Come, O Adonai!

December 18, 2021
Saturday of the Third Week of Advent

Today, in God’s Lavish 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 those in 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: Great Advent – O Adonai – Gloriae Dei Cantores

Come, O Wisdom

December 17, 2021
Friday of the Third week of Advent

Today, in God’s Lavish 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, How We Are Loved!

December 16, 2021
Thursday of the Third week in Advent

Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we stand on the edge of the magnificent “O Antiphons”!

Tomorrow, December 17th, we will enter one of the loveliest times of the Liturgical Year – the proclamation of these powerfully beautiful verses leading us to Christmas.

The great O Antiphons are Magnificat verses used at Vespers on the last seven days of Advent. They are also used as the Alleluia verse on the 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.

Each year, as I prepare for this sacred interval,
I am reminded of an old family story.
I have written about it before,
and I hope those of you who have heard it
won’t mind hearing it again.


Aunt Peg on Her Wedding Day to Uncle Frank – 1929

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

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!”.

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. They were, in a sense, my Aunt Peg’s “O Antiphon”. 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 nearly 70 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

As we prepare for this beautiful and sacred time, I once again think of my dear Aunt Peg standing in the glory of both the magnificent 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 roaring 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 approach the opening of these profound prayers, let’s prepare our hearts to 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

Poetry: O Emmanuel – Malcolm Guite

O come, O come, and be our God-with-us
O long-sought With-ness for a world without,
O secret seed, O hidden spring of light.
Come to us Wisdom, come unspoken Name
Come Root, and Key, and King, and holy Flame,
O quickened little wick so tightly curled,
Be folded with us into time and place,
Unfold for us the mystery of grace
And make a womb of all this wounded world.
O heart of heaven beating in the earth,
O tiny hope within our hopelessness
Come to be born, to bear us to our birth,
To touch a dying world with new-made hands
And make these rags of time our swaddling bands.

Music: O Divine Redeemer – Charles Gounod, sung by Jessye Norman

I have included the English lyrics below, although they are a little heavy for my purposes today. It is the beautiful imploring voice of Ms. Norman that I hope you will focus on as you play this music. The lyrics are really immaterial.

Ah, turn me not away, receive me though unworthy.
Ah, turn me not away, receive me though unworthy.
Hear Thou my cry, hear Thou my cry,
Behold, Lord, my distress!
Answer me from Thy throne,
Haste Thee, Lord, to mine aid!
Thy pity show in my deep anguish, Thy pity show in my deep anguish.
Let not the sword of vengeance smite me,
Though righteous Thine anger, O Lord!

Shield me in danger, O regard me!
On Thee, Lord, alone will I call!

O divine Redeemer, O divine Redeemer!
I pray thee grant me pardon, And remember not
Remember not my sins!
Forgive me!

O divine Redeemer! I pray Thee, grant me pardon
And remember not, remember not, O Lord, my sins!

Night gathers round my soul
Fearful, I cry to Thee,
Come to mine aid, O Lord!
Haste Thee, Lord, haste to help me!

Hear my cry, hear my cry
Save me, Lord in Thy mercy;
Hear my cry, hear my cry!
Come and save me, O Lord!

O divine Redeemer! O divine Redeemer!
I pray Thee, grant me pardon, and remember not
Remember not, O Lord, my sins!

Save in the day of retribution
From death shield Thou me, O my God!
O divine Redeemer, have mercy!
Help me Savior! 

Antiphon: O Radiant Dawn

Christmas Eve – 2020


Today, God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray a prayer full of beautiful, hopeful images. Let us savor them slowly as we make our way to the waiting manger:

O Morning Star,
splendor of Light Eternal
and Sun of Righteousness:
Come and enlighten those
who dwell in darkness
and the shadow of death.


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!

Antiphon: O Emmanuel

December 21, 2020
Monday of the Fourth Week of Advent


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, 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!

Poetry:

Music: Michael G. Hegeman

Antiphon: O Root of Jesse

December 19, 2020
Saturday of the Third Week of Advent


Today, in God’s Lavish Mercy, we pray, “O Root of Jesse’s Stem”, addressing, in this short prayer, the entire 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 – especially all who suffer from the effects and fears associated with the pandemic

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


Poetry: The Coming – RS Thomas

And God held in his hand
A small globe. Look, he said.
The son looked. Far off,
As through water, he saw
A scorched land of fierce
Colour. The light burned
There; crusted buildings
Cast their shadows: a bright
Serpent, a river
Uncoiled itself, radiant
With slime.
On a bare
Hill a bare tree saddened
The sky. Many people
Held out their thin arms
To it, as though waiting
For a vanished April
To return to its crossed
Boughs. The son watched
Them. Let me go there, he said.

Music: O Root of Jesse – Michael G. Hegeman

Antiphon: O Adonai

December 18, 2020
Friday of the Third Week of Advent


Today, in God’s Lavish 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, Adonai,
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!



Poetry: O Adonai – Malcolm Guite

Unsayable, you chose to speak one tongue,
Unseeable, you gave yourself away,
The Adonai, the Tetragramaton
Grew by a wayside in the light of day.
O you who dared to be a tribal God,
To own a language, people and a place,
Who chose to be exploited and betrayed,
If so you might be met with face to face,
Come to us here, who would not find you there,
Who chose to know the skin and not the pith,
Who heard no more than thunder in the air,
Who marked the mere events and not the myth.
Touch the bare branches of our unbelief
And blaze again like fire in every leaf.


Music: O Adonai – Michael G. Hegeman

Antiphon: O Wisdom

December 17, 2020
Thursday of the Third Week of Advent


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 Beautiful 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)

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 discover a Wisdom rooted in truth, justice and mutual love!

Let us pray this prayer together today, dear friends, and wrap the whisper of longing around our whole aching world:

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


As we begin this final week before Christmas, may each one of you feel a dawning of new grace and courage in your hearts. This will certainly be a very different, and perhaps difficult time for many. But let Wisdom teach us that there may be a new and unexpected grace even in this strange season.

Poetry:

Deep into Advent
white morning rises
out of night’s dark mystery.
It will be cold today in some corners
even of the heart.

Still, in a distant belfry
sweet bells awaken
Slowly, the western horizon
warms enough to melt stars.

It is a time of promises
dancing in and out of hope.
Once, we see Glory.
Once, we see Void.
Our stark challenge is just to hope,
no matter what we see.

Deceptively simple, it is a call
with caverns unimagined,
each one offering
its own circuitous journey
into Wisdom.

For when peaceful stillness encompassed everything and night had run half its course,
your Almighty Word leapt down from heavens throne into a doomed land.
Wisdom 18:14-15


Music: O Wisdom – Michael G. Hegeman, Performed by: The Lauda! Chamber Singers

O Radiant Dawn

December 24, 2019

Click here for readings

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

Click here for readings

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