The introit for the first Sunday of Advent began with a beautiful, upward sweeping intonation on the words “Ad te levavi animam meam” (To Thee I lift up my soul). Similarly, the introit for the final Sunday of Advent — “Rorate caeli desuper” (Drop down from Heaven above) — quickly rushed upward to the highest notes of the mode. Then, it slowly descended, offering a softened image of the text “et nubes pluant justum” (and rain down the Just One).
Sunday introits have the function of setting the stage for the Eucharist of the day as well as the week to follow. They can also tell us the story of an entire liturgical season. In the case of Advent, we began with lifting our souls to God. That was followed by the announcement that “The King is coming” and our response should be great rejoicing! Finally, we heard the gentlest of all the antiphons in which the Heavens were implored to rain down “the Just One,” Jesus, whose birth we celebrate this week.