Fr. Adam Laski, pastor of parishes in Dobie, Rice Lake, Haugen and Birchwood, is assisted by Fr. Isaiah Schick at an early morning Rorate Caeli Mass on Saturday, Dec. 23, at Our Lady of Lourdes. (Catholic Herald photo by Jenny Snarski)
Catholic Herald staff
As the morning darkness inside Our Lady of Lourdes, Dobie, was lit only by candles, the silence was broken by chanting voices. Frs. Adam Laski and Isaiah Schick led the medieval prayer, Rorate Caeli, singing each verse in Latin while the faithful joined in the refrain: “Rorate Caeli, desuper, et nubes pluant justum.”
Taken from the book of the prophet Isaiah (chapter 45:8), the refrain is translated as “Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain down the Just One.”
Originating during the Middle Ages, the practice of offering Rorate Caeli Masses during Advent has experienced a resurgence in recent years. Traditionally celebrated just before dawn so sunlight illuminates the worship space throughout the liturgy, this devotion is meant to represent Mary’s role in bringing Jesus, the light of the world, into the midst of the darkness of sin.
Fr. Laski began his homily by drawing the parallel between the darkness of the early morning Mass with that of the late evening darkness in which the Easter Vigil begins.
“We’re here because there’s a beauty to our getting up early… to waiting for the presence of the Lord,” he said, describing the vigilant heart that looks forward in joy and hope to the coming of the Messiah.
Fr. Laski added that the light is meant to be an image of putting ourselves in the heart of the church with eager expectation. “What is it that’s at stake?” he asked. “Why are we longing for his coming?”
“At the heart of the existence of sin in the world,” the priest said, is “the line drawn between paradise and God’s original plan for mankind,” to live in the joy of his presence forever and sin, separation from him.
Asking why we come with devotion seeking the Blessed Virgin Mary, he responded, “Because she is a friend of sinners. She’s a refuge in her prayer and maternal love for us.”
Referencing the responsorial Psalm, he continued, “She’s the highest honor of our race because she was preserved from the stain of original sin … by her humble acceptance of the mission of God – her fiat before the Father’s will – she invites the mystery of the Incarnation.”
“This early morning looking for the coming of the Messiah,” Fr. Laski reflected, we seek to hear that same voice and experience that same joy of Jesus who came to seek and save the lost, and who gave the gift of his mother from the cross.
Confident that she continues to pray and intercede, the priest concluded, “What would we press into her maternal heart today? What would we ask to take to her son and redeem with an abundant outpouring of his grace?”
“Without her ‘yes,’ without her openness to God’s plan, the Savior will not come,” Fr. Laski said. “And so, thank you Mary for your openness. For your pensive, waiting, patient heart during the advent of your pregnancy up to the birth of Jesus Christ, the savior of the world.”
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