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Advent

The ‘O’ Antiphons: 23rd December

O Emmanuel 鈥 You are our King and Judge,the one whom the peoples await and their Saviour.Come and save us Lord Jesus, Come.The time of waiting is coming to an end. Soon the mystery of the Incarnation will be re-enacted once more in our liturgical celebrations and especially in our hearts. What have we to offer the Christ Child this year? Maybe not much, and yet the whole raison d鈥櫭猼re for his coming hinges round the question 鈥 why is the Father about to send his own Beloved Son to take on our humanness, our earthiness, our poverty? God sends his Son for one reason only: because he loves us 鈥 in fact he is madly in love with us.Will we ever fathom this reality? He comes in silence, in lowliness, in poverty to knock at our door and asks us to give him a lodging for the night 鈥 for every night. All he asks of us is an empty space where he can rest and find us waiting and watching for him. Wouldn鈥檛 you think that we should come to God laden with the gold of good deeds? No 鈥 definitely no 鈥 the gift I must give my God is my brokenness. The thing God is waiting for me to offer him is the point where I am characteristically weak. This is the place, the stable where Jesus knocks with his baby hands and pleads with me — may I come in? Give me lodgings in your inn.For the past few weeks the cry Maranatha – Come Lord Jesus has been our spoken and unspoken prayer. But there is another side to this longing desire. While looking for a […]

By |December 23rd, 2010|Liturgy|0 Comments

The ‘O’ Antiphons: 22nd December

Today we have the sixth ‘O’ Antiphon bringing us nearer to our wonderful celebration.O King whom all the peoples desire,you are the cornerstone which makes all one.O come and save man whom you made from clay.Jesus is our King, our hearts are waiting for the joy and peace that he brings to each one of us so to pitch his royal tent within us. Are we ready to be part of the building of which Christ is the corner stone? Are we ready to be made one and alive, for Christ is the living stone on which we build our lives. St Paul writes to the Ephesians: In union with him you too are being built together with all the others into a place where God lives through the Spirit. We pray “O come” and indeed our King comes to save us who he made from clay. Such is the clay that we have to become in God’s hands, clay that is made firm by faith and moulded by God’s holy Word. It is only through the events of life that we can progress through the firing kiln of God’s creative love and it is only through his Spirit that we become the refined vessels of his living joyful love to be given, poured out and filled again, to be, as St Paul told the Corinthians, as clay pots holding God’s spiritual treasure.It is at this holy time that we come to realize more deeply the wonder of how God the Son took to himself our human clay, and as he lay as a little child in his mother’s arms, he showed us just how beautiful our human clay can become.O come our King, […]

By |December 22nd, 2010|Liturgy|0 Comments

The ‘O’ Antiphons: 21st December

鈥 O Rising Sun, you are the splendour of eternal light and the sun of justice. O come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.鈥滻n this 鈥淥鈥 Antiphon the three metaphors- the rising Sun, splendour of the eternal light and sun of justice 鈥 all symbolise Christ, the Son of God, the promised Messiah whose birth as our Saviour we will celebrate in four days time. Jesus calls Himself the 鈥楲ight of the World鈥 in St. John鈥檚 Gospel( 9:5) and St. John, in the Prologue says that He is the 鈥 true light who enlightens all men鈥 and 鈥 a light that shines in the dark, a light that darkness could not overpower鈥.(1:5) This assurance gives us courage to turn to Christ in our own various darknesses which may be a darkness of : prejudice; lack of compassion; judging and condemning others; resentment; anger; envy; selfishness or the darkness which blinds us to the awareness of our own sins, shortcomings and failures. We acknowledge that we are in great need of light and healing from Christ, the source of light and the singing of this antiphon in a few minutes time will give us the opportunity to turn to Him in earnest prayer asking Him to shed His light on us and on all humanity so that the darkness of sin may be dispelled from our hearts and we may be healed and renewed by His love.We can call upon the Saints and Blesseds to intercede for us for they mirrored this light of Christ in their own lives, radiated it and reflected it to others. […]

