighten every man that believes in Him. This day throughout the world the heavens are flowing with honey. To-day night is turned into day and great brightness, for to the righteous of heart a light is risen up in darkness, the merciful and compassionate Lord. Let this night be blessed for ever: and numbered among the days of solemnity, for therein is born Christ the Son of God, the Light of eternal light.

Madonna and Child enthroned, by Domenico Ghirlandaio.
Madonna and Child enthroned, by Domenico Ghirlandaio.

Prayer:

By Thomas à Kempis.

Grant me, O Lord, to know what I ought to know,
To love what I ought to love,
To praise what delights thee most,
To value what is precious in thy sight,
To hate what is offensive to thee.
Do not suffer me to judge according to the sight of my eyes,
Nor to pass sentence according to the hearing of the ears of ignorant men;
But to discern with a true judgment between things visible and spiritual,
And above all, always to inquire what is the good pleasure of thy will.

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