Category Archives: Liturgy of the Hours/Christian Prayer

O Adonai

 

The prophet Isaiah
(Is 11:4-5; 33:22)

Latin:
O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel,
qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
et ei in Sina legem dedisti:
veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

English:
O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,
who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
and gave him the law on Sinai:
Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.

O Sapientia

Latin:
O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem,
fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia:
veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.

English:
O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from one end to the other mightily,
and sweetly ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence.

The O Antiphons are antiphons used at daily prayer in the evenings of the last days of Advent in various liturgical Christian traditions.

Each antiphon is a name of Christ, one of his attributes mentioned in Scripture. They are:

December 17: O Sapientia (O Wisdom)
December 18: O Adonai (O Adonai)
December 19: O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)
December 20: O Clavis David (O Key of David)
December 21: O Oriens (O Morning Star)
December 22: O Rex Gentium (O King of the nations)
December 23: O Emmanuel (O Emmanuel)

In the Roman Catholic tradition, the O Antiphons are sung or recited at Vespers from December 17 to December 23 inclusive.

The hymn O come, O come, Emmanuel (in Latin, Veni Emmanuel) is a lyrical paraphrase of these antiphons in reverse order.

The exact origin of the “O Antiphons” is not known. Boethius (480–524/5) made a slight reference to them, thereby suggesting their presence at that time. At the Benedictine Saint Benedict Abbey of Fleury (now Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire), these antiphons were recited by the abbot and other abbey leaders in descending rank, and then a gift was given to each member of the community. By the eighth century, they were in use in the liturgical celebrations in Rome. The usage of the “O Antiphons” was so prevalent in monasteries that the phrases “Keep your O” and “The Great O Antiphons” were common parlance. One may thereby conclude that in some fashion the “O Antiphons” have been part of Western liturgical tradition since the very early Church.

The Benedictine monks arranged these antiphons with a definite purpose. If one starts with the last title and takes the first letter of each one—Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia—the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, “Tomorrow, I will come”. Therefore Jesus, whose coming Christians have prepared for in Advent and whom they have addressed in these seven Messianic titles, now speaks to them: “Tomorrow, I will come.” So the “O Antiphons” not only bring intensity to their Advent preparation, but bring it to a joyful conclusion.

And… On the day of Wisdom, Jennie was born! 🙂

The Five Paths of Repentance

From the Office of Readings for today:

St. John Chrysostom on the Temptations of the Devil (from Universalis)

Shall I list the paths of repentance? There are certainly many of them, many and various, and all of them lead to heaven.

The first path is the path of condemnation of sins. As Isaiah says, Tell your sins, and you will be acquitted. And the Psalmist adds: I said “I will bear witness against myself before the Lord,” and you forgave the guilt of my sin. So you, too must condemn the sins you have committed. Condemn them, and that condemnation will excuse you in front of the Lord, since whoever condemns the sins he has committed will be slower to commit them next time. Stir up your own conscience to be your accuser – so that when you come before the judgement-seat of the Lord no-one will be rise up to accuse you.

This is the first path of repentance but the second is in no way inferior to it in excellence. It is to forget the harm done to us by our enemies, to master our anger, to forgive the sins of those who are slaves together with us. As much as we do this, so much will our own sins against the Lord be forgiven. So this is the second path to the expiation of our sins. As the Lord says, Yes, if you forgive others their failings, your heavenly Father will forgive you yours.

Would you like to know the third path of repentance? It is prayer: fervent prayer, sincere and focused prayer, prayer coming from the depths of the heart.

If you want to know the fourth path, I will tell you it is the giving of alms. It has great power.

And finally, if someone acts with modesty and humility, that path is no less effective as a way to deprive sin of its substance. Look at the publican, who had no good deeds to speak of. In place of good deeds he offered humility, and the huge burden of his sins fell away.

So now I have shown you the five paths of repentance. First, condemnation of sins. Second, forgiving the sins of those near us. Third, prayer. Fourth, almsgiving. Fifth, humility.

So do not be idle, but every day advance along all these paths at once. They are not hard paths to follow. Poverty is no excuse for not setting out on the journey. Even if you are destitute you can do all these things: put aside anger, carry humility in front of you, pray hard, condemn your sins. Poverty is no obstacle – not even to that path of penitence that demands money: that is, almsgiving. Remember the story of the widow’s mite.

Now we have learnt the right way to heal our wounds, let us apply these remedies. Let us regain true health and confidently receive the blessings of Holy Communion. Thus we may come, filled with glory, to the glory of Christ’s kingdom, and receive its eternal joys through the grace, mercy and kindness of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Quite the Day for Education!