By |December 21st, 2010|Liturgy|0 Comments

The ‘O’ Antiphons: 20th December

O Key of David and sceptre of Israelwhat you open no one can close again;what you close no one can open.O come to lead the captive from prison;free those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.Todays “O Antiphon” is almost directly taken from various parts of scripture (cf Rev 3:7ff; Lk 1:79a). In this “O Antiphon” we have reference again to King David. Our Lord is addressed as “Key of David and sceptre of Israel”, which are symbols of royal power and authority. We read in St Matthews Gospel Mt 16:13ff, in that well known passage at Caesarea Philippi, where in answer to Jesus’ question “who do you say I am?” Simon Peter spoke up, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God”. Jesus replied, “Simon son of Jonah, you are a happy man! Because it was not flesh and blood that revealed this to you but my Father in heaven. So I now say to you: you are Peter and on this rock i will build my Church and the gates of the underworld will never hold out against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth shall be considered bound in heaven; whatever you loose on earth shall be considered loosed in heaven.”So Jesus has conferred his power and authority to his Church in the person of Peter and his successors. The Church is all about forgiving sin – salvation. It is through the Church at our Baptism that we gain entrance into the kingdom of heaven. At our Baptism we are freed from Original Sin and all personal sins. We become members of Christ’s Body and through […]

By |December 20th, 2010|Liturgy|0 Comments

The ‘O’ Antiphons: 19th December

O Radix JesseO stock of Jesse, you stand as a signal for the nations;kings fall silent before you whom the people acclaim.O come to deliver us, and do not delay.Today we address our awaited Saviour with the title 鈥榮tock of Jesse鈥 鈥 as Isaias foretold:鈥淎 root shall grow from the stock of Jesse,and a branch shall spring from his rootsand the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him鈥.Jesse was the father of King David from whose royal line the future Messiah would be born. When we read the genealogy of Jesus most of the characters mentioned were not very praise worthy according to human standards. Yet God鈥檚 infinite, all powerful wisdom, compassion and merciful love were at work throughout salvation history not allowing human failure, sin, malice nor indifference to interfere or thwart His divine plan. The promised Messiah will indeed come from David鈥檚 line 鈥 but in a manner which will leave us in no doubt that it is wholly God鈥檚 work. Joseph, the just man, comes from David鈥檚 line but he remains the silent spectator of God鈥檚 marvellous power. Mary鈥檚 role too is passive 鈥 receiving, cherishing, pondering the Word which is made flesh in her womb, through the power of the Holy Spirit, without any human intervention.The Child, the fruit of her womb, will be a sign to the nations 鈥 a 鈥榮ign of contradiction鈥 as Simeon prophesied. Kings fall silent before Him 鈥 they remain powerless. At his Passion, the intention of his enemies was to 鈥渄estroy the tree in its strength鈥 (Jer 11:19). What they, in fact, accomplished was to raise aloft the 鈥楾ree of Life鈥 whose leaves will have power to heal […]

By |December 19th, 2010|Liturgy|0 Comments

The ‘O’ Antiphons: 18th December

鈥極 Adonai, Ruler of the house of Israel, who gave the Law to Moses on Sinai,come to save us with out-stretched arm, Alleluia鈥.This is a prayer made from a truly humble and trusting heart, that knows its need of our heavenly Father to save us.The theme of God鈥檚 outstretched arm to help his people is found frequently in Scripture and must surely touch us deeply. For example Psalm 97 鈥 鈥楬is right hand and his holy arm have brought salvation鈥.There is something comforting in arms outstretched towards us, we feel needed and loved and this gives us an inner security.In daily life, we often see a loving mother or father stretch out their arms to save their child from some danger or simply to swoop the child up to give a hug.When we return from a journey after a long absence, what a joy it is to be welcomed home by a loved one running to meet us with outstretched arms. It cannot be less so with our heavenly Father, he is always, and everywhere stretching out his arms to welcome us and to save us. We have only to reflect on the parable of the Prodigal son in St. Luke鈥檚 Gospel (Chapter 15). Who could fail to be deeply touched as in our mind鈥檚 eye we watch that loving father run with outstretched arms to welcome and embrace his wayward son. The Gospels are full of occasions where Jesus stretches out his arms, his hands, to bring life, healing and salvation by his divine touch.During this Advent Season, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Christ, we are surely filled anew with wonder at the […]

By |December 18th, 2010|Liturgy|0 Comments

The ‘O’ Antiphons: 17th December

鈥淥 Sapientia鈥 鈥 17th December Advent, as we all know, is a time of longing, expecting 鈥 waiting and hoping that Jesus will come anew to each of us.Yesterday we began our 9-day Novena for the great feast of Christmas, and today and for the next six days we accentuate that longing and find its expression most beautifully in the great Vesper antiphons for the Magnificat, called the 鈥淥鈥 antiphons, because they all begin with 鈥極鈥. These antiphons will be used each evening before and after the Magnificat, and as the Gospel Acclamation at Mass, daily, for the next 7 days.The initials of each antiphon in Latin, in reverse order are: E = Emmanuel R = Rex (King) O = Oriens (Rising Sun) C = Clavis […]

