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Advent

23rd December – O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel, You are our king and judge, the One whom the people await and their Saviour. O come and save us, Lord our God.Today we have the 7th and last ‘O Antiphon’ – it is a cry from the heart to our Saviour to come and save us. It is also a cry of hope because we know that He will come and will save us – so we prepare our hearts to welcome His coming as we pray:Almighty God, now that the birthday of your Son as man is drawing near,we pray that your eternal Word,who took flesh in the womb of the Virgin Mary,and came to dwell among us,will show your unworthy people the greatness of His love and mercy,who lives and reigns with you and the Holy SpirtGod, for ever and ever.

By |December 23rd, 2009|Liturgy|0 Comments

22nd December – O King

O King whom all the peoples desire, you are the cornerstone which makes all one 鈥 O come and save man whom you made from the clayLike the other O antiphons which we have sung during the past few days this antiphon is a cry from the heart to our Saviour to come to save us.Today we address Him as King whom all peoples desire 鈥 yes we greatly desire Him because as St Augustine reminds: 鈥淗e has made us for Himself and our hearts are restless until they rest in Him.鈥滿an is described as 鈥渕ade from clay鈥 reminding us of our origins in the Book of Genesis 鈥 God shaped man from the soil of the ground and blew the breath of life into his nostrils and man became a living being. In some ancient cultures the king because of his royal office was referred to as an 鈥榠mage of God’ but the biblical writer tells us that every human being is a royal image of the living God.However human beings had disfigured that image by wanting to be independent, to be God, refusing to be the fragile, yet beautiful creatures, moulded from the clay of the earth and held in God鈥檚 hand, breathing with His very breath.The prophets 鈥 especially Isaiah and Jeremiah 鈥 constantly reminded Israel of its relationship to God as the clay to the potter 鈥 as the clay is in the potter鈥檚 hand 鈥搒o you are in mine, house of Israel 鈥 but you would not listen.Jesus is the one who restores in us the image of God be taking on our human nature. He makes all one by uniting us to Himself and drawing us […]

By |December 20th, 2009|Liturgy|0 Comments

21st December – O Rising Sun

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!Today the shortest day of the year when the sun reaches its lowest point in the sky (for us in the northern hemisphere at any rate!) and darkness seems to envelop us it is very appropriate that the Church puts on our lips the beautiful antiphon which cries out to our true Light to come and enlighten us.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!However let us not forget that our true light has already come into our world in the person of Jesus Christ, the Word Incarnate 鈥 as St John tells us in the Prologue of his Gospel. The Word was the real light that gives light to everyone 鈥 He was coming into the world 鈥 He was in the world that had come into being through Him and the world did not recognise Him.2000 years later as we look around at our world surrounded as we are by so much sin and darkness within our own hearts, in the Church and society we can be blinded to the Presence of the true Light shining in our midst.God is Light 鈥 in Him there is no darkness 鈥 Jesus says: 鈥淚 am the light of the world 鈥 whoever follows Me will have the light of life鈥.Many people who have 鈥榓fter death experiences鈥 speak of a gentle beckoning light welcoming them to approach and in this light […]

By |December 20th, 2009|Liturgy|0 Comments

20th December – O Key of David

Today, the fourth Sunday of Advent, we light the fouth candle on the Advent wreath – and our Readings at Mass today focus on Mary – her faith and love.1st Reading: Micah 5:1-4Psalm 792nd Reading: Heb 10:5-10Gospel: Luke 1:39-44O KEY OF DAVIDO 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 to lead the captive from prison; free those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.Another translation of this antiphon as found in the Daily Missal reads as follows: Key of David who open the gates of the eternal kingdom, come to liberate from prison the captive who lives in darknessThe concept of keys in the Bible usually denotes power being bestowed on someone. Jesus is the One on whom 鈥渁ll authority in heaven and on earth is bestowed鈥 (Mt 28:19) and Who opens the gates of the eternal kingdom to us. When we sing this antiphon what does this mean to us today?Can we look at the many keys which Jesus uses to open the Kingdom of heaven to us. Just to spotlight a few:the key of Baptism by which we become children of God, brothers and sisters of Jesus 鈥 sharing in the life of the Trinitythe keys of Eucharist and of the Sacrament of Reconciliation which nourish this life within us.the keys of the other sacraments which provide us with special graces.the keys of Faith, Hope and Love which open up an inner source of wonder and reality.Jesus left us a very precious key in the heart of His mother when with His dying breath on the Cross He […]

