Saturday, December 22, 2012

The Advent IV Gradual: Prope Est Dominus

"The Lord is near" is the incipit of the Gradual for the Sunday before Christmas:

Here's JoguesChant's translation:
The Lord is close to all who call him, who call on him in the sincerity of their hearts.  My mouth shall speak the praises of the Lord; let all flesh bless his holy name.
The text is from Psalm (144/)145, vv 18 and 21; apparently somebody scoured the Psalms to find one that said "The Lord is near"!   Here's the full score.

Josef Rheinberger  set this text; here's an a capella choir singing that composition:

The readings for the day include the Magnificat - the song of praise that Mary utters during her visitation with her cousin Elizabeth.  The Old Testament is from Micah, and contains the prophecy that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.  The Epistle is this section from Hebrews 10:
Consequently, when Christ came into the world, he said,
"Sacrifices and offerings you have not desired,
but a body you have prepared for me;
in burnt offerings and sin offerings
you have taken no pleasure.
Then I said, 'See, God, I have come to do your will, O God'
(in the scroll of the book it is written of me)."
When he said above, "You have neither desired nor taken pleasure in sacrifices and offerings and burnt offerings and sin offerings" (these are offered according to the law), then he added, "See, I have come to do your will." He abolishes the first in order to establish the second. And it is by God's will that we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.
The collect for the day is this wonderful one:
Purify our conscience, Almighty God, by your daily visitation, that your Son Jesus Christ, at his coming, may find in us a mansion prepared for himself; who lives and reigns with you, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Marion Hatchett's Commentary on the American Prayer Book says this about the Collect:
This collect is a revised version of William Bright's translation of a Gelasian collect (no. 1127) found inAncient Collects, p. 16. It is included in the Gregorian sacramentary under "Other Prayers for Advent" (no. 809), in the Missale Gallicanum vetus as the collect in the first of three Advent Masses (no. 40). The collect, provided for use in the season when the first advent is recalled and the second anticipated, reminds us of our Lord's entry into Jerusalem (Lk. 19:44), "you did not know the time of your visitation," and prays that our consciences may be purified by His "daily visitation." It prays that, in contrast to His first advent when there was no room for Him in the inn, "he may find in us a mansion prepared for himself." This collect is especially in accord with the Annunciation theme of the lections for the day.

Other chant propers for the day include:

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