O Radiant Dawn

December 24, 2019

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midnight

Today, in Mercy, we pray:

O Morning Star,
splendor of light eternal
and sun of righteousness:
Come and enlighten those
who dwell in darkness
and the shadow of death.

dawn

O Radiant Dawn,
it is Christmas Eve.
We see the hint of your dawning
along the dark horizon
of our limitations.

How we long for You
to fracture time,
our fragile eggshell,
Eternal Love flowing
across our weary hearts.

O Dayspring,
let us see beyond the darkness,
beyond fear,
and selfish calculations,
beyond doubt, despair, hatred,
even death…

…to know that, in You,
everything is Light
for those who trust
Your Rising.

We await your
Christmas Morning
in our world.
Maranatha!  Come, Lord, Jesus!

Music:  O Oriens – Gloriae Dei Cantores

O King of All Nations

Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent

December 23, 2019

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Today, in Mercy, we pray:

O King

O King of All Nations,
Cornerstone
holding us as One,
Come, save us.

Now, so close to
your Revelation,
we ask ourselves
if it is really darkest
just before the Dawn?

Our shadow seems
to have gotten
so badly in the way
of your Generous Light.

Despite your Breath
that bids us soar
in shared and
sacred tenderness,
we stubbornly return
to selfish clay.

Rekindle us, selfless King,
on this eve of eves.

As You prepare
to hide your Godhead
in our flesh
for sake total love,
change us to Love.

May your Mercy
incarnate in our hearts
in an Eternal Christmas .

Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!

Music: O Rex Gentium

 

O Emmanuel

Saturday of the Third Week of Advent

December 21, 2019

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O Emmanuel

Today, in Mercy, we pray:

O Emmanuel,
Who loved us so
You took our flesh,
come,
open our eyes
to see You here
ever near,
ever within us.

As Earth turns –
in so many ways –
to greatest darkness,
light the candle of
Your Indwelling
deep within our
longing hearts.

As Mary knew your
Closeness,
let us know You.

As Joseph held You
in mutuality of trust,
let us hold You and
be held by You.

Be born again
in the love that
we return to You
by loving one another
well and tenderly.

Cleave us to
Your Brilliant Light
though hidden in
life’s puzzling shadows,
God with Us,
God ever with Us!

O Emmanuel, come
be with us
on our longest nights.
Let us lean
soft into You
on our hardest days.

Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!

Music: Winter Cold Night – John Foley, SJ
(Lyrics below)

Winter Cold Night – John Foley, SJ

Dark, dark, the winter cold night, lu-lee-ley
Hope is hard to come by, lu-lee-ley
Hard, hard, the journey tonight, lu-lee-ley.
Star, guide, hope, hide
our poor, winter cold night.

And on earth peace, good will to men.

Lean, lean, the living’ tonight, lu-lee-lay.
Star seems darker sometimes, lu-lee-lay.

Unto you is born this day a Savior.

Pain, yes, in the bornin’ tonight, lu-lee-lay.
Star, guide, hope, hide
our poor, winter cold night.

O Key of David

Friday of the Third Week of Advent

December 20, 2019

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key of david

 

Today, in Mercy, we pray:

O Key of David,

O Blessed Freedom,
Who unlocks the secret of eternal life
within our hearts!

Come absolve
the sad incarcerations
shackling us!

We hold ourselves
and one another captive
by our fears, our greed,
our terrible need
to control
Your power within us.

We are afraid of Love,
because once released in us,
Love asks for everything…

… for everything to be
unbound, unbarred
and given to Your
Unrestricted Grace,
in flesh named “Jesus”.

Love asks us to
become like You,
but we are locked
in smaller dreams.

O Key of David,
come free our dreams
with Yours.

Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!

Music:  O Clavis David

O Root of Jesse

Thursday of the Third Week of Advent

December 19, 2019

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O Radix

Today, in Mercy, we pray:

O Root of Jesse’s Stem,
O Radical Love, who gives us,
and all Creation,
LIFE,

come deliver us from power
turned upon itself
in vanity and greed,

from the selfishness
that curls the heart
away from reverence
and generosity
toward every living being.

As You were tied,
in human flesh,
to Jesse’s generations
and so to us –

tie us to one another
by your Eternal Love,
that we may grow with You
to depths of Mercy,
to heights of Love.

Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!

Music: O Radix Jesse

O Adonai

Wednesday of the Third Week of Advent

December 18, 2019

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O Adonai

Today, in Mercy, we pray:

O, Adonai,
we reach for your outstretched arm.

How we need to lean on You,
to be upheld by You,
to be embraced by You,

Compassionate Lord, who
leads us through a life
that can be unbearable
alone.

We pray, with longing hearts,
that You uplift all the fallen –
whether into pain, or loss,
confusion, or the sad distress
we inflict upon ourselves
and one another.

Adonai, Beautiful One,
set a fire before us,
as You did for Moses.

Lead the way for us
with Flame of Love
and Light of Faith
into your outstretched Mercy.

Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!

Music: O Adonai – Gloriae Dei Cantores

O Wisdom

Tuesday of the Third Week of Advent

December 17, 2019

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Wisdom_2019

Today, in Mercy, we pray:

O, Wisdom,
how we need You!

