Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Homily for Our Recent Rorate Mass

Fr Kwang Lee saying a Votive Mass for the Blessed Virgin Mary in Advent, commonly called a Rorate Caeli Mass, after the first words of the introit for the Mass: Rorate caeli desuper, et nubes pluant justum." 

Our recent Rorate Mass at St. Paul's in Cambridge was said by Fr. Kwang Lee, a priest of this Archdiocese who has been a friend of Juventutem Boston for years. We are truly grateful to him for offering the Mass, and also for delivering a beautiful homily, which is reproduced in full below:

1. My Lord, during this Advent season, we are reminded that, just as you once came in fulfillment of all prophecies, you will come again.

2. And, so, we come to you this morning to share a few quiet moments with you—to “reorient” ourselves—, and to “make straight your way” (your path) into our own hearts.

3. During this so-called “holiday season,” which is, for so many of us, a time of anxiety and stress, we would like to make this brief “retreat” (this brief time away) from the world (from all the noise of the shopping mall) to recollect ourselves and to discover once again joy (“gaudium”)—not “giddiness,” but that deep, quiet, inner joy which the world cannot give (is not equipped to give).

4. The world’s joy is a poor and transitory thing. It is entirely dependent upon things that we cannot control (or, upon things over which we have only minimal control): the weather, our health, our finances, other people.
This joy is not ours. It may be taken away at any moment. (And how often we have experienced it—the prospect of an unpleasant task, that sudden pain in the abdomen, that disappointing meeting, a crisis in the family.)

"...and by night in a pillar of fire" - Exodus 13:21
5. Certainly, a joy which is so easily upset (or lost) by such events cannot be the joy which the apostle commands: “Rejoice in the Lord always. I say again rejoice!”

6. That joy—the joy which you promise, my Lord—, comes from grace—that is, from friendship with you. It is that durable happiness that persists even in the midst of suffering.

7. It is very different from that which comes from the world, which, at best, is only a temporary happiness, or, in the worst case, an “imitation” happiness—a fake happiness, which man achieves when he tries to escape from himself (from his own misery)—when he turns his gaze away from his meaningless and solitary interior life. No. This joy comes from you—from your presence in my soul through grace—, and which looks forward with eager anticipation to your return.

The rising sun floods into St. Paul's after Mass is finished
8. The joy that you give is deeper, wider, more stable, and is compatible even with pain and sorrow, poverty and failure. You have promised us, “Your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”

9. And, so, my Lord, I do not depend upon changeable circumstances like good news, bad news, health, sickness, comfort, discomfort, which are as unpredictable as the weather here in New England. I depend on you—you who are eternal (who do not change as the centuries drift by).

10. With eager expectation of your return, then, and with the joy proper to the annual celebration of your birth, I, too, would like to accompany your mother during these days as she and all the earth await your coming.

“Rorate caeli desuper”—“Drop down dew, you heavens,” I, too, will pray. “And the let the clouds rain down the just one. And may the earth open up and bring forth a Savior!”

Fr Kwang Lee