A reflection given by one of our sisters on today’s Magnificat Antiphon, which invokes Christ as Key of David. (If you prefer to listen, click the ‘play’ button in the box below).

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O Key of David.

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.

                                                                                                                Translation from the Breviary.

Reflecting on this fourth ‘O Antiphon’ in the light of the Gospel of today from St. Luke, Chapter one, our hearts  are drawn to concentrate on the Presence of God in our lives, Emmanuel – God is with us.  Earlier on in this first chapter, we are told –the angel Gabriel appeared to Zachary in the Temple and introduced himself in these words:   ‘my name is Gabriel and I stand in the presence of God’no wonder the angel Gabriel needed to re-assure Zachary‘do not be afraid’!  When Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God, appeared to Mary six months later, St. Luke emphasises into her presence the angel came. Bending low in reverence before her, the angel announced the news of the Incarnation  – Jesus our Saviour, the Key of David, was to be born of her. This most precious scene which St. Luke writes of has been exquisitely portrayed by our well loved brother, Blessed Fra Angelico, O.P. and is worthy of a life-long depth of prayerful contemplation – the angel Gabriel who stands in the presence of God, now bending low in the presence of Mary, as he brings her the news of the Incarnation.

As we pray in our O Antiphon – ‘O Key of David, come and close the path to misery’, or as another translation expresses it, ‘come and lead the captive free from prison, free those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death’ – we reflect that a key both opens and closes a locked door – what is it that keeps our hearts and lives imprisoned and locked up – what door needs to be unlocked to free us to live peacefully and trustfully in the Presence of God in the midst of all the daily upsets that can occur, and all the noise and turmoil of today’s world?  Very often, it is FEAR in one of its many forms, that keeps our hearts and indeed, our whole being tightly locked up – it can be some form of insecurity and a lack of confidence in ourselves, some deep hurt from the past that we hold on to that imprisons us, or some deep inner pain from a past experience such as bullying by another, it can be envy or selfishness, or pride, the list is endless

In praying this Antiphon with total trust, we are calling on Christ, the Key of David, to help us become preoccupied with him and thus win the victory over whatever it is that imprisons us and keeps us tightly locked up, because as the Prophet told us long ago:– ‘the Virgin is with Child and he will be called Emmanuel – a name which means God is with us’!

‘O Key of David we thank you for the wonder of our being and the miracle of your presence in us  (cf.Ps.137), unlock the door that keeps us bound – make safe the way that leads on high and close the path to misery, open wide our heavenly home’  Amen.