Around us,
and at times within us,
there is a foolishness
that has forgotten You.

There is a shallowness
that skims this
sacred well of life
on the thinest surface of
our pretenses,
our distractions, 
our frightened preoccupations.

Take us to the depth
where Your Wisdom
dwells within us.

There let us find
peace
undisturbed by circumstance;
justice
fed by lavish mercy;
Love
beyond boundaries,
beyond definition,
beyond imagination,
beyond time.

Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus!


Music: Who Has Known – John Foley, SJ

O the depth of the riches of God;
and the breadth of the wisdom and knowledge of God!
For who has known the mind of God?
To Him be glory forever.

A virgin will carry a child and give birth,
and His name shall be called Emanuel.

For who has known the mind of God?
To Him be glory forever.

The people in darkness have seen a great light;
for a child has been born, His dominion is wide.
For who has known the mind of God?
To Him be glory forever.

O, Frank!

I so loved my great-aunt Peg. She was that perfect mix of elegance and earthiness that made one both comfortable and inspired.

Peg Tierney wed
Aunt Peg on Her Wedding Day to Uncle Frank – 1929

Her husband, Uncle Frank, loved her totally. And to boot, he was a romantic which led him to proclaim that love often. One summer, in the 1950s, he surprised her with a second honeymoon trip to Niagara Falls.

Upon return, they visited us and Uncle Frank brought a movie of their trip.

camera

Now, taking a movie and eventually showing it was quite an accomplishment in the ‘50s. Not only were the camera and lights cumbersome, so was the screening equipment.

But that effort on my Uncle Frank’s part yielded a long-lasting blessing for me. It came in a brief scene still indelibly etched on my mind.

 

Aunt Peg, dressed in her Sunday best, stood looking over the rail at the majestic falls, her back to the camera. There was no sound on the film, but you could tell Uncle Frank had called to her to turn around. Knowing him, my guess was that he said something like, “Peg, you are as beautiful as the falls!”.

falls

Aunt Peg turns and clearly, despite the silent film, mouths a bashful response,

“O, Frank!”.

Those two words, given with a slight blush and demure smile, carried the whole story of their very special love. And they left me, even at a young age, with such a profound message.

Every time I have thought of that short phrase over these sixty years, this is what I hear:

O, Frank!

  • how blessed am I to be so loved
  • how good you are to show that love so clearly
  • how grateful I am that you share your life with me
  • please know how much I love you in return

Tomorrow, we will enter one of the loveliest times of the Liturgical Year – the proclamation of the O Antiphons.

The great O Antiphons are Magnificat antiphons used at Vespers on the last seven days of Advent. They are also used as the Alleluia verse on same days. The importance of the O Antiphons is twofold. First, each one is a title for the Messiah. Second, each one refers to Isaiah’s prophecy of the coming of the Messiah.


As we prepare for this beautiful and sacred time, I am reminded of my dear Aunt Peg standing before both the magnificent Niagara Falls and my Uncle Frank’s tremendous love.

We, dear friends, are standing in awe at the passage of time into eternity. Our God calls to us to turn around and look into God’s loving face. As we pause in silent, grateful adoration, the great thunder of life silenced behind us, we respond with awe:

  • 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 God With Us)

As we stand in the shadowed eve of these profound prayers, let’s prepare our hearts to gratefully experience God’s tremendous love.

O Beloved God

  • how blessed am I to be so loved
  • how good you are to show that love so clearly
  • how grateful I am that you share your life with me
  • please know how much I love you in return

Music: Peg of My Heart – sung in full here by Charles Harrison

I hope you might enjoy this tribute to Uncle Frank. This is a very early version of the song he always sang to Aunt Peg. We did a lot a singing when the family gathered back then  – an activity sadly lost today. There are more mellow, later versions, but this is the way Uncle Frank sang it, straight from the Ziegfeld Follies Of 1913.

Oh, my heart’s in a whirl over one little girl
I love her, I love her, yes, I do
Although her heart is far away
I hope to make her mine some day

Ev’ry beautiful rose, ev’ry violet knows
I love her, I love her fond and true
And her heart fondly sighs, as I sing to her eyes
Her eyes of blue, sweet eyes of blue, my darling

Peg o’ my Heart, I love you
We’ll never part, I love you
Dear little girl, sweet little girl
Sweeter than the Rose of Erin
Are your winning smiles endearin’

Peg o’ my Heart, your glances
With Irish art entrance us
Come, be my own, come, make your home in my heart

When your heart’s full of fears
And your eyes full of tears
I’ll kiss them, I’ll kiss them all away
For, like the gold that’s in your hair
Is all the love for you I bear
Oh, believe in me, do

I’m as lonesome as you
I miss you, I miss you all the day
Let the light of live shine from your eyes into mine
And shine for aye, sweetheart for aye, my darling

Peg o’ my Heart, I love you
We’ll never part, I love you
Dear little girl, sweet little girl
Sweeter than the Rose of Erin
Are your winning smiles endearin’
Peg o’ my Heart, your glances
With Irish art entrance us
Come, be my own, come, make your home in my heart

O Key of David ( O Clavis David)

Thursday, December 20, 2018

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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 Leader (O Adonai)

Tuesday, December 18, 2018

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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