Rorate, cœli, désuper, et nubes pluant justum, aperiátur terra, et gérminet Salvatórem. Benedixísti, Dómine, terram tuam: avertísti captivitátem Jacob.- Isaiah 12:8, Psalm 84:2, Introit, Mass: Rorate Cœli of the Blessed Virgin
Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the just: let the earth be opened and bud forth a Saviour. Lord, Thou hast blessed Thy land: Thou hast turned away the captivity of Jacob.
Thus the beautiful words of Isaiah begin the Mass: Rorate Cœli. This is a votive Mass of the Blessed Virgin Mary celebrated on a Saturday during Advent, and traditionally taking place before dawn. The Mass begins while it is still dark outside and the church is lit exclusively by candlelight. The darkness represents the world in the darkness of sin awaiting the birth of Our Savior, the Light of the world. It also calls to mind that cold, dark, bleak midwinter night in Bethlehem when Our Lady brought forth her Newborn Son.
O God, who wast pleased that at the message of an Angel, Thy Word should take flesh in the womb of the blessed Virgin Mary, grant to us Thy suppliants, that we, who believe her to be truly the Mother of God, may be helped by her intercession with Thee, through the same Jesus Christ... - Collect, Mass: Rorate Cœli of the Blessed Virgin
We had the great joy of assisting at the Rorate Mass at our church this past Saturday. We excitedly arrived at the chapel in the dark, and the beauty of the candlelight as we entered the darkened church was stunning. The altar was lit with a multitude of candles, and more lights burned at the feet of Our Blessed Lady and St. Joseph. Even the schola sang by candlelight, gathered around the silent organ.
Hail Mary, full of grace, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. - Luke 1:28, 42, Offertory, Mass: Rorate Cœli of the Blessed Virgin
The penitential purple of Advent was set aside for festal white vestments, while white flowers adorned the usually bare altar. As the sun began to rise during the course of the Mass the faint blue light shone through the windows, fittingly first becoming noticeable right at the time of the Consecration.
Behold a Virgin shall conceive, and bear a Son, and His name shall be called Emmanuel. - Isaiah 7: 14, Communion, Mass: Rorate Cœli of the Blessed Virgin
The prayers of the Mass recall the prophecies concerning Our Lady and her role in our salvation, and honoring her brings us hope and joy as we continue to await the celebration of the Nativity of Our Lord.
Pour forth, we beseech Thee, O Lord, Thy grace into our hearts: that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ Thy Son was made known by the message of an Angel, may by His Passion and Cross be brought to the glory of the Resurrection, through the same Jesus Christ... - Postcommunion, Mass: Rorate Cœli of the Blessed Virgin