Friday, December 24, 2010

Ero Cras

Looking backwards from December 23 to 17, we've prayed the
"O" Antiphons using seven different Biblical titles:
Rex Gentium
Clavis David
Radix Jesse
The first letter taken from each of these spells out "Ero Cras." Translation:
"I will be with you tomorrow."

Maranatha!  Amen!  Come, Lord Jesus! (Revelation 22:20)
Merry Christmas to you and yours!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel, God-with-us, our king and Lawgiver, the Desire of all nations and their Savior: come and save us, O Lord our God! Amen.

Our countdown to Christmas is almost over. The last "O" Antiphon is also the most well-known. "Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel." (Isaiah 7:14) Yes indeed: God is truly with us, has walked among us, and remains with us until the end of time. What wondrous love! O come, O come Emmanuel!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

O Rex Gentium

O King of nations, and their Desired, the Cornerstone who make all one: come and save our race, whom you formed out of clay. Amen.

"I will make with them a covenant of peace; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them....My dwelling will be with them; I will be their God, and they shall be my people. Thus the nations shall know that it is I, the Lord, who make Israel holy." (Ezekiel 37:26-28) There are so many ways we try to fill the emptiness in our hearts. A new car, a better stereo system, a job promotion. Yet when we have everything we think we wanted, the hole, the yearning, is still there. God has made us for himself, and he alone can fill the bottomless longing in our soul. O come, desire of nations!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

O Oriens

O Dayspring, brightness of eternal Light and Sun of Justice: come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. Amen.

"In times past, God spoke to our ancestors in partial and various ways through the prophets; in these last days he has spoken to us through a Son...who is the refulgence of his glory, the very imprint of his being." (Heb. 1:1-2) The prophets kept alive the hope of a people by delivering God's message to them. Their words, actions, and very lives were signs of God's continuing presence with his people, his promise of redemption. With the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem, God no longer speaks to us in signs and types. This is the Word of God made flesh!  "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased; listen to him." (Matt. 17:5) How many are actually ready to hear what God has to say? Come O Dayspring, Light of lights!

Monday, December 20, 2010

O Clavis David

O Key of David, and scepter of the House of Israel: you open and no one shuts; you shut and no one opens. Come and lead forth from his prison the captive sitting in darkness and in the shadow of death. Amen.

The key is a symbol of authority. People with authority are found in offices and palaces; they are great and they make their influence felt. Who would have thought to look for power and might in a stable? And yet this baby is the key for the salvation of the whole world. A locked door cannot be opened without a key; heaven's gates were closed until the promised Messiah would come and pay the price for our sins. Come, O Key of David!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

O Radix Jesse

O Root of Jesse, who stood as a sign for the people, before you kings shall remain silent, and to you the Gentiles shall make supplication: come to deliver us, and delay not. Amen.

"A shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom." (Isaiah 11:1)  God had made a solemn promise to David that his house and kingdom would stand firm forever (cf 2Sam. 7) but after Jerusalem was destroyed and its inhabitants deported to Babylon Israel was ruled foreign powers. What happened to God's promise?  According to the Gospel of Matthew, there was 14 generations from the Babylonian exile to the birth of Jesus. No longer sitting on an earthly throne, the blood of David still flowed in their veins.  "...of her was born Jesus who is called the Messiah," (Matt. 1:16) and of his kingdom there shall be no end.  God is at work even when we can't see and don't understand. Come, O Rod of Jesse!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

O Adonai

O Lord, leader of the house of Israel, you appeared to Moses in he flame of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: come, and with an outstretched arm, redeem us. Amen.

The Lord, the great "I AM," who appeared to Moses in the burning bush, executed mighty judgments against the Egyptians at the time of the Exodus, and came down upon Mount Sinai in heavy smoke and flashes of fire, is the same Lord who comes now to a humble manger in Bethlehem.  The Israelites of old were struck dead if they so much as touched the base of the mountain of God, but here is God as a baby who needs his diaper changed!  This is love: God who bends down to us, remains with us in our need. Come, O come, thou Lord of Might!

Friday, December 17, 2010

O Sapientia

O Wisdom, you came forth from the mouth of the Most High, and reached from end to end, and disposed of all things sweetly and mightily: come and teach us the way of prudence. Amen.

From December 17 to 23, the Church observes the ancient custom of praying each day one of the seven "O" Antiphons, so called because each one addresses the God who comes in Christ with a different Biblical title, beginning with the invocation "O."  In Latin (which I will be using for the titles of these posts) the first letter of each title, read in reverse order, form the acrostic "Ero Cras" which translates "I will be with you tomorrow."
Today's title is "O Wisdom." Jesus Christ, "the power of God and the wisdom of God" (1 Cor. 1:24) comes to us as a tiny baby born in a stable.  What does that say about power and wisdom? God's ways are so different from our ways that it is easy to miss even his greatest gifts unless our hearts are attuned and ready.  Come, O Wisdom from on high!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Immaculate Conception

Inmaculada Concepcion (La Colosal)The day of Mary's conception —conceived without the stain of original sin— was probably a day like any other. Nothing extraordinary to  announce the fact that the long-awaited plan of salvation had begun, that God's greatest masterpiece of creation was being formed cell by cell in the womb of her mother.  No flashes of lightning, no brilliant stars or angel chorus announcing the arrival of this immaculate temple of the Trinity. The dawn of our salvation was here, and it was just a business-as-usual day. Yet in spite of what might have seemed ordinary, ho-hum, not worth noticing, God was at work. God is always at work. O pure Virgin, conceived without original sin, Mother of God, pray for us in our need.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Happy Birthday to Us!

Deo Gratias!  We are 114 years old!

The Sister Servants of the Holy Spirit of Perpetual Adoration were founded on December 8, 1896 by St. Arnold Janssen.
In the service of evangelzation and of the sanctification of priests we are to lead a life of faith-inspired contemplation and grateful adoration, of steadfast prayer and selfless service. Before the Blessed Sacrament, the visible sign of the triune God's infinite love, we are to praise his goodness and mercy unceasingly and to invite all to join in our homage.
(From our Constitutions)

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Advent Waiting

I wait for the Lord, my souls waits,
in his word I hope;
my souls waits for the Lord...(Psalm 130: 5-6)
In our culture of instant gratification, waiting is hard to do.  We're so used to instant results that we become impatient when the web site takes a few extra seconds to load or there is a line at the drive-thru.  Our society is constantly shouting, "Do! Do! Do! Produce! Produce! Produce! Results! Results! Results!" Waiting becomes a waste of time, a dry desert between where we are and where we want to be.
During these four weeks before Christmas, the Church invites us to take a different approach to waiting.  Waiting also crystallizes desire.  Is what I want worth waiting for?  How much does it mean to me?  Am I willing to put off superficial gratification, to take the time necessary to get to the real heart of things?
As we wait for Christmas, we join Mary as she waits for the Desire of the Nations, taking flesh in her womb, to make his longed-for appearance.  Only the coming of God can quench our deepest desires.  What are you waiting for?  Can your longings stand the test of time?