Mass for Ember Wednesday in Advent|
Missa "Roráte, Clí"
n the Wednesday of Ember Week in Advent, the Mystery of the Annunciation is commemorated by many Churches. The Mass is sung early in the morning. That Mass is sometimes called the Golden Mass, Roráte
Mass or Messias Mass
. On that occasion the Church is illuminated as a token that the world was still in darkness when the Light of the world appeared. The Mass is called the Golden Mass
possibly because in the Middle Ages the whole of the Mass or at least the initial letters were written in gold, or on account of the golden magnificence of the solemnity or more probably on account of the special, great, "golden" grace which, at that time, is obtained by the numerous prayers. It is called Roráte
Mass after the first words of the Introit of the Mass: Roráte Cæli
, and Messias Mass because the Church, like Our Lady, expresses on that day her longing for the arrival of the Messias. The Votive Mass of Our Lady in Advent is sung.
[If Ember Wednesday clashes with the Octave of the Immaculate Conception the Mass Gaudens gaudebo of the Eighth of December is sung]
The solemn fast of the three days in Ember Week originally peculiar to the Roman Church, was afterwards borrowed by the other Latin dioceses. Pope St. Leo I explains the Ember Days saying that especially at the end of the year it is fitting that we dedicate the first fruits to the Divine Providence.
An ancient tradition reserved the ordinations of priests and deacons to the month of December, and the faithful - following a custom introduced by the Apostles themselves- felt constrained to unite with the bishop in prayer and fasting, in order to call down from God an abundance of priestly gifts upon the heads of those newly chosen to minister at the altar.
Formerly, after assembling, the procession of clergy and people, chanting the Litany, went from St. Peter in Vinculis to St. Mary Major by way of the Suburra, the Viminal and the Esquiline, Today's station- following the custom for Ember Wednesdays - is at St. Mary Major, in order that the new Levites may be placed under the heavenly patronage of her whom the Fathers of the Church sometimes call the "virgin-priest," in whose temple the Incarnate Word Himself was anointed priest by the divine Paraclete.
We want to thank the Friends of Our Lady of Fatima for expediting these resources of the Propers. Sources: Saint Andrew Daily Missal and the Marian Missal , 1945
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