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Monday, Fourth Week of Advent (O King of the Gentiles)

December 22, 2014


Blessed Monday!

O King of the Gentiles
And their desired One
Cornerstone who binds two into one
Come and save man
Whom You fashioned from the slime of the earth

Isaiah 2:4
And he shall judge the Gentiles,
and rebuke many people
(see also Psalm 2:7-8, Ephesians 2:11-13, 20-21, Genesis 2:7)

Entrance Antiphon:
Drop down dew from above, you heavens,
and let the clouds rain down the Just One;
let the earth be opened and bring forth a Savior

O God, who, seeing the human race fallen into death,
willed to redeem it by the coming of Your Only Begotten Son,
grant, we pray,
that those who confess His Incarnation with humble fervor
may merit His company as their Redeemer.
Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

I Samuel 1:24-28 (as soon as he’s weaned, Hannah brings Samuel to the temple to give him to God)
I Samuel 2:1, 4-8 (Hannah’s song) “My heart rejoices in the Lord, my Savior”
+ Luke 1:46-56 (Mary’s Magnificat)

I glory
in my nothingness.
It is the trait
God uses best
to bring about His will.

I keep no prize
or treasure
for myself.

It’s all for Him.

I’m satisfied
to carry home
the joy.

Do I rejoice in my accomplishments rather than in God, Who accomplished them in me?
Do I treasure Him more than His gifts?

Fourth Sunday of Advent (O Rising Dawn)

December 21, 2014


Blessed Sunday!

O Rising Dawn,
Splendor of eternal light
And Sun of justice
Come to give light to those sitting in darkness
And in the shadow of death

Revelation 22:16:
“I, Jesus, have sent My angel to testify to you these things concerning the churches.
I am the root and the offspring of David, the bright morning star.”
(see also Isaiah 9:1, John 8:12 & 12:46, Psalm 19:6-7)

Today we get to celebrate the Golden Mass!
Once celebrated on Advent’s Ember Wednesday,
it now only comes around every third year,
on the fourth Sunday of Advent, Cycle B.

This Mass celebrates the golden mystery of our faith:
the Incarnation,
when Heaven was first wedded to earth
in the womb of the Blessed Virgin Mary.

In medieval times, the first letters of this Mass were written in gold
–sometimes the entire Mass–
and golden vestments were worn.

This ancient liturgy was also the origin of the Angelus,
the prayer of the Annunciation prayed morning, noon and night:

The Angelus

V: The angel of the Lord declared unto Mary
R: And she conceived by the Holy Spirit
Hail Mary…

V: Behold the handmaid of the Lord
R: Be it done unto me according to Thy word
Hail Mary…

V: And the Word became flesh
R: And dwelt among us
Hail Mary…

V: Pray for us, O holy Mother of God
R: That we may be made worthy of the promises of Christ

Let us pray: Pour forth, we beseech Thee O Lord, thy grace into our hearts,
that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ thy Son
was made known by the message of an angel
may, by His Passion and Cross,
come to share in the glory of His resurrection.
Through this same Christ, our Lord. Amen.

(Note the similarity with the Collect from Mass)

Come, let us worship!

Entrance Antiphon:
Drop down dew from above, you heavens,
and let the clouds rain down the Just One;
let the earth be opened and bring forth a Savior

Pour forth, we beseech You, O Lord,
Your grace into our hearts,
that we, to whom the Incarnation of Christ Your Son
was made known by the message of an Angel,
may, by His Passion and Cross
be brought to the glory of His Resurrection.
Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

II Samuel 7:1-5, 8-12, 14, 16 (God will establish David’s kingdom forever)
Psalm 89 “Forever I will sing the goodness of the Lord”
Romans 16:25-27 (Jesus is the mystery hidden for many ages, but now revealed to us)
+ Luke 1:26-38 (the Annunciation)

King David
had a heart
for the magnificent.
He yearned
to do great things
for God.

He overlooked
the greatest thing,
the privilege
God wanted:
to make something great
of him.

The virgin
had a clearer eye.
She laid her life
wide open
to the workmanship
of God.
Her soul
doth magnify
the Lord.

The glory of God
is man fully alive
-St. Irenaeus

Am I so focused on doing things for God that I neglect what He’s trying to do in me?
When all is said and done, what in my life will last?

Saturday, Third week of Advent (O Key of David)

December 20, 2014


Blessed Ember Saturday!

O Key of David
And Scepter of the house of Israel
What You open, no one shuts
What You shut, no one opens
Come, deliver from the chains of prison
Those who sit in darkness
and in the shadow of death

Isaiah 22:22:
And I will lay the key of the house of David upon his shoulder:
and he shall open, and none shall shut:
and he shall shut, and none shall open.
(see also Isaiah 9:6, 42:7, Revelation 3:7)

Entrance Antiphon:
A branch shall sprout from the root of Jesse,
and the glory of the Lord will fill the whole earth,
and all flesh will see the salvation of God.

