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Rorate Cæli Mass & Hymn of the Catholic Faith

Rorate Mass

Did your community have at least one Rorate Mass this Advent?

Rorate Cæli is one of the most beautiful Hymns of the Catholic Faith. The text of this piece is a faithful rendition of the verse from the Book of Isaiah (Isaiah 45:8) in Vulgate and other sources. It is a reverent and humble supplication to the mercy of God. It is a hymn of repentance and sorrow. The following recording comes from the Trappist Abbey of Citeaux in France. To listen, tap the play button.

Rorate Cæli desuper,
Et nubes pluant justum.
Drop down dew, ye heavens, from above
And let the clouds rain the Just One.
Ne irascaris Domine,
Ne ultra memineris iniquitatis:
Ecce civitas Sancti facta est deserta:
Sion deserta facta est:
Jerusalem desolata est:
Domus sanctificationis tuae
Et gloriae tuae,
Ubi laudaverunt te patres nostri.
Do not be angry, O Lord,
Nor remember iniquity forever:
Behold the Holy City is made a desert,
Zion has been made a desert,
Jerusalem is desolate:
The house of thy holiness and thy glory,
Where our fathers praised thee.
Peccavimus, et facti sumus
Tamquam immundus nos,
Et cecidimus quasi folium universi:
Et iniquitates nostrae
Quasi ventus abstulerunt nos:
Abscondisti faciem tuam a nobis,
Et allisisti nos
In manu iniquitatis nostrae.
We have sinned, and we are made
Like unto our uncleanness,
And we have all fallen like a leaf:
And our iniquities
Have carried us away like the wind.
Thou hast hidden thy face from us
And thou hast crushed us
In the hand of our iniquity.
Vide Domine afflictionem populi tui,
Et mitte quem missurus es:
Emitte Agnum dominatorem terrae,
De Petra deserti
Ad montem filiae Sion:
Ut auferat ipse
Jugum captivitatis nostrae.
See, O Lord, the suffering of thy people,
And send the One who was to be sent:
Send forth the Lamb, the ruler of the earth,
From the Rock of the desert
To the mountain of the daughter of Zion
That the same One may carry away
The yoke of our captivity.
Consolamini, consolamini, popule meus:
Cito veniet salus tua:
Quare maerore consumeris,
Quia innovavit te dolor?
Salvabo te, noli timere,
Ego enim sum Dominus Deus tuus,
Sanctus Israel, Redemptor tuus.
Be comforted, be comforted, my people:
Thy salvation will come quickly:
Why art thou consumed with grief,
Why is sorrow renewed in thee?
I will save thee, be not afraid,
For I am the Lord thy God,
The Holy One of Israel, thy Redeemer.

Rorate Cæli Gregorian Chant Notation


What is a Rorate Mass?

Rorate Mass
Holy Family Parish, Diocese of Cubao, Philippines.

Rorate Mass is celebrated very early in the morning on all Saturdays, or during the weekdays of Advent according to the Traditional Roman Rite. The Rorate Mass has a long tradition in the Church. It is a Votive Mass in honor of the Blessed Mother for the season of Advent. Our Lady shows herself in a special way as our leader through Advent to Christmas. Did your community have at least one Rorate Mass this Advent?

The celebration by candlelight had originally a more practical reason. According to the Missal of 1570, no Mass could be said after 12.00 Noon.There is a beautiful symbolism associated with the Rorate Mass. Through the snow and cold and darkness of early morning, the faithful would trudge with lanterns and candles in their hands to the then brightly lit Church (no electric light) where the Mass was celebrated.

In Advent, we live spiritually between the Annunciation and the birth of Christ. Mary teaches us the spirit of Advent and inner attitude we should have during Advent. During the nine months of pregnancy, Mary lived a hidden life, in the spirit of silence and intense intimacy with Christ she carried in her womb. This spirit of intimacy with God the faithful are to cultivate during the season of Advent more intensely by listening attentively to God’s message and by obedience to His word.

The symbolism of the candle matches very well with the spirit of Advent. Advent is dawn. It is still not the bright light of Christmas. Advent is a time of preparation for something exceedingly joyful that will be going to happen. The Church and the soul are still struggling through the darkness toward the Light. There is a longing and expectancy of Advent. The light of our candles is a symbol of our longing for the coming of our Savior Whose light is already dawning. On Christmas Eve we will enter the Church in procession by candlelight. When the Gloria is sung all the lights will be turned on meaning that Christ is now born. (Ref:

Rorate Mass Propers

Rorate Caeli Mass
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