By |December 17th, 2010|Liturgy|0 Comments

Third Sunday of Advent

Today鈥檚 Gospel from St. Matthew Chapter 11: v 2-11 begins with the words: 鈥楯ohn in his prison had heard what Christ was doing鈥 John in his prison 鈥 the word 鈥榟is鈥 strikes me very forcefully 鈥 John the Baptist who for his great courage in telling no less a person than the King of his sin, was imprisoned and eventually beheaded.Through the centuries thousands of people, men, women and children have suffered and continue to suffer in our day, the most horrendous imprisonment, torture and often, death, for their faithfulness to God鈥檚 law.But there are many kinds of imprisonment, and indeed we can all at one time or another in our lives, be in some kind of prison. The prison of fear, insecurity, selfishness, depression, pride or prejudice, illness of mind, spirit or body, unbelief 鈥 the list is endless.John had heard in his prison all that Christ was doing, the Gospel tells us.In my life, in all our lives, we have read and heard through the Scriptures, what Christ did on earth concerning every form of suffering of his people 鈥 it is important to remember that this is not only in the past, two thousand years ago, but in the present, and this will be so until the end of time.If we take time to reflect on and to listen to the gentle inner voice of Jesus, we will hear and perceive all he has done and is doing in our own lives, and in the lives of those who touch our lives. His Word is 鈥榓live and active鈥 and always will be. How often do we hear those blessed words: 鈥極 that today you would listen […]

By |December 12th, 2010|Liturgy|0 Comments

Second Sunday of Advent

Mass Readings Year A1st Reading: Isaias 11:1-102nd Reading: Romans 15: 4-9Gospel: Matthew 3:1-12In our Gospel today St John the Baptist calls on us to:鈥減repare a way for the Lord 鈥 make his paths straight!鈥滻n our second Reading St Paul encourages us not to lose hope but to keep on trying 鈥 reminding us that 鈥減eople in the past who did not give up hope were helped by God鈥. And Paul prays: 鈥渕ay He who helps us when we refuse to give up, help you all to be tolerant with each other, following the example of Christ Jesus, so that united in mind and voice you may give glory to God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ鈥. Paul seems to imply that in our efforts to be tolerant with each other we can expect to fail often but we must not lose hope 鈥 trusting that 鈥淕od will help us if we refuse to give up鈥. This seems to be a good Advent programme for a monastic community like ours. During this season we pay very careful attention to preparing the liturgy and indeed the Advent chants are beautiful but to ensure that our daily celebration of the liturgy truly gives glory to God we also need to be attentive to our relationships with our sisters in community. Paul continues 鈥渋t can only be to God鈥檚 glory for you to treat each other in the same friendly way as Christ treated you鈥. Pope Paul VI described fraternal charity as 鈥渁n active hope for what others can become through my co-operation鈥 鈥 a very high ideal it is true but the One whom we await during the Advent […]

By |December 5th, 2010|Liturgy|0 Comments

1st Sunday of Advent

Today鈥檚 Mass readings invite us to 鈥榳ake up鈥 from our slumber, to 鈥榮tay awake鈥 and 鈥榯o walk in the light of the Lord鈥.During Advent we are preparing for the threefold coming of the LordAs we remember His first coming at Bethlehem over 2,000 years ago, we are invited to prepare for His final coming in glory at the end of time and we celebrate His coming in grace at every moment but especially at Christmas.The main focus of attention on this first Sunday of Advent is His final coming in glory. Regarding when this final coming will take place nobody knows the day or hour but Jesus invites us to be ready 鈥 to be prepared! More important for each of us is the moment of our death when the Lord will come to take us to himself 鈥 many who celebrated last Advent are no longer with us and there are others for whom this will be their last Advent. The Church begins each liturgical year with this time of preparation reminding us that the Lord has already come but that He is also coming. At a time like this we tend to make good resolutions regarding what we will do or not do 鈥 however we have learned from our experience over the years that often our efforts come to naught and we get discouraged. Is this because the focus of our attention is on our efforts and on what we are doing instead of focusing on who we are and what the Lord is doing and wants to do in our lives? On Christmas night we will hear Pope St Leo telling us 鈥淥 Christian recognise […]

By |November 28th, 2010|Liturgy|0 Comments