By |December 20th, 2009|Liturgy|0 Comments

19th December – O Root of Jesse

O Root of Jesse, You stand as a signal for the nations; kings fall silent before You whom the peoples acclaim. O come to deliver us, and delay no longer.Like all the other 鈥極 Antiphons鈥 this one too is steeped in Old Testament imagery. (See Isaiah chapter 11 and 12). Jesse, who was David鈥檚 father and one of Jesus鈥 great ancestors, is mentioned in St Matthew鈥檚 genealogy. Because of infidelity to the covenant, David鈥檚 royal line is dethroned at the time of the exile to Babylon and became shrouded in oblivion but the Prophet Isaiah prophesies that from the stump or root of Jesse a new twig will spring forth 鈥 a twig that becomes a branch for all the nations. It is clear that the prophet is speaking of the Messiah.Reflecting on this antiphon and Chapter 11 and 12 of Isaiah brings us hope in our present situation in the Irish Church. Throughout history we have ample proof and documentation of the sinful and evil lives of clerical and lay members of Christ鈥檚 Church 鈥 we have all sinned and fallen short, have betrayed our God in whom we profess our faith and our fellow pilgrims to whom we owe love and respect. Yet the Church (Christ鈥檚 Mystical Body) never ceases to renew itself through the power of the Holy Spirit. Jesus鈥 promise – to be with His people always until the end of time – gives us hope and quiet confidence even in the midst of our present pain and bewilderment. It is the responsibility of each of us to live as He taught us while we pray that from the ashes of our […]

By |December 19th, 2009|Liturgy|1 Comment

18th December – O Adonai

O Adonai and leader of Israel, you appeared to Moses in the burning bush and you gave him the Law on Sinai. O come and save us with your outstretched arm.This is a prayer made from a truly humble and trusting heart – one 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 the Scriptures and must surely touch us deeply. We read in Psalm 97 鈥淗is right hand and His holy arm have brought salvation鈥漈here is something comforting in an arm outstretched towards us 鈥 we feel needed and loved which 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 up the child to give it a hug.When we return from a journey, after a long absence, what a joy it is to be welcomed at the airport or railway station by a loved one running to meet us with outstretched arms. It cannot be less with our Heavenly Father 鈥 He is always and everywhere stretching out His arms to welcome us and to save us. We have only to think of the parable in St Luke鈥檚 Gospel where the father runs with outstretched arms to meet his prodigal son. The Gospels are full of occasions where Jesus stretches out His arms to bring healing, life and salvation by His divine touch. How moving it is to meditate on His warm embrace of little children.During this Advent season, as we prepare to celebrate our Saviour’s birth, we are surely filled […]

By |December 18th, 2009|Liturgy|0 Comments

Preparing for Christmas

Although the Novena for Christmas began yesterday, according to the liturgy the immediate preparation for Christmas begins today the 17th December.The Daily Office begins with the invitatory antiphon: “The Lord is at hand: come let us adore Him” which is re-echoes in the Benedictus antiphon: “Know that the kingdom of God is at hand; be sure that he will not delay”At Vespers today and during the coming days we sing the great ‘O Antiphons’ – each antiphon begins by addressing Christ the Word Incarnate by a messianic title – remembering God’s presence and promises throughout the Old Testament the Church prays that He may come to save His people now. In our community we usually sing these antiphons in Gregorian chant as the music expresses very beautifully the prayer and cry of the human heart to its Creator.We hope to post here a short reflection on each of these ‘O Antiphons’ in the coming days.O WISDOMO 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 and teach us the way of truthWe are immediately reminded of the wonderful passages in the Old Testament which speak of Wisdom 鈥 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 鈥渆ver at play in His Presence and delighting to be with the children of men.鈥漈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 […]

