Sunday, December 4, 2011

Propers of the Second Sunday of Advent: Psalm 49

The Gradual for this Sunday's Mass is taken from Psalm 49, a psalm which prophesies the second coming of Christ according to St Alphonsus Liguori:

"This psalm describes the second coming of Jesus Christ, which will be public and full of majesty, in contrast with his first coming, which was humble and hidden."

The verses around the text used in the Gradual give the psalm some important context pointing to God's coming as judge, so here they are, first in the Vulgate, then the Douay-Rheims, with the Gradual text bolded:

Deus deórum, Dóminus locútus est: * et vocávit terram,
A solis ortu usque ad occásum: * ex Sion spécies decóris ejus.
Deus maniféste véniet: * Deus noster et non silébit.
Ignis in conspéctu ejus exardéscet: * et in circúitu ejus tempéstas válida.
Advocábit cælum desúrsum: * et terram discérnere pópulum suum.
Congregáte illi sanctos ejus: * qui órdinant testaméntum ejus super sacrifícia.
Et annuntiábunt cæli justítiam ejus: * quóniam Deus judex est.

The God of gods, the Lord has spoken: and he has called the earth.
From the rising of the sun, to the going down thereof: Out of Sion the loveliness of his beauty.
God shall come manifestly: our God shall come, and shall not keep silence.
A fire shall burn before him: and a mighty tempest shall be round about him.
He shall call heaven from above, and the earth, to judge his people.
Gather together his saints to him: who set his covenant before sacrifices.
And the heavens shall declare his justice: for God is judge.
Hear, O my people, and I will speak: O Israel, and I will testify to you: I am God, your God.

The verses set for the day also refer to the beauty of God, a reminder that beauty is not entirely a cultural construct, and to the extent that it is, it is one that can be guided by God, both through the talents he gives to men, and the inspirations he gives directly and indirectly, including through nature.  The chant is a good example of this!

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