O Sapientia (O Wisdom)

Monday, December 17, 2018

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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

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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

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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

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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: 

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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

Our Lady of Guadalupe

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

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Today, in Mercy, we celebrate the Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe, commemorating the apparitions of Mary to the Mexican peasant Juan Diego in 1531. 

OLofGuadalupeJPG

It is also on this date, 300 years later, that Catherine McAuley founded the Sisters of Mercy in Dublin, Ireland. 

Both Mary and Catherine found their joy in total commitment to God’s will and presence in their lives. May they inspire and help  to make God the center of our lives. May that discovery fill us with joy.

Perhaps  by increasing our spiritual simplicity, trust and humility like Juan Diego, we can grow closer to Mary and to her Son.

Today’s beautiful readings can lead us closer into Mary’s arms.  Zecharia, even without knowing her, named Mary the Holy Dwelling from whom Christ would come forth.

Revelation captures multiple images from the Hebrew scriptures, fashioning a glorious picture of Mary’s significance in salvation history.

And our treasured passage from Luke — can we not read it like a beloved family story that gives us roots and wings?

Mary is not so far away from us.  She chose to enter Juan Diego’s life, looking like a queen he would recognize in his own culture. She has chosen to do the same thing in many other struggling cultures. 

How is Mary present to us today? How was she present to Catherine McAuley? A homeless woman? An immigrant mother? An incarcerated young woman/? A sickly neighbor? An annoying, lonely grandmother?

What language is Mary speaking to us?

Music: Tota Pulchra Es Maria – Latin words and translation below. This lovely hymn reflects our responsorial psalm for today.

Tota pulchra es, Maria,
et macula originalis non est in te.
Vestimentum tuum candidum quasi nix, et facies tua sicut sol.
Tota pulchra es, Maria,
et macula originalis non est in te.
Tu gloria Jerusalem, tu laetitia Israel, tu honorificentia populi nostri.
Tota pulchra es, Maria.

 

You are all beautiful, Mary,
and the original stain [of sin] is not in you.
Your clothing is white as snow, and your face is like the sun.
You are all beautiful, Mary,
and the original stain [of sin] is not in you.
You are the glory of Jerusalem, you are the joy of Israel, you give honour to our people.
You are all beautiful, Mary.

Seek Ye Comfort

Tuesday,  December 11, 2018

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Is 40_1 comfort ye

Today, in Mercy, we once again hear that powerful passage from Isaiah, “Comfort Ye, My People”.

Our Gospel gives us the gentle parable of the Good Shepherd who finds and comforts  his lost sheep.

As we listen to today’s tender music, let us slowly name in our prayer those who most need God’s comfort.

We may pray for ourselves, for someone we love, for those we know by name, or for those dear to God though nameless to us – all who suffer throughout the world.

Music: Comfort My People -Created by: Michelle Sherliza, OP; Music by: Monica Brown

 

Hope for Incredible Things

Monday, December 10, 2018

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Today, in Mercy, our Advent readings increase in joyously expectant tone: 

  • Isaiah’s exultant description of the Peaceful Kingdom
  • the Psamist’s confidence in God’s intervention
  • Jesus’s miracle, and probable delight, for the paralyzed man lowered through the roof! 
Lk5_26 incrediible
We have seen incredible things.. Luke 5:26

These passages are filled with an exuberant expectation, much like children feel as they discover an amazing gift. May we open our hearts with innocent hope toward God’s promise.

If you can, take the time today to read these passages slowly, listening for the particular word that will fall upon your heart like a blossom of hope.

Music: O Come, Divine Messiah – Jennie Lee Riddle and Robbie Seay

Like A Shepherd

Sunday, December 9, 2018

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Baruch 5_9 copy

 

Today, in Mercy, our magnificent readings are filled with the beloved phrases of Advent: 

“Prepare ye the way of the Lord”, 

“Comfort ye my people”, 

“Like a shepherd, he feeds his flock.” 

These words paint the background for our redemption: a merciful God is about to touch our suffering, twisted world with transforming Mercy! 

God will comfort, straighten, lift and heal all that is broken in and around us. 

We have much to put in God’s redeeming hands today in our prayer.

Music: Like A Shepherd – Bob Dufford, SJ

The Immaculate Conception

Saturday, December 8, 2018

Solemnity of the Immaculate Conception of the Blessed Virgin Mary

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murillo_MBASE_12_mgtCE0118P.jpg_1306973099
‘La Colosal (Immaculate Conception)’. Seville Museum of Fine Arts

Today, in Mercy, we celebrate the feast of the Immaculate Conception, the belief that Mary was conceived without the mark of Original Sin.

Beyond the intricate theology of the feast, what we treasure is that Mary made a holy place for Christ to dwell.

We pray that, with Mary’s love and guidance, we too may make choices that sanctify our hearts, readying them to receive God.

God will come to us today – not on angel’s word – but in the human form of someone poor, sick, desperate, heart-broken or lonely. May our faith allow us to respond as Mary did.

Music:  Magnificat – sung by The Daughters of Mary nuns