By |December 16th, 2009|Liturgy|0 Comments

Third Sunday of Advent

This 3rd Sunday of Advent is traditionally known as Gaudete Sunday – The Latin word ‘Gaudete’ means rejoice! On the Advent wreath the pink candle is lit – there is an air of expectancy that the Lord’s coming is near.The entrance antiphon for the Mass of this Sunday invites us: Rejoice in the Lord always; again I say, rejoice! The Lord is near. 1st Reading – Zephaniah 3:14-18Responsorial Psalm: Isaias 12:2-62nd Reading Philippians 4:4-7Gospel: Luke10-18Each week we, as a community share our reflections on the Sunday Mass Readings – having spent the whole week prayerfully reflecting on them during lectio divina – here we share two reflections from this evening:Reflection 1Last week John the Baptist had “proclaimed a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” – This week we meet John again in the Gospel. Today there is a feeling of expectancy in the air as the people approach John and ask what they must do? nobody is excluded – all are invited to repent and to show their repentance by their lives i.e. share with the needy, act justly, no imtimidation, be content with our lot etc. John points beyond himself to Jesus who is coming with His “winnowing-fan in his hand to clear his treshing-floor”. When reflecting on these lines of the Gospel I was led to see my own heart as the ‘threshing-floor’ and the ‘winnowing-fan’ as the loving breath of the Holy Spirit. God stands at the door of my heart during these last days of Advent and waits for my reponse as He waited for Mary of Nazareth’s reponse for His Word to take flesh in her womb. Mary’s reponse […]

By |December 11th, 2009|Liturgy|0 Comments

Second Week of Advent

The readings for this Sunday are full of hope and enouragement – as we all know, we, Irish people are greatly in need of such hope in our present crises. One can almost feel that these readings were selected specially for us!!! The entrance antiphon which we sing in our community for the Mass of this Second Sunday of Advent expresses very well these sentiments of hope which God’s loving providence provides:People of Zion, the Lord will come to save all nations, and your hearts will exult to hear his majestic voice. The people of God will sing songs of joy, like songs in the night. They will have gladness of heart. People of Sion the Lord will come to save all nations and your hearts will exult to hear his majestic voice. On every high mountain streams will flow and there will be light – as you are healed by the Lord. Yes on every high mountain, streams will flow and there will be joy, for your are loved by the Lord In the Gospel this Majestic voice – the Word of God – came to John the Baptist in the wilderness. So too with us God’s word comes to us in the wilderness – in the ordinariness, of our own lives and in bewildering circumstances – if only we have an open ear and an open heart to listen and hear His message. John’s message of repentance for the forgiveness of sins is one of hope. No matter how far we may have strayed from God, He is always there at our side – for we cannot escape His all seeing eye – waiting for us […]

By |December 5th, 2009|Liturgy|0 Comments

ADVENT

Advent is one of the most beautiful seasons of the Church’s year. On this first Sunday of Advent we are united with the whole Church throughout the world in praying and longing for the coming of the Lord. We are familiar with the cry of the Prophet Isaias: O that you would tear the heavens open and come down – you are our Father – we the clay, you the potter; we are all the work of Your HandIndeed for over a week now we have seen the heavens open and torrents of rain descend on many parts of our country. Those of us who go to daily Mass have been listening to the readings describing the horrors of the end times. In addition we have been all shocked, saddened and bewildered by the revelations of scandals in our Irish Church. No doubt we carry all this pain, anxiety and bewilderment in our hearts as we begin this season of Advent – which is a season of Hope as the Entrance Antiphon of the Mass for the first Sunday expresses so beautifully:To you, my God, I lift my soul, I trust in you; let me never come to shame. Do not let my enemies laugh at me. No one who waits for you is ever put to shame.In the Gospel Jesus warns us about “signs in the sun and moon and stars…. nations in agony, bewildered…… men dying of fear….for the powers of heaven will be shaken” but He does not leave us without hope for He adds that it is then that the Son of Man will come. He advises us: “When these things […]

By |November 28th, 2009|Prayer|0 Comments