O King of Kings ( O Rex Gentium)

Saturday, December 22, 2018

Click here for readings

Rex Gentium

Today, in Mercy, our O Antiphon beseeches God, Who is King of All Nations, Who unites Gentile and Jew, to deliver us. 

But from what? 

The answer lies in the closing phrase of the antiphon: “we whom you formed from the dust of the earth”. 

Deliver us from the artificial barriers we have created to separate from and dominate over one another – by nationality, ethnicity, color, gender, social or economic class. We each began as dust and will end that way.  May we be humble, mutual and compassionate in the time between.

Consider the gracious humility of Hannah in our first reading today, and of Mary in our Gospel.  They are power figures in Salvation History.  But their power comes from their utter dependence on and honor to God, their only true King.

There was no fragmentation in the commitment of their entire lives to God. They understood all Creation to belong to the Divine.

King of Kings, deliver us from any such fragmentation. Make us all whole in You.

O King of all nations and keystone of the Church:
come and save us, whom you formed from the dust!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Music: O Rex Gentium – Gregorian Chant ( Latin rendering of the italicized prayer above.)

O God With Us (O Emmanuel)

Friday, December 21, 2018

Click here for Readings

Emmanuel

Today, is Mercy, we pray the O Antiphon:

“O Emmanuel, God with us, come to save us.” 

The prayer itself appears a contradiction. If God is with us, why need He come? 

If we are already saved, why need we pray for salvation? 

It is because we very human beings FORGET! 

Our pleading is not for God’s sake; it is for our own – to wake us and focus us on the amazing reality that God wants to be with every one of us every moment of our lives if we will just open those moments to God. 

Think about what you have missed of God’s Presence in your life? Even just yesterday … last week … last year …your lifetime! Wow! I know that, so often, I thought I was doing this all alone. O, God With Me, how blind I have been!

O Emmanuel, open my heart to your Presence in myself and in all Creation.

O Emmanuel, our King and Giver of Law:
come to save us, Lord our God!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Music: Michael Hegeman

O Key of David ( O Clavis David)

Thursday, December 20, 2018

Readings:  Click here for readings

Clavis David

Today, in Mercy, we pray the O Antiphon: “O Key of David, come and bring forth from his prison house the captive.”  

We probably don’t think of ourselves as captives. But simply by virtue of our humanity, we are probably inhibited in some way – by fear, pride, ignorance, prejudice, self-doubt… 

Paula D’Arcy puts it like this: “Who would I be, and what power would be expressed in my life, if I were not dominated by fear?
(Or maybe anger, some type of “ism’, greed, pride, and on and on.) 

Let us pray this prayer together, dear friends, for all held captive in both visible and invisible ways. May we pray especially for those captured by drugs, alcohol, or any other addiction.

May we pray especially for those held captive on our own border, that their human dignity may be honored; and for those causing their suffering, captured by their own indifference, greed, and political savagery.

O Key of David,
opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom:
come and free the prisoners of darkness!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Music;  Michael G. Hegeman

O Root of Jesse (O Radix)

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Readings: Click here for Readings

Radix Jesse

Today, in Mercy, we pray, “O Root of Jesse’s Stem”, addressing, in this short prayer, the whole historic ancestry of Jesus. 

The phrase, taken from Isaiah 11, recognizes Jesus as the sign of deliverance for both Jews and Gentiles.

This Antiphon is unique in that it not only beseeches the Savior to come. It says, “Tarry not!” 

Do you ever ask God to hurry up and answer your prayers? 

What is most urgent for you to place before God today?

Let us pray this prayer together today, dear friends, for our urgent needs and those of our needy world:

O Leader of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
come to rescue us with your mighty power!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Music: Michael G. Hegeman

O Leader (O Adonai)

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

Click here for readings

Adonai

Today, in Mercy, we continue to pray the O Antiphons – beseeching the Savior to come to us. 

O Adonai calls on God to come lead us out of darkness. Let us pray today for all who live in any form of darkness – war, fear, poverty, exile, addiction, depression, illness, ignorance or indifference. 

Let us pray for God’s light for any of these situations in ourselves or our families … in our world.

As the year grows toward its greatest darkness, we seek You, Greatest Light!
O Adonai, lead us out of darkness!

O Leader of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
come to rescue us with your mighty power!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Music: Michael G. Hegeman

O Sapientia (O Wisdom)

Monday, December 17, 2018

Readings: Click here for readings

Sapiens

Today, in Mercy, we begin the recitation of the O Antiphons.

The O Antiphons are Magnificat antiphonies used at Vespers of the last seven days of Advent. They are also used as the Alleluia Verse during the daily Mass.

Each antiphon is a name of Christ, one of his attributes mentioned in Scripture. They are:

  • 17 December: O Sapientia (O Wisdom)
  • 18 December: O Adonai (O Lord)
  • 19 December: O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)
  • 20 December: O Clavis David (O Key of David)
  • 21 December: O Oriens (O Dayspring)
  • 22 December: O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations)
  • 23 December: O Emmanuel (O With Us is God)

(information above from Wikipedia)


We begin today with a heartfelt plea to God to fill our world with a Wisdom that orders all things and teaches us prudence.

Oh, how our world needs this prayer to be answered.  How we need to return to a Wisdom rooted in truth, justice and mutual love.

