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O Antiphons

A Reflection on the ‘O Antiphon’ for the 22nd of December

O King whom all the peoples desire
You are the cornerstone which makes all one.
O come and save us whom you made from clay.
 

What is my desire? Do I really have desire for this King, as today鈥檚 鈥極 Antiphon鈥 proclaimed?

鈥極 King whom all the peoples desire鈥

The desire for God is part of what we are.

Christmas time offers for us a lot of wishes鈥 But as soon as we open the gifts there will be a inevitable sense of disappointment. 鈥業s that it?鈥 the small child asks when all the presents have been unwrapped. The desire remains even if you get what you asked for, and especially, if you get what you asked for! The longing is unsatisfied鈥

Much later the child learned the lesson of Augustine and come to know that there is a space inside us that nothing but the uncontained God can fill.

I remember when in my 16th year […]

A Reflection on the ‘O Antiphon’ for the 21st of December

On this the shortest day of the year it is appropriate that our 鈥極 Antiphon鈥 has the theme of light bringing us hope that darkness can never overpower Eternal Light.

 

Recently while reading an article in the National Geographic on 鈥楽olar Sailing in Space鈥- which I did not fully understand! – one sentence caught my attention: scientists in the last century have discovered that 鈥渓ight is pure energy 鈥 that property in nature that makes things go, run or happen.鈥 These four words 鈥榣ight is pure energy鈥 seemed to jump out of the page and immediately all the references to light in relation to God in the Old and New Testaments flooded my mind.聽 Light is pure energy!聽 What a wonderful image of God! And how appropriate! Is it possible to describe light? 聽鈥 yet we live and move and have our being in the light.

What scientists are now discovering […]

A Reflection on the ‘O Antiphon’ for the 20th of December

O come now Key of David, come, and open wide our heavenly home,
Make safe the way that leads on high and close the path to misery.
Rejoice, rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to you O Israel.
 

As today, we pray in our 鈥極 Antiphon鈥 鈥 鈥極 key of David, come and close the path to misery鈥 or as another translation expresses it: 鈥榗ome and lead the captive free from prison, free those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death鈥 鈥 we reflect聽 that a key both opens and locks a door.聽 What is it that keeps our hearts and lives imprisoned and locked up?聽 What door needs to be opened to free us to live peacefully and trustfully in the Presence of God in the midst of the聽 daily upsets that can occur and all the noise and turmoil of today鈥檚 world?聽聽 Very often it is FEAR in one […]

A Reflection on the ‘O Antiphon’ for the 18th of December

O Adonai and leader of Israel,
You appeared to Moses in a burning bush
and You gave him the Law on Sinai.
O come,
and save us with Your mighty power.
(with arm outstretched to save)

What do you want from Christmas?
 

These last days of Advent seem to intend to teach us what to ask of the LORD 鈥 maybe in order that we may truly know and understand how to be human; and above all, that our humanity is meant to be one which seeks to serve.

 

鈥溾 the Son of man came not to serve, but to serve, and to give my life as a ransom for many.鈥 ( Mk 10:45)

 

What desire in my soul at the moment of my encounter with the

Infant Saviour of the world 鈥 with God 鈥

is awakened?

What do I want from Christmas?

 

Yesterday, we called upon the LORD who is Wisdom.

This evening we call upon Him as LORD and Leader: […]

A Reflection on the ‘O Antiphon’ for the 17th of December

鈥淥 Wisdom,

You come forth from the mouth of the Most High.

You fill the universe

and hold all things together

in a strong yet gentle manner.

O come to teach us the way of truth.鈥

Today we will sing the first of the 鈥極 Antiphons鈥; the beautiful Magnificat Antiphons for the final days of preparation for the coming of Christ at Christmas. These Antiphons address Christ by various titles/attributes and beseech him to 鈥楥ome鈥.

 

This first Antiphon addresses Christ as 鈥榃isdom鈥. It is a wonderful thing to recognise that Christ is Wisdom and to remember that 鈥渢he wisdom which comes from above is marked chiefly indeed by its purity, but also by its peacefulness; it is courteous and ready to be convinced, always taking the better part; it carries mercy with it, and a harvest of all that is good; it is uncensorious and without affectation鈥 (Jas 3:17-18).

