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During this time the faithful are admonished To attain this object the Church has arranged the Liturgy for this season.
In the official prayer, the Breviary, she calls upon her ministers, in the Invitatory for Matins, to adore "the Lord the King that is to come", "the Lord already near", "Him Whose glory will be seen on the morrow".
This may sound strange, given that Matisse devoted most of his career to painting, and considered himself an atheist.
The preparation for the feast of the Nativity of Our Lord was not held before the feast itself existed, and of this we find no evidence before the end of the fourth century, when, according to Duchesne [ Christian Worship (London, 1904), 260], it was celebrated throughout the whole Church, by some on 25 December, by others on 6 January. Caesarius , Bishop of Arles (502-542), in which we find mention of a preparation before the birthday of Christ ; still, to judge from the context, no general law on the matter seems then to have been in existence.
In them, the Church calls on the Divine Wisdom to teach us the way of prudence ; on the Key of David to free us from bondage; on the Rising Sun to illuminate us sitting in darkness and the shadow of death, etc.
In the Masses the intention of the Church is shown in the choice of the Epistles and Gospels.
Of such a preparation we read in the Acts of a synod held at Saragossa in 380, whose fourth canon prescribes that from the seventeenth of December to the feast of the Epiphany no one should be permitted to absent himself from church. Maximus, Bishop of Turin (415-466), entitled "In Adventu Domini", but he makes no reference to a special time. A synod held (581) at Mâcon, in Gaul, by its ninth canon orders that from the eleventh of November to the Nativity the Sacrifice be offered according to the Lenten rite on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of the week. Gregory the Great (590-604) begins with a sermon for the second Sunday of Advent.
The Gelasian Sacramentary notes five Sundays for the season; these five were reduced to four by Pope St. In 650 Advent was celebrated in Spain with five Sundays. 826), who speaks of the feasts and fasts commonly celebrated by the Greeks, makes no mention of this season.