O God, eternal majesty, whose ineffable Word
the immaculate Virgin received through the message of an Angel
and so became the dwelling-place of divinity,
filled with the light of the Holy Spirit,
grant, we pray, that by her example
we may in humility hold fast to Your will.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Readings: Isaiah 7:10-14 (a virgin shall bear a son and name him Emmanuel)
Psalm 24:1-6 “Let the Lord enter; He is King of Glory”
+ Luke 1:26-38 (the Annunciation)

Our Lady
doesn’t veil herself
in false humility.

She brings her trouble
to the Lord
with willingness
to sacrifice,
with openness
of heart
to His reply.

We have
a lot to learn
from her.

Do I mask my rebellion in a show of piety, like King Ahaz?
Am I vulnerable with God, as Mary is?

Friday, Third week of Advent (O Root of Jesse)

December 19, 2014


Blessed Ember Friday!

O Root of Jesse
Who stands as a sign for the people,
Before Whom kings silence their mouths,
With Whom all nations shall plead
Come to set us free without delay

Isaiah 11:10:
In that day the root of Jesse, set up as a signal for the nations,
the Gentiles shall seek out, for his dwelling shall be glorious.

Jesse was the father of King David (see Ruth 4:17, among others),
the “root”, of David’s dynasty, which God promised would last forever (I Chronicles 17:11-14).
Since the world will come to an end, only Jesus could fulfill this promise;
Jesus, the Son of David who is King forever.
(see also Isaiah 11:1, Micah 5:1, Romans 15:12, Revelation 5:5 & 22:16)

Entrance Antiphon:
He Who is to come will come and will not delay,
and now there will be no fear within our land, for He is our Savior.

O God, who through the child-bearing of the holy Virgin
graciously revealed the radiance of Your glory to the world,
grant, we pray,
that we may venerate with integrity of faith
the mystery of so wondrous an Incarnation
and always celebrate it with due reverence.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Your Son,
who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Judges 13:2-7, 24-25 (announcement of the conception of Samson)
Psalm 71:3-6, 16-17 “Fill me with Your praise and I will sing Your glory!”
Luke 1:5-25 (announcement of the conception of St. John the Baptist)

the Lord makes clear
that it is He
who fills the womb,
when years of barrenness
drive home

He has our
full attention

We’re more receptive
to His right
to claim the child
–that comes from Him–
to be the dwelling
of the rushing, mighty Wind.

Do I see every child as a miracle?
Do I surrender to God’s right to claim His children for His service?

Thursday, Third Week of Advent (O Lord of Lords)

December 18, 2014


Blessed Thursday!

O Lord of Lords
And Leader of the house of Israel
Who appeared to Moses in the bush’s flaming fire,
And gave to him the Law of Sinai
Come stretch out Your mighty hand to set us free

Revelation 17:14:
They will fight against the Lamb but the Lamb will conquer them,
for He is the Lord of Lords
(see also Isaiah 11:4-5, 33:22, Genesis 3, Exodus 3, Exodus 19-20,
Deuteronomy 10:17, I Timothy 6:16, Psalm 136:3, Micah 5:2, Matthew 2:6)

Entrance Antiphon:
Christ our King is coming,
He is the Lamb foretold by John.

Grant, we pray, Almighty God,
that we, who are weighted down from of old
by slavery beneath the yoke of sin,
may be set free by the newness
of the long-awaited Nativity
of Your Only-Begotten Son.
Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Jeremiah 23:5-8 (God will raise a righteous shoot to David to save His people)
Psalm 72: 1-2, 12-13, 18-19 “Justice shall flourish in His time, and fullness of peace forever”
+ Matthew 1:18-25 (an angel tells Joseph to take Mary as his wife, and he obeys)

Fear not,
O Joseph,
son of David,
you shall raise the shoot
that God has promised
for the governance
of man.

A scepter shall rise
out of Israel
~Numbers 24:17

From His verdict
grows security;
His righteousness
protects us.
He draws us
out of hiding*
into peace.

What parts of my heart are in hiding?
What would it take for me to open those areas to the truths that bring peace?

*The Hebrew for “north” comes from a root meaning “hidden”

Wednesday, Third week of Advent (O Antiphons, O Wisdom)

December 17, 2014


 Blessed Ember Wednesday!

