Thursday of the First Week of Advent

Come, let us adore the King our Lord, who is to come.

from the Prophet Isaias

I will sing to my beloved the canticle of my cousin concerning his vineyard. My beloved had a vineyard on a hill, in a fruitful place. And he fenced it in, and picked the stones out of it, and planted it with the choicest wines, and built a tower in the midst thereof, and set up a wine press therein: and he looked that it should bring forth grapes, and it brought forth wild grapes. And now, O you inhabitants of Jerusalem, and you men of Juda, judge between me and my vineyard. What is there that I ought to do to my vineyard that I have not done to it! Was it that I wished that it should bring forth grapes, and it has brought forth wild grapes? And now I will show you what I will do to my vineyard: I will take away the hedge thereof, and it shall be wasted; I will break down the wall thereof, and it shall be trodden down. And I will make it desolate: it shall not be pruned, and it shall not be dug, but briars and thorns shall come up, and I will command the clouds to rain no rain upon it. For the vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel, and the man of Juda his pleasant plant: and I looked that he should do judgment, and behold iniquity; and do justice, and behold a cry.

We are awaiting the Birth of a Child who is to appear seven hundred years after the time of Isaias; and this Child will be the world's Saviour. Men will persecute him, load him with calumnies and injuries, and, but a few hours before they crucify him, they shall hear this parable from his lips:

There was a man, a householder, who planted a vineyard, and made a hedge round about it, and, dug in it a press, and built a tower, and let it out to husbandmen: and went into a strange country. And when the time of the fruits drew nigh, he sent his servants to the husbandmen, that they might receive the fruits thereof. And the husbandmen laying hands on his servants, beat one, and killed another, and stoned another. Again he sent other servants more than the former; and they did to them in like manner. And last of all, he sent to them his son, saying: They will reverence my son. (Matthew 21:33-37)

See, Christians, this Son is coming to you. Will you reverence him? Will you treat him as the Son of God, with that honour and love which are due to him? Take notice of the wickedness of men; it has a progress in malice. In the days of Isaias, the Jews despised the Prophets; but the Prophets, though sent by God, were only men. The Son of God came, and they would not acknowledge him; a far greater crime, assuredly, than to stone the Prophets. What, then, would be the crime of Christians, who not only acknowledge him who is now coming to them, but are his members by Baptism, if they will not open their hearts to this Messias, whom the Father is sending into the vineyard? What punishment would not the ungrateful vine deserve, planted as it has been with so much love, should it persist in yielding nothing but bitter fruit? Ah, dear Jesus! let not this be: make us generous: make us produce abundant flower and fruit for the day of your Coming, which is so near at hand.

Prayer of the Churches of France During Advent

Drop down dew, you heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.

Be not angry, O Lord, and remember no longer our iniquity: behold the city of your Sanctuary is become a desert, Sion is made a desert. Jerusalem is desolate, the house of our holiness and of your glory where our fathers praised you.

Drop down dew, you heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.

We have sinned, and we are become as one unclean, and we have all fallen as a leaf; and, our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away: you have hid your face from us, and have crushed us by the hand of our iniquity.

Drop down dew, you heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.

See, O Lord, the affliction of your people, and send Him whom you have promised to send. Send forth the Lamb, the ruler of the earth, from the rock of the desert to the mount of the daughter of Sion, that he may take off the yoke of our captivity.

Drop down dew, you heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.

Be comforted, be comforted, my people; your salvation shall speedily come: why will you waste away in sadness? why has sorrow seized you? I will save you; fear not: for I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Redeemer.

Drop down dew, you heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One.

Prayer from the Ambrosian Missal

Almighty and everlasting God, who, by the Coming of your only begotten Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, did deign to shine on us with a new light; grant to us that as we deserved to have him as our companion in the form of our body by the Birth the Virgin gave him; so also we may merit to be his companions in the kingdom of his grace: who lives and reigns with you for ever and ever. Amen.

- from the book The Liturgical Year: Advent, by the Very Reverend Dom Prosper Gueranger, Abbot of Solesmes, translated from the French by the Revered Dom Laurence Shepherd, Monk of the English-Benedictine Congregation, 2nd edition; published in Dublin Ireland by James Duffy, 15 Wellington-Quay, 1870