It’s the cold, frosty hours before dawn.
Even though the sun won’t be up for some time, you roll out of bed and dress in church-going clothes before making the drive to your parish.
The church looks totally dark, but when you walk in, hundreds of tiny, ardent flames are blazing on the altar and in the pews. The warm sparks throw hushed, rosy hues against the shadowed walls.
Mass begins, still in the semi-dark of candlelight.
“Rorate, caeli, desuper…Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above…”
Although it is Advent, altar and celebrant are clothed in shining white vesture. The readings speak of a Savior who will be born of a Virgin. Hot wax drips down the slender candles. As the Mass progresses, dawn creeps up to the stained glass windows.
“Ite, missa est…Go, the mass is ended…”
Mass is over. The little points of flame are pale in the morning light.
This is a taste of the Rorate Mass—a special Mass celebrated in honor of the Blessed Mother on an Advent Saturday. The Rorate tradition began around the 13th century during a surge of devotion to her. The white vestments honor her sinlessness and virginity, and the readings are taken from prophecies of the Savior’s birth. Named for the first word of its entrance hymn, the Mass is prayed as morning dawns, symbolizing the coming of the Christ Child’s light at Christmas.
There are many ways to remind ourselves of the coming Light. Keep watch for the Dawn not only during Advent but all year round with our Love and Peace Candle Set. Topped with the Star of Bethlehem, these shiny black candles feature gold verses on one side and ornate illustrations on the other, reminding us that the Christ Child brings true love and peace with His Light. Available today at The Catholic Company!