The 12th Day of Advent.
What is righteousness but the ordering of society so that fairness and equity prevail?
See, a king will reign in righteousness,
and princes will rule with justice.
Each will be like a hiding-place from the wind,
a covert from the tempest,
like streams of water in a dry place,
like the shade of a great rock in a weary land.
Then the eyes of those who have sight will not be closed,
and the ears of those who have hearing will listen.
The minds of the rash will have good judgement,
and the tongues of stammerers will speak readily and distinctly.
A fool will no longer be called noble,
nor a villain be said to be honourable.
For fools speak folly,
and their minds plot iniquity:
to practise ungodliness,
to utter error concerning the Lord,
to leave the craving of the hungry unsatisfied,
and to deprive the thirsty of drink.
The villainies of villains are evil;
they devise wicked devices
to ruin the poor with lying words,
even when the plea of the needy is right.
But those who are noble plan noble things,
and by noble things they stand.
Rise up, you women who are at ease, hear my voice;
you complacent daughters, listen to my speech.
In little more than a year
you will shudder, you complacent ones;
for the vintage will fail,
the fruit harvest will not come.
Tremble, you women who are at ease,
shudder, you complacent ones;
strip, and make yourselves bare,
and put sackcloth on your loins.
Beat your breasts for the pleasant fields,
for the fruitful vine,
for the soil of my people
growing up in thorns and briers;
yes, for all the joyous houses
in the jubilant city.
For the palace will be forsaken,
the populous city deserted;
the hill and the watch-tower
will become dens for ever,
the joy of wild asses,
a pasture for flocks;
until a spirit from on high is poured out on us,
and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field,
and the fruitful field is deemed a forest.
Then justice will dwell in the wilderness,
and righteousness abide in the fruitful field.
The effect of righteousness will be peace,
and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust for ever.
My people will abide in a peaceful habitation,
in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting-places.
The forest will disappear completely,
and the city will be utterly laid low.
Happy will you be who sow beside every stream,
who let the ox and the donkey range freely.
Virga Jesse floruit: The branch from Jesse blooms: a Virgin brings forth God and man: God restores peace, reconciling in Himself the lowest with the highest.
O Lord, raise up, we pray, your power
and come among us,
and with great might succour us;
that whereas, through our sins and wickedness
we are grievously hindered
in running the race that is set before us,
your bountiful grace and mercy
may speedily help and deliver us;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
to whom with you and the Holy Spirit,
be honour and glory, now and for ever.