Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday after Gaudete Sunday (3rd Sunday of Advent) are known as “Advent Embertide,” and they come near the beginning of the Season of Winter (December, January, February). Liturgically, the readings for the days’ Masses follow along with the general themes of Advent, opening up with Wednesday’s Introit of Isaias 45: 8 and Psalm 18:2 :
Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just: let the earth be opened and bud forth a Savior. The heavens show forth the glory of God: and the firmament declareth the work of His hands.
Wednesday’s and Saturday’s Masses will include one and four Lessons, respectively, with all of them concerning the words of the Prophet Isaias except for the last lesson on Saturday, which comes from Daniel and recounts how Sidrach, Misach, and Abdenago are saved from King Nabuchodonosor’s fiery furnace by an angel. This account, which is followed by a glorious hymn, is common to all Embertide Saturdays but for Whit Embertide. (1)
Four times a year, the Church sets aside three days to focus on God through His marvelous creation. These quarterly periods take place around the beginnings of the four natural seasons 1 that “like some virgins dancing in a circle, succeed one another with the happiest harmony,” as St. John Chrysostom wrote (see Readings below).
These four times are each kept on a successive Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday and are known as “Ember Days,” or Quatuor Tempora, in Latin. The first of these four times comes in Winter, after the the Feast of St. Lucy; the second comes in Spring, the week after Ash Wednesday; the third comes in Summer, after Pentecost Sunday; and the last comes in Autumn, after Holy Cross Day.
Their dates can be remembered by this old mnemonic:
Sant Crux, Lucia, Cineres, Charismata Dia Ut sit in angaria quarta sequens feria.
Holy Cross, Lucy, Ash Wednesday, Pentecost, are when the quarter holidays follow.
What the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception means is that from the first moment of her conception, God, foreseeing and anticipating the merits of Jesus’s passion and death, and knowing Mary would say “yes” to becoming the Mother of the Saviour, filled her with grace, and preserved her free from all stain of original sin. The Church assumes Mary herself was conceived in the normal way through loving intercourse of her father Joachim with her mother Anne. The date of the solemnity is co-ordinated with that of Mary’s Nativity on 8th September (nine months later).
Immaculate Mary, your praiseswe sing, You reign now in splendor with Jesus our King. Ave, Ave, Ave Maria! Ave, Ave, Ave Maria! In Heaven the Blessed your glory proclaim, On earth we your children invoke your sweet name. Ave, Ave, Ave Maria! Ave, Ave, Ave Maria!
We pray for the Church, our true mother on earth And bless, Holy Mary, the land of our birth. Ave, Ave, Ave Maria! Ave, Ave, Ave Maria!
Adapted from The Liturgical Year by Abbot Gueranger:
At length, on the distant horizon, rises, with a soft and radiant light, the aurora of the Sun which has been so long desired. The happy Mother of the Messias was to be born before the Messias Himself; and this is the day of the Immaculate Conception of Mary. The earth already possesses a first pledge of the divine mercy; the Son of Man is near at hand. Two true Israelites, Joachim and Anne, noble branches of the family of David, find their union, after a long barrenness, made fruitful by the divine omnipotence. Glory be to God, Who has been mindful of His promises, and Who deigns to announce, from the high heavens, the end of the deluge of iniquity, by sending upon the earth the sweet white dove that bears the tidings of peace!
The Feast of the Blessed Virgin’s Immaculate Conception is the most solemn of all those which the Church celebrates during the holy Season of Advent; and if the first part of the cycle had to offer us the commemoration of some one of the mysteries of Mary, there was none whose object could better harmonize with the spirit of the Church in this mystic season of expectation. Let us, then, celebrate this solemnity with joy; for the Immaculate Conception of Mary tells us that the Birth of Jesus is not far off.
From THE LITURGICAL YEAR, Book 1, Advent LORETO PUBLISHING Dom Guéranger OSB First Translation: 1867
The name Advent [from the Latin word Adventus, which signifies a coming] is applied, in the Latin Church, to that period of the year, during which the Church requires the faithful to prepare for the celebration of the feast of Christmas, the anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ. The mystery of that great day had every right to the honour of being prepared for by prayer and works of penance; and, in fact, it is impossible to state, with any certainty, when this season of preparation [which had long been observed before receiving its present name of Advent] was first instituted. It would seem, however, that its observance first began in the west, since it is evident that Advent could not have been looked on as a preparation for the feast of Christmas, until that feast was definitively fixed to the twenty-fifth of December; which was done in the east only towards the close of the fourth century; whereas it is certain that the Church of Rome kept the feast on that day at a much earlier period.
