Saturday, November 27, 2010

Advent Begins

THE END of the liturgical year reminds us of the Four Last Things: Death, Judgement, Heaven and Hell. This uncomfortable reminder is ultimately good for us, for it helps inculcate in us a spirit of careful prudence and a healthy fear of the Lord. The beginning of the liturgical year, Advent, continues the theme of the end of the world, and eventually leads from the second coming of Christ in glory at the end of the age, to the first coming of Christ as a babe in Bethlehem.

We are now in Advent. The Latin word adventus, according to the Lewis and Short dictionary, means ‘a coming, an approach, arrival’, in particular the approach of a sovereign or lord. Here is an ancient hymn of Advent, in 19th century translation:
Creator alme siderum
A Hymn for Advent

Creator of the stars of night,
Thy people's everlasting light,
Jesu, Redeemer, save us all,
And hear thy servants when they call.

Thou, grieving that the ancient curse
Should doom to death an universe,
Hast found the medicin, full of grace,
To save and heal a ruined race.

Thou camest, the Bridegroom of the Bride,
As drew the world to evening tide,
Proceeding from a virgin shrine,
The spotless Victim all divine.

At whose dread Name, majestic now,
All knees must bend, all hearts must bow;
And things celestial thee shall own
And things terrestrial, Lord alone.

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.

All praise, eternal Son, to thee
Whose Advent doth thy people free;
Whom with the Father we adore,
And Holy Ghost, for evermore. Amen.

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