The traditional Mass for Advent’s Ember Wednesday is also called the “Golden Mass”.
In medieval times, the first letters of this Mass were written in gold
-sometimes the entire Mass–
and golden vestments were worn,
because the focus was on the golden mystery of our faith:
the Annunciation, when God first became Man in Mary’s womb.
The Golden Mass was held in early morning darkness,
lit by the golden glow of candlelight,
as we celebrated the entrance of the Light of the World into our darkness.
When the lectionary was revised,
this Gospel was transferred to the 4th Sunday of Advent for Year B–-this year!
Today’s first reading, however, does hearken back to the Introit of the Golden Mass.

May your prayer and sacrifices during these Ember Days
bless and sanctify the winter season for you and for the whole world.

Today, we also begin a period called the “golden nights”, the final count-down to Christmas,
during which we pray the O Antiphons–they all begin with “O” and are antiphons (responses)
to the Magnificat (Mary’s song of praise: Luke 1:46-55).
These antiphons were originally composed at least 1000 years ago
for use during Evening Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours,
the prayer that priests and Religious promise to pray every day
(laypeople are encouraged to pray it too).
These antiphons are also used as the Alleluia verse during Mass during these count-down days.
In the O Antiphons we call Jesus by titles given to Him in the prophesies of Isaiah
and plead with Him to come and save us.

In Latin, the initials of the titles of Jesus used in the O Antiphons,
when read backwards, form an acrostic for the Latin “Ero Cras” which means “Tomorrow I come”
(which will be true the night before Christmas Eve, when we will have prayed all of these antiphons).
These titles for Christ are:
Sapientia (Wisdom),
Adonai (Lord),
Radix Jesse (Root of Jesse),
Clavis David (Key of David),
Oriens (Morning Star),
Rex Gentium (King of the Gentiles),
Emmanuel (God-With-Us).

These antiphons are also found in the song, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”.

In the home, the O Antiphons could be prayed together around the Advent wreath
when you light the candles (if you don’t have an Advent wreath,
lighting any candle while you pray helps set the atmosphere).
For a longer prayer, you could pray the O Antiphon before and after the Magnificat,
the way it’s prayed during Evening Prayer.
You could also make symbols for the antiphons to use in decorating
(oil lamp, burning bush, key, stump with shoot, rising sun, etc.)

Here’s today’s antiphon:

O Wisdom
Who issued from the mouth of the Most High,
Reaching out mightily from end to end,
And ordering all things tenderly
Come to teach us the way of prudence.

Note the relationship with the following verses:

Isaiah 11:2-3:
And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him:
the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding,
the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude,
the spirit of knowledge, and of godliness.
And he shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord
(see also Isaiah 28:29, Sirach 24:2-3 & Wisdom 8:1.)

A shift in the readings of Advent begins today too.
From here on our Gospels will be dealing more directly with the events
immediately leading up to Jesus’ birth.

Entrance Antiphon:
Rejoice, O heavens, and exult, O earth,
for our Lord will come to show mercy to His poor

O God, Creator and Redeemer of human nature,
who willed that Your Word should take flesh
in an ever-virgin womb,
look with favor on our prayers,
that Your Only Begotten Son,
having taken to Himself our humanity,
may be pleased to grant us a share in His divinity.
Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Genesis 49:2, 8-10 (The scepter shall not depart from Judah)
Psalm 72: 3-4, 7-8, 17 “Justice shall flourish in His time and fullness of peace forever”
+ Matthew 1:1-17 (genealogy of Jesus)

This root is planted deep
in human history.
It touches the beginning
and the end.

It spans the epochs,
rising, falling,
hanging on
by just a thread
and waxing strong,
the evil
and the good
in bringing forth
the reign
of peace.

Lord, plant Your root
deep in my history,
my rising, falling,
my evil,
and my good,
redeeming all,
and ruling all
unto your perfect praise.

Do I lay all my ways open to Him?
Is He King of all of me?

Tuesday, Third Week of Advent

December 16, 2014


Blessed Tuesday!

Entrance Antiphon:
Behold, the Lord will come, and all His holy ones with Him;
and on that day there will be a great light.

O God, who through your Only Begotten Son
have made us a new creation,
look kindly, we pray,
on the handiwork of your mercy,
and at your Son’s coming
cleanse us from every stain of the old way of life.
Through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son,
who lives and reigns with you in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.

Zephaniah 3: 1-2, 9-13 (God will leave a humble, holy remnant in Israel)
Psalm 34: 2-3, 6-7, 17-19, 23 “The Lord hears the cry of the poor”
+ Matthew 21:28-32 (God’s looking for changed lives)

If we don’t fly to God
for refuge
there’s no refuge to be had.

We will fall prey
to our own evil ways.

He must correct us.
We must change.
Or there’s no hope at all.
Our pride must fall
and we must call
on Him.

But when we do,
He raises us
removing all our shame
so that our faces beam
with joy.

Where am I trying to find refuge?
Do I ask God to help me recognize my sins and correct them?


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