We must look upon Advent in two different lights: first, as a time of preparation, properly so called, for the birth of our Saviour, by works of penance; and secondly, as a series of ecclesiastical Offices drawn up for the same purpose. We find, as far back as the fifth century, the custom of giving exhortations to the people in order to prepare them for the feast of Christmas. We have two sermons of Saint Maximus of Turin on this subject, not to speak of several others which were formerly attributed to St. Ambrose and St. Augustine, but which were probably written by St. Cesarius of ArIes. If these documents do not tell us what was the duration and what the exercises of this holy season, they at least show us how ancient was the practice of distinguishing the time of Advent by special sermons. Saint Ivo of Chartres, St. Bernard, and several other doctors of the eleventh and twelfth centuries, have left us set sermons de Adventu Domini, quite distinct from their Sunday homilies on the Gospels of that season. In the capitularia of Charles the Bald, in 846, the bishops admonish that prince not to call them away from their Churches during Lent or Advent, under pretext of affairs of the State or the necessities of war, seeing that they have special duties to fulfill, and particularly that of preaching during those sacred times.
Oh Beloved, I just now have watched the first video below which was posted on the website of the Association of Hebrew Catholics (www.hebrewcatholic.net/ chained-melody-a-violin-recital-in-auschwitz/) in commemoration of Yom Kippur the holiest day of worship given to the Jewish People of the Old Covenant by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. This year, for me, who grew up in a Jewish home celebrating this most Holy Day (Yom Kippur = the Day of Atonement), it is deeply moving.
So why am I sending this out as an email to you, most of whom do not come from a Jewish background? Because, dear ones, it is your heritage as well. There is nothing Catholic that does not stem from the Jewish roots of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church. It is what Our God, the only God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, the God Who sent His Son into the world, has given – to the Jewish People and to us, both Jew and Gentile, who would, by faith and baptism, be grafted and regrafted onto the Root which is Israel (Romans 11:11-24). And the only reason we can be grafted onto the Root is because that which Our Lord gave the Jewish People as a promise of redemption was fulfilled – after 1,500 years of the Mosaic Law – in the once-for-all sacrifice of the true Lamb of God, the Messiah, our Lord Jesus Christ. (cf. Leviticus chapter 16, especially vv. 29-34; also 1 Corintians 5:7, 1 Peter 2:4, Hebrews 9:8-14).
The first video below does not reveal the title of the song until the end. And because, at the end, it goes on to play just the first few lines, I have included below it a video from the concert which Pope Saint John Paul II insisted be held at the Vatican in honor of the Shoah.
I don’t know that you will find it as moving as it was and is for me, but I pray that you will grow to love more deeply the People of God who brought us the Savior – the only Savior of the world – and pray for those of Jewish heritage who still do not know the Messiah they gave to the world.
God bless you, Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, O.S.B.
Chained Melody: A Violin “Recital” in Auschwitz
Here then is the full and most beautiful rendition of “Kol Nidre” from the Papal Concert to Commemorate the Shoah – the first official Vatican commemoration of the murder of six million Jews by the Nazis during World War II. It took place, again, at the request of Pope Saint John Paul II in the Sala Nervi at the Vatican on April 7, 1994. Lyrics to the song (in Hebrew and in English) are below the video.
Beloved, I just watched this video and wanted to get it to you right away. Michael Matt, Editor of The Remnant Newspaper/Remnant TV (and “Voice of the Family” for whom he is speaking), to my mind, exemplifies everything that is right with the Church and with “the Faith once delivered to the saints” against which the gates of hell will not prevail.
Our love and prayers to you all on this Eve of the Amazon Synod.
God bless you, Mother Miriam of the Lamb of God, O.S.B.
June 11, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Today, I had the great honor of sitting down with Mother Miriam. Starting on June 17, you will be able to watch Mother Miriam’s show live on her Facebook page. Afterward, the recording will be available on LifeSiteNews, on the Mother Miriam YouTube channel (in video format), and on the Mother Miriam podcast page (in audio format).
I can’t tell you how excited we at LifeSite are to introduce you to such an inspiring and enlightening woman. Mother Miriam grew up in a Jewish household and later embraced Jesus Christ.
“The most Jewish a Jew can be is to be Catholic,” she tells people.
