Voices ever ancient, ever new. Advent: 19 December 2013.

O Flower of Jesse’s stem,
you have been raised up
as a sign for all peoples;
kings stand silent in your presence;
the nations bow down
in worship before you.
Come, let nothing keep you
from coming to our aid.

“He will go before him in the spirit and power of Elijah to turn the hearts of fathers toward children and the disobedient to the understanding of the righteous, to prepare a people fit for the Lord.” (Luke 1:17).”

Saint Ambrose of Milan offers the following insight on this verse from today’s Gospel:

“These words are well added because the spirit is never without power, nor power without the spirit. “In the spirit and power of Elijah,” it says, perhaps because holy Elijah had great power and grace. Power so that he turned the spirits of the people back from unbelief to faith, the power of abstinence and patience, and the Spirit of prophecy. Elijah divided the Jordan, John made it the font of salvation. John walks with the Lord on earth, Elijah appears with the Lord in glory. Elijah is a herald of the first coming of the Lord, and John of the second. Elijah after three years watered the earth with rain, John after three years sprinkled the arid soil of our body with the stream of faith.” (Exposition of the Gospel of Luke, 1)

O God,
Who through the child-bearing of the holy Virgin
graciously revealed the radiance of your glory to the world,
grant, we pray,
that we may venerate with integrity of faith
the mystery of so wondrous an Incarnation
and always celebrate it with due reverence.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with You
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Glory to You Father, Son and Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning is now
and will be forever. Amen. Alleluia!