SIMPLE / PURPLE
INTROIT Ps. 118:151, 152
Thou art near, O Lord, and all Thy ways are truth: I have known from the beginning concerning Thy testimonies, and Thou art for ever.
Ps. 118:1. Blessed are the undefiled in the way: who walk in the law of the Lord.
Glory be . . .
Stir up Thy might, we beseech Thee, O Lord, and come: that they who trust in Thy loving kindness may be the more speedily freed from all adversity: who livest . . .
LESSON Isa. 11:1-5
Thus saith the Lord God: There shall come forth a rod out of the root of Jesse, and a flower shall rise up out of his root. And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding, the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge, and of godliness.
And he shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord, He shall not judge according to the sight of the eyes, nor reprove according to the hearing of the ears. But he shall judge the poor with justice, and shall reprove with equity the meek of the earth: and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. And justice shall be the girdle of his loins: and faith the girdle of his reins.
GRADUAL Ps. 84:8, 2
Show us, O Lord, Thy mercy, and grant us Thy salvation. Lord, Thou hast blessed Thy land: Thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob.
GOSPEL St. Luke 1:39-47
At that time Mary rising up in those days, went into the hill country with haste into a city of Juda. And she entered into the house of Zachary and saluted Elizabeth. And it came to pass that when Elizabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the infant leaped in her womb. And Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost. And she cried out with a loud voice and said: "Blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. And whence is this to me that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For behold as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in my ears, the infant in my womb leaped for joy. And blessed art thou that hast believed, because those things shall be accomplished that were spoken to thee by the Lord." And Mary said: "My soul doth magnify the Lord. And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour."
OFFERTORY ANTIPHON Ps. 84:7, 8
Thou wilt turn, O God, and bring us to life, and Thy people shall rejoice in Thee: show us, O Lord, Thy mercy, and grant us Thy salvation.
O Lord, receive, we beseech Thee, our gifts and prayers: and by these heavenly Mysteries both cleanse us and mercifully hear us. Through our Lord . . .
COMMUNION ANTIPHON Zac. 14:5, 6
Behold the Lord shall come, and His Saints with Him: and there shall be in that day a great light.
May the holy receiving of Thy Sacrament, O Lord, revive us, and cleansing us from our former life, enable us to pass to the fellowship of Thy saving Mystery. Through our Lord . . .
Today is one of the most inspiring days preceding Christmas! It is the feast of "Our Lady of Expectation," mostly unknown to many in these modern times, but still kept alive in many countries like Spain, Portugal, Italy and Poland as well as in a few religious orders. In older editions of missals, this feast is still listed as a votive Mass.
The feast is celebrated on the 18th of December, a week before Christmas Day. Our Blessed Lady, well advanced in pregnancy, is portrayed in the highest dignity of her Divine Motherhood. Dressed in royal apparel as daughter of David the King, she awaits with joy the arrival of her divine Son, Jesus, the Prince of Peace. Her whole posture suggests how she remains wholly consumed in contemplation of her Son under her heart. Her immaculate womb has become a living portable sanctuary of divinity. There are special prayers and novenas to "Our Lady of Expectation" available for women who cannot conceive or bear a child.
The votive Mass of "Our Lady of Expectation" is theologically enlightening and spiritually enriching for the time of Advent and Christmas. With the entrance antiphon, the Church prays with the prophet for the coming of the Just One from heaven that the earth may be ready to welcome the Savior: "Send victory like a dew, you heavens, and let the clouds rain down the just. Let the earth open for salvation to spring up" (Is 45:8). In the opening prayer, the Church offers the prayer to God through Mary's intercession: "O God who wished that your Word would take the flesh from the womb of the Virgin as announced by the Angel and whom we confess to be the true Mother of God, may we be helped by her intercession."
This wonderful feast also reminds us that it has been almost nine months since the Annunciation/Incarnation (March 25) and that Jesus developed in Mary's womb just like we did in our mother's womb. Think of all the millions of babies who never make it through the nine months because their mothers have aborted them. May God, through the intercession of the Expectant Mother Mary, take their souls into His Kingdom.
Our Lady of Expectation: Pray for us!