Today we celebrate the Rorate Mass. "Rorate", which means "Drop down" is the first word of the Introit of Mass, and gives its name to the Mass. Traditionally the first Mass of the day is said in darkness, with the church lit by candles.
It is an Ember Day. The Wednesday, Friday and Saturday following Ash Wednesday, Pentecost, the Holy Cross, and St Lucy are Ember Days. These 'quarter times' mark the four seasons of the year, and link our daily worship to the changing seasons. They were traditionally observed as days of fasting.
The Ember Wednesday of Advent, is also known as "Golden Wednesday". It is suggested that mediaeval Missals had the initial letters of today's Mass highlighted in gold. The church is customarily lit up with the golden light of candles. The Baronius Missal explains: "The Mass is called 'The Golden Mass' possibly because in the Middle Ages the whole of the Mass or at least the inital letters were written in gold, or on account of the golden magnificence of the solemnity, or more probably on account of the special, great, 'golden' grace which, at that time is obtained by numerous prayers".
We look forward with anticipation to the golden Light of Christ shining out from the crib and illuminating the world.