Advent with Revelation (Ch. 21)
December 18, 2021
Fr. John Colacino C.PP.S.

Chapter 21 (Saturday of the Third Week of Advent)

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth; for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away, and the sea was no more. And I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a loud voice from the throne saying,
‘See, the home of God is among mortals.
He will dwell with them;
they will be his peoples,
and God himself will be with them;
he will wipe every tear from their eyes.
Death will be no more;
mourning and crying and pain will be no more,
for the first things have passed away.’

And the one who was seated on the throne said, ‘See, I am making all things new.’ Also he said, ‘Write this, for these words are trustworthy and true.’ Then he said to me, ‘It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end. To the thirsty I will give water as a gift from the spring of the water of life. Those who conquer will inherit these things, and I will be their God and they will be my children. But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the polluted, the murderers, the fornicators, the sorcerers, the idolaters, and all liars, their place will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulphur, which is the second death.’

Then one of the seven angels who had the seven bowls full of the seven last plagues came and said to me, ‘Come, I will show you the bride, the wife of the Lamb.’ And in the spirit he carried me away to a great, high mountain and showed me the holy city Jerusalem coming down out of heaven from God. It has the glory of God and a radiance like a very rare jewel, like jasper, clear as crystal. It has a great, high wall with twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and on the gates are inscribed the names of the twelve tribes of the Israelites; on the east three gates, on the north three gates, on the south three gates, and on the west three gates. And the wall of the city has twelve foundations, and on them are the twelve names of the twelve apostles of the Lamb.

The angel who talked to me had a measuring rod of gold to measure the city and its gates and walls. The city lies foursquare, its length the same as its width; and he measured the city with his rod, fifteen hundred miles; its length and width and height are equal. He also measured its wall, one hundred and forty-four cubits by human measurement, which the angel was using. The wall is built of jasper, while the city is pure gold, clear as glass. The foundations of the wall of the city are adorned with every jewel; the first was jasper, the second sapphire, the third agate, the fourth emerald, the fifth onyx, the sixth cornelian, the seventh chrysolite, the eighth beryl, the ninth topaz, the tenth chrysoprase, the eleventh jacinth, the twelfth amethyst. And the twelve gates are twelve pearls, each of the gates is a single pearl, and the street of the city is pure gold, transparent as glass.

I saw no temple in the city, for its temple is the Lord God the Almighty and the Lamb. And the city has no need of sun or moon to shine on it, for the glory of God is its light, and its lamp is the Lamb. The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their glory into it. Its gates will never be shut by day—and there will be no night there. People will bring into it the glory and the honour of the nations. But nothing unclean will enter it, nor anyone who practises abomination or falsehood, but only those who are written in the Lamb’s book of life.


 The city which John says is squared, he says also is resplendent with gold and precious stones, and has a sacred street, and a river through the midst of it, and the tree of life on either side, bearing twelve manner of fruits throughout the twelve months; and that the light of the sun is not there, because the Lamb is the light of it; and that its gates were of single pearls; and that there were three gates on each of the four sides, and that they could not be shut. I say, in respect of the square city, he shows forth the united multitude of the saints, in whom the faith could by no means waver. As Noah is commanded to make the ark of squared beams, that it might resist the force of the deluge, by the precious stones he sets forth the holy men who cannot waver in persecution, who could not be moved either by the tempest of persecutors, or be dissolved from the true faith by the force of the rain, because they are associated of pure gold, of whom the city of the great King is adorned. Moreover, the streets set forth their hearts purified from all uncleanness, transparent with glowing light, that the Lord may justly walk up and down in them. The river of life sets forth that the grace of spiritual doctrine flowed through the minds of the faithful, and that manifold flourishing forms of odours germinated therein. The tree of life on either bank sets forth the Advent of Christ, according to the flesh, who satisfied the peoples wasted with famine, that received life from One by the wood of the Cross, with the announcement of God's word. And in that he says that the sun is not necessary in the city, he shows, evidently, that the Creator as the immaculate light shines in the midst of it, whose brightness no mind has been able to conceive, nor tongue to tell. In that he says there are three gates placed on each of the four sides, of single pearls, I think that these are the four virtues, to wit, prudence, fortitude, justice, temperance, which are associated with one another. And, being involved together, they make the number twelve. But the twelve gates we believe to be the number of the apostles, who, shining in the four virtues as precious stones, manifesting the light of their doctrine among the saints, cause it to enter the celestial city, that by intercourse with them the choir of angels may be gladdened. And that the gates cannot be shut, it is evidently shown that the doctrine of the apostles can be separated from rectitude by no tempest of contradiction. Even though the floods of the nations and the vain superstitions of heretics should revolt against their true faith, they are overcome, and shall be dissolved as the foam, because Christ is the Rock by which, and on which, the Church is founded. (Victorinus of Pettau)

