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Rorate coeli desuper ...

Monday, December 11, 2006
Monday 2 of Advent - 11 December 2006

Readings: Isaiah 25:1-10; Psalm 85; Luke 5:17-26

Isaiah's vision is a perennial promise of salvation as God causes the barren and desolate to become like a fruitful and flowering garden of the Lord, which is what Carmel ('vineyards of God') and Sharon ('fruitful') symbolise.

Around this time in 1531, St Juan Diego actually beheld this on the usually-barren summit of Tepayac in Mexico where "he was greatly astonished at all the different kinds of precious flowers that were growing there, blossoming... They were very fragrant, and the night dew on them was like precious pearls." That miraculous event indeed heralded the evangelisation of the Americas.

But such things are rare. How may we see "the majesty of Carmel and Sharon"?

As the Advent prose Rorate coeli invokes: "Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above, and let the clouds rain the Just One". God's dew causes our stony hearts to flower and in the Scriptures and Patristic teaching, this refers to the Holy Spirit whose grace fructifies us. Hence St Irenaeus says: "If we are not to be scorched and made unfruitful, we need the dew of God", and the Pentecost Sequence asks that the Spirit "pour your dew on our dryness".

Mary, "full of the dew of heaven", is our model. When our hearts, like hers, are refreshed by grace, Christ is born in us too, and he uses us to bring him to the blind, the deaf, the lame and the mute, to those who thirst for the healing and forgiveness that the "Just One" bestows. So, as we sing, "let the earth be opened and bud forth a Saviour", we pray the Spirit to be-dew us, that we may be that fruitful earth, so that all may behold "the glory of the Lord".

Lawrence Lew OP


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