Let us pray this prayer together today, dear friends:

O Wisdom of our God Most High,
guiding creation with power and love:
come to teach us the path of knowledge!
R. Alleluia, alleluia.

Music: Michael G. Hegeman, 1997 Performed by: The Lauda! Chamber Singers

Rejoice!

Sunday, December 16, 2018

Click here for readings

Today, in Mercy, we celebrate Gaudete Sunday. 

Gaudete

Advent was originally, like Lent, a time of fasting. Midway in the fast, the Church took a break from the fast and rejoiced prematurely for the coming Christmas. 

Pink vestments worn for the liturgy indicate joy, as do the uplifting readings.

In our first reading, Zephania tells us that “the Lord will rejoice over us with gladness!”

Paul tells us to “Rejoice in the Lord always!”

Even serious John the Baptist seems to tingle with expectation of the coming Savior. He’s just a little more taciturn in his proclamations.

In our terribly commercialized holiday world, let us stop and remember the true cause of our hope and celebration.

What gives your heart true joy as we approach the sacred celebration of Christmas? 

Let’s make a deeper effort this week, which will require so much bustle of us, to settle our hearts for a moment with God – remembering that his presence with us is what this whole season is about. 

Music: Gaudete in Domino sung by the Schola of St. Meinrad Abbey (Latin and English lyrics below)

Gaudete in Domino semper
iterum dico gaudete.
Modestia vestra nota sit omnibus hominibus.
Dominus prope est.
Nihil solliciti sitis
sed in omni oratione et obsecratione
cum gratiarum actione petitiones vestrae innotescant apud Deum.
Et pax Dei quae exsuperat omnem sensum custodiat corda vestra et intellegentias vestras in Christo Iesu [Domino nostro].

Rejoice in the Lord always:
and again I say, rejoice.
Let your moderation be known unto all men.
The Lord is at hand.
Be careful for nothing;
but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus [our Lord].

Prepare Ye

Saturday, December 15, 2018

Click here for readings

Mk 1_Prepare copy

Today, in Mercy, our Gospel places us with Jesus, as he descends the mountain after the Transfiguration.

He speaks about two great prophets – Elijah and John the Baptist:

  • Elijah – the fiery reformer who “turned back hearts” to the day of the Lord
  • John – who cried out in the desert, “Prepare the way of the Lord!”

These prophets open the door to our final approach to Christmas – our last few days to heed their advice and ready our hearts for the awesome, yet humble, coming of Christ.

  • Is there anything in my heart that needs to be turned back to God — any energy, dedication or insight that has shifted from God’s Way to my own selfish way?
  • Is there anything I must prepare so that my life is ready to receive Christ?

These are the questions Elijah and John offer us today..

Music: Prepare the Way, O Zion – Fernando Ortega (Lyrics below)

Prepare the way O Zion
Your Christ is drawing near
Let every hill and valley
A level way appear
Greet One who comes in glory
Foretold in sacred story

Chorus:
O blest is Christ that came
In God’s most holy name
Christ brings God’s rule O Zion
He comes from heaven above
His rule is peace and freedom
And justice truth and love
Lift high your praise resounding
For grace and joy abounding

Fling wide your gates, O Zion
Your Savior’s rule embrace
And tidings of salvation
Proclaim in every place
All lands will bow rejoicing
Their adoration voicing

We Will Be Judged on Love

Friday, December 14, 2018

Click here for Readings

John of the Cross

Today, in Mercy, we celebrate the feast of St. John of the Cross, a great mystic of the 16th century, one of the 36 Doctors of the Church, and an influential Spanish writer. 

John, with Teresa of Ávila, founded the Discalced Carmelites. His poetry and prose recount the journey of the soul as it grows more deeply into God. 

Much of his poetic writing can surprise, perhaps even shock, with its passionate tone. But John’s love for God is so profound that he uses the symbols of deepest human intimacy to convey his passion. These are the most beautiful images he has to express his total gift of self to the Divine.

Through the darkness of profound personal suffering, John found Light by nurturing this extraordinary spiritual intimacy with God.

John is a perfect inspiration for the Advent journey as we move through darkness to the Light of Christmas.

Many of us will have favorite passages from this prolific and passionate writer.  Mine is this:

“In the evening of our lives,
we will judged on love.
Learn, therefore, to love God
as God wishes to be loved.”

Music: John Michael Talbot tries to capture the mysticism of John’s writings.

Light in Our Darkness

Thursday, December 13, 2018: 

Click here for Readings

Is45_8 LucyJPG

Today, in Mercy, we celebrate the feast of St. Lucy, patroness of the blind. Lucy was a brave young woman, martyred during the persecutions. 

Her name meaning “Light”, she has been venerated for millennia as one who can bring clarity and insight to places of darkness. 

Today’s first reading shows us what our Radiant God can do for those who live in darkness, destitution and fear.

As the year moves closer to its time of deepest darkness, may we know God’s brightness in our hearts. May we sense God lighting, once again, the dark places in our lives and in our world.

We all have painful situations, unanswered hopes, lingering fears.  Let us bring them out of the shadows today with the help of St. Lucy and our Brilliant God who made the stars to give us hope.

Music:  Hail, Gladdening Light – Etcetera: the Civil Service Choir