Let your soul be directed to the things that are promised in the fatherland so that as an exile you may mini­mize the difficulty that looms on the way. When one looks up and sees a lump of glittering gold, the burden of the journey grows lighter. Call to mind, therefore, how for­tunate is he who wins the right to enter the marriage banquet in the splendid company of the elect while a vast crowd of the damned is turned away. What an honour it is to be ever in at­tendance in sight of the Creator; to contemplate the spectacle of truth present before you; to behold God face to face, associated with angelic choirs. There those involved are so filled with attendant joys that they are never concerned about future hardships. There, while the soul enjoys to the full the quiet pleasure of unlimited light, it is unspeakably happy over the rewards of its companions. There the thirsty drink fromthe fount of life, and as they drink, they thirst for more. There, indeed, it is impossible for either desire to beget lust or for gratification to turn into loathing. Here one discovers the eternal greening of the bloom of youth, the charm of beauty, and the unceasing vigour of good health. In effect, from this eternal source they acquire the power to live forever and to rejoice ineffably and, what is far more important, to grow into the like­ness of the Creator himself. For, as John the Evangelist states, When it is revealed, we shall be like him because we shall see him as he really is. John says of this city, Each of its gates was made of a single pearl, and the streets of the city were pure gold, trans­parent as glass.And at once he adds, The city did not need the sun nor the moon, since it was lit by the radiant glory of God, and the lamb was a lighted torch for it. There, moreover, tainted human nature, cleansed of all the filth of passion, will leap for joy, and will endure unsullied in its moral purity and sincerity. In fact, as the body becomes spiritual, it will be in harmony with the soul, and the whole man will in no way disagree with the will of its Creator. All that the Creator has made will remain,while whatever the devil has added will be taken away. There each one’s secrets will be laid bare before the eyes of all. There, with all hearts united by the bond of mutual love, none will differ from another in any way, but all will associate unanimously in a common exercise of will. When we celebrate a feast here, all others are omitted; there, however, one always experiences the collective happiness of all festivals, because they who are in fact the cause for celebration are present. In heaven there is an absence of ignorance and of im­possibility, because, by their union with wisdom, the blessed know all things and are able to do all things. There we will be face to face with things revealed: how the Father ineffably begets the Son, and how the Holy Spirit proceeds from both of them. There melodious instru­ments caress the ears of the blessed with sweet harmony. There, amid green pastures that fill one with pleasant delight, snow-white lilies never wither and dark red roses and flowering crocus never waste away. Certainly, the reality of the ever­lasting happiness of the heavenly Jerusalem is incomparably greater than the mind of man can ever conceive, and the mind grasps more than can ever be put in words. (St. Peter Damian)

I saw the holy city, the new Jerusalem, coming down out of heaven from God, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice from the throne saying: “Behold the dwelling of God is with the human race. He will dwell among them.”  But why? In order to win a bride for himself from among humanity. How wonderful this? He came to seek a bride, but did not come without one. He sought a bride, but she was with him. Had he then two brides? Certainly not. My dove is only one, he says. Just as he wished to form one flock of the scattered flocks of sheep, that there might be one flock and one shepherd, so,although from the beginning he had for bride the multitude of angels, it pleased him to summon the Church from among men and unite it with the one from heaven, that there might be but the one bride and one Bridegroom. The one from heaven perfects the earthly one; it does not make two. Hence he says: My perfect one is only one.Their likeness makes them one, one now in their similar purpose, one hereafter in the same glory. These two then have their origin in heaven: Jesus the Bridegroom and Jerusalem the bride. He, in order to be seen by humans, emptied himself taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men. But the bride – in what form or exterior loveliness, in what guise did St John see her coming down? Was it perhaps in the company of the angels whom he saw ascending and descending upon the Son of Man? It is more accurate to say that he saw the bride when he looked on the Word made flesh, and acknowledged two natures in the one flesh.For when that holy Emmanuel introduced to earth the curriculum of heavenly teaching, when we came to know the visible image and radiant come­liness of that supernal Jerusalem, our mother, revealed to us in Christ and by his means, what did we behold if not the bride in the Bridegroom? He who descended is also he who ascended, since no one has ascended into heaven but he who descended from heaven. The one and same Lord who as head of the Church is the Bridegroom, as body is also the Bride. (St. Bernard of Clairvaux)

Musical Selections


Vidi civitatem sanctam, Jerusalem novam descendentem de cælo a Deo, paratam, sicut sponsam ornatam viro suo. Et audivi vocem magnam de throno dicentem: Ecce tabernaculum Dei cum hominibus, et habitabit cum eis. Et ipsi populus eius erunt, et ipse Deus cum eis erit eorum Deus

And I saw the Holy City, the New Jerusalem, descending out of heaven from God, prepared like a bride adorned for her husband. And I heard a great voice from the throne, saying: “Behold the tabernacle of God with men. And he will dwell with them, and they will be his people. And God himself will be their God with them.


Absterget Deus omnem lacrimam ab oculis Sancorum: et jam non erit amplius luctus neque clamor, sed nec ullus dolor: quoniam priora transierunt.

God will wipe away every tear from their eyes. And death shall be no more. And neither mourning, nor crying out, nor grief shall be anymore. For the first things have passed away.”


Lápides pretiósi omnes muri tui, * Et turres Ierúsalem gemmis ædificabúntur.
Portæ Ierúsalem ex sapphíro et smarágdo ædificabúntur, et ex lápide pretióso omnis circúitus muri eius.
Et turres Ierúsalem gemmis ædificabúntur.
Et turres Ierúsalem gemmis ædificabúntur.

All thy walls are of stones most precious. * The towers of Jerusalem shall be built up with jewels.
The gates of Jerusalem shall be built up with the sapphire stone, and the emerald, and all her walls round about with stones most precious.
The towers of Jerusalem shall be built up with jewels.
The towers of Jerusalem shall be built up with jewels.


Grant, we pray, almighty God,
that we, who are weighed down from of old
by slavery beneath the yoke of sin,
may be set free by the newness
of the long-awaited Nativity
of your Only Begotten Son.
Who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
God, for ever and ever. Amen.