 

Our world desperately needs such wisdom; not […]

O Rising Sun – 21st December 2016

O Rising Sun, you are the splendour of Eternal Light and the Sun of Justice.O Come and enlighten those who sit in darkness; those who dwell in the shadow of death, Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus, come.As I read this very beautiful O Antiphon, a memory comes to mind of long summer evenings spent in the high field 鈥 the moinin ard as we called it 鈥 sitting under a haystack just watching the breathtaking sight of the sun going down beyond the woods and bog lands of our farm in the West.The silence was full, deep and quiet, except for the little birds on their way home to roost and the friendly crickets close by.  But as the last lights faded what a mystery it was to my child鈥檚 mind! Where, oh where had the sun gone?!No grown up鈥檚 explanations prepared me for what was always a fresh experience […]

O Key of David – 20th December 2016

O Key of David and sceptre of Israel, what you open no one else can close again, what you close no one can open, O come and lead the captive from prison; free those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.This 鈥極 Antiphon鈥 that the Church sings this evening at the Magnificat, has its roots like all the other Antiphons in sacred scripture, in this case in Isaiah chapter 22 and in Luke chapter I.Our Lord is addressed as Key of David 鈥 Jesus is Son of David through his foster father, St Joseph, who was of the house of David.  David was the most beloved and important King in Israel鈥檚 history 鈥 鈥渁 man after the Lord鈥檚 own heart鈥 as it says in the Acts of the Apostles.  So Jesus in his human ancestry is truly one of us as he is truly Son of […]

The Great ‘O Antiphons – O Wisdom – 17th Dec

O Wisdom, you come forth from the mouth of the Most High.  You fill the universe and hold all things together in a strong yet gentle manner.  O come to teach us the way of truth.We are immediately reminded of the wonderful passages in the Old Testament which speak of Wisdom.  There we read of Wisdom as proceeding from God, as being begotten by Him, as being the beloved who at the beginning stood beside Him, assisting at the creation 鈥 鈥榚ver at play in His presence and delighting to be with the children of men.鈥橳hese passages concerning Wisdom can be applied to the Word who in the fullness of time took on our human nature and pitched his tent among us.While in the Old Testament God鈥檚 Wisdom was manifested by His governance of the created universe in a strong yet gentle manner, being lenient and merciful to all […]

O Rex Gentium – 22nd December 2015

 鈥淥 King and treasure of the nations,the cornerstone that makes the two into one;Come and save man whom you fashioned from dust.鈥 We heard this morning from the Prophet Isaiah (during the Office of Readings) the following:Thus says the LORD God:鈥淏ehold, I will lift up my hand to the nations, and raise my signal to the peoples; and they shall bring your sons in their bosom, and your daughters shall be carried on their shoulders.Kings shall be your foster-fathers and their queens your nursing mothers.With their faces to the ground they shall bow down to you, and lick the dust of your feet.Then you will know that I am the LORD: those who wait for me shall not be put to shame.鈥(Is 49:22-23)It is difficult 鈥 never having shaken hands with one 鈥 to know what qualities one might expect a king to have 鈥 so that he might be […]

鈥淥 Rising Sun – 21st December 2015

鈥淥 Rising sun, You are the splendor of eternal light, and the sun of justice.O come and enlighten those who sit in darkness, those who dwell in the shadow of death.Maranatha! Come, Lord Jesus, come鈥                What can be a better metaphor or image to depict the reality of salvation given by God to human beings than light and darkness? Even without going deep into the metaphysics of light by Grosseteste, Or the reflections on light by St. Augustine, St. Bonaventure or other theologians and philosophers, or without further specific analysis of light as knowledge, truth, goodness, life, etc., we immediately grasp the meaning of this text. We are very familiar with the word and image of 鈥渓ight鈥 throughout Old Testament and New Testament and numerous sacred religious arts to describe the saving power and act of God from our death, sin, and suffering.  You are probably familiar with the famous […]