Mother Miriam Live will be available in both video and audio format. It is co-produced by LifeSite and Station of the Cross Catholic Radio Network and will kick-off Monday, June 17th at 10 am EST/8 am PST and will continue every weekday from 10 – 11 am EST/8 – 9 am PST.
We’ve created a special email list for the show so we can notify you every day when we post the recordings. Please sign up now by clicking here. You can also subscribe to the Mother Miriam YouTube channel, where you’ll be notified by YouTube when new content is uploaded (make sure also to click the bell to enable notifications).
The John-Henry Westen Show appears every Tuesday. It is a short weekly commentary on the most important news developments in the Church and culture. The John-Henry Westen Show is available by video on the show’s YouTube channel, and right here on my LifeSite blog.
It is also available in audio format on platforms such as Spotify, Soundcloud, and Pippa. We are awaiting approval for iTunes and Google Play as well. To subscribe for the audio version on various channels, visit the Pippa.io webpage here.
We’ve created a special email list for the show so we can notify you every week when we post a new episode. Please sign up now by clicking here. You can also subscribe to the YouTube channel, and you’ll be notified by YouTube when there is a new episode.
Special Anniversary of the Beginning Canonical Establishment of the Daughters of Mary, Mother of Israel’s Hope on the Feast of the Nativity of Mary
Nine months ago, Mary was immaculately conceived in the womb of her mother, St. Anne, by her father St. Joachim. The Feast of that Immaculate Conception, 8 December, is a much greater Feast than today’s (it’s a Holy Day of Obligation, in fact); but we recall Mary’s birthday, too — the birth of the woman destined by God from the beginning of time to be born of the House of David and the Tribe of Judah, the women whose enmity toward Satan was spoken of as far back as Genesis, the woman whom St. John saw crowned with stars and with the moon at her feet, the woman whom God chose to bear His Son and bring life to the world. With today’s Feast, the line between the Old and New Testaments has been crossed; the New Covenant is imminent!
Today’s Feast is one of the only three birthdays honored in the liturgical year (the others being that of St. John the Baptist and that of Jesus Christ Himself, all three born without original sin, though only Mary and Jesus were free from sin at the moments of their conceptions). We know little about Mary’s birth and youth, most of our information coming from the apocryphal Gospel of the Nativity of Mary (translated from the Hebrew by St. Jerome, A.D. 340-420), the Protevangelium of St. James (dated to ca. A.D. 125), and the visions of various mystics through the years.
As to prayer, this one to Maria Bambina (the Baby Mary) is most apt:
Hail, Infant Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee, blessed art thou forever, and blessed are thy holy parents Joachim and Anne, of whom thou wast miraculously born. Mother of God, intercede for us. We fly to thy patronage, holy and amiable Child Mary, despise not our prayers in our necessities, but deliver us from all dangers, glorious and blessed Virgin.
V. Pray for us, holy Child Mary.
R. That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ.
Let us Pray: O almighty and merciful God, Who through the cooperation of the Holy Ghost, didst prepare the body and soul of the Immaculate Infant Mary that she might be the worthy Mother of Thy Son, and didst preserve her from all stain, grant that we who venerate with all our hearts her most holy childhood, may be freed, through her merits and intercession, from all uncleanness of mind and body, and be able to imitate her perfect humility, obedience and charity. Through Christ Our Lord. Amen.
There is also this marvelous prayer in honour of Our Lady’s Nativity, written by St. Anselm:
Vouchsafe that I may praise thee, O sacred Virgin; give me strength against thine enemies, and against the enemy of the whole human race. Give me strength humbly to pray to thee. Give me strength to praise thee in prayer with all my powers, through the merits of thy most sacred nativity, which for the entire Christian world was a birth of joy, the hope and solace of its life. When thou wast born, O most holy Virgin, then was the world made light. Happy is thy stock, holy thy root, and blessed thy fruit, for thou alone as a virgin, filled with the Holy Spirit, didst merit to conceive thy God, as a virgin to bear Thy God, as a virgin to bring Him forth, and after His birth to remain a virgin. Have mercy therefore upon me a sinner, and give me aid, O Lady, so that just as thy nativity, glorious from the seed of Abraham, sprung from the tribe of Juda, illustrious from the stock of David, didst announce joy to the entire world, so may it fill me with true joy and cleanse me from every sin. Pray for me, O Virgin most prudent, that the gladsome joys of thy most helpful nativity may put a cloak over all my sins. O holy Mother of God, flowering as the lily, pray to thy sweet Son for me, a wretched sinner. Amen.