Here are our saints of the day, as presented by Universalis (which is a great site for Liturgy of the Hours):

Saint Louis (1214 – 1270)
He became King of France (as Louis IX) at the age of 12. He was married and had eleven children, to whom he gave an excellent upbringing. He was noted for his spirit of prayer and penitence and for his love for the poor. He ran his kingdom not only to give peace to the people and economic stability but also for their spiritual good. He founded the Sorbonne and was a friend of St Thomas Aquinas. He was trusted by his fellow-rulers in Europe and often asked to arbitrate in their disputes. He undertook two unsuccessful crusades to liberate Christ’s burial-place and on the second of these he died, near Carthage, in the year 1270.

Saint Joseph of Calasanz (1557 – 1648)
He was born in Aragón, received an excellent education and was ordained priest. After working in his own country for some time he went to Rome, where he worked for the education of the poor and founded a religious congregation for that purpose. His idea was that every child should receive an education. As one might expect, he was the object of much envy and calumny. He died in Rome in 1648.

Of the two of these, I felt the strongest attraction today to St. Louis — perhaps because I am French. 🙂 You would think that it would have been the priest, with my vocation and the fact that it is the Year of the Priest, but no. However, Fr. Acervo spoke briefly this morning at Mass about St. Joseph. 🙂

I wonder if it is coincidence or planned that these two saints fall on the same day, and that both are known for how they educated others.

In other educational news, I start classes again at Seminary in 2 weeks! 🙂 Yay!

St. Jerome on Psalm 41, from the Liturgy of the Hours

So then, you who have followed our lead and robed yourselves in Christ, let the words of God lift you out of this turbulent age as a net lifts the little fishes out of the water. In us the laws of nature are turned upside down – for fish, taken out of the water, die; but the Apostles have fished us out of the sea that is this world not to kill us but to bring us from death to life. As long as we were in the world, our eyes were peering into the depths and we led our lives in the mud. Now we have been torn from the waves, we begin to see the true light. Moved by overwhelming joy, we say to our souls: Put your hope in the Lord, I will praise him still, my saviour and my God.

Prayer of the Day

I’m probably going to end up repeating myself a lot on this blog, but praying the Liturgy of the Hours/Christian Prayer really gets me sometimes — and I just have to share! 🙂

To you, Lord, we lift up our souls; rescue us, do not let us be put to shame for calling out to you. Do not remember the sins of our youth and stupidity, but remember us with your love.

This one seems particularly fitting for Reconciliation.

Daytime Prayer – A Short Reflection

Today, during Daytime Prayer (assuming I’m not screwing it all up, not having my official training until the end of the month and all…), I was reading Psalm 13. There was this one line in it:

Give light to my eyes lest I fall asleep in death,

which I thought was rather significant. Christ being our light, our truth and our way; by giving us “light to our eyes,” He is showing us the way home to the Father — the path which we must all walk, “lest I fall asleep in death,” which of course is not mere death, but eternal estrangement from God.

We were just talking yesterday in Bible study how it is much better to pray for wisdom and “sight,” than for material possessions or money. Money and ease of financial concerns can affect some aspects of this life, but not those parts which truly matter. Why should I be so concerned about comfort here, when I should be concerned with the state of my eternity. Why concern myself with the type, quality and quantity of things which I possess. I would rather count myself rich in the people I had an opportunity to love.

Such a Good Prayer for a Monday

God our Father,
work is your gift to us,
a call to reach new heights
by using our talents for the good of all.
Guide us as we work and teach us to live
in the spirit that has made us your sons and daughters,
in the love that has made us brothers and sisters.
Grant this through Christ our Lord.
Amen!

Office of the Readings

1 Thessalonians 4:1-18

Finally, brothers, we urge you and appeal to you in the Lord Jesus to make more and more progress in the kind of life that you are meant to live: the life that God wants, as you learnt from us, and as you are already living it. You have not forgotten the instructions we gave you on the authority of the Lord Jesus.
What God wants is for you all to be holy. He wants you to keep away from fornication, and each one of you to know how to use the body that belongs to him in a way that is holy and honourable, not giving way to selfish lust like the pagans who do not know God. He wants nobody at all ever to sin by taking advantage of a brother in these matters; the Lord always punishes sins of that sort, as we told you before and assured you. We have been called by God to be holy, not to be immoral; in other words, anyone who objects is not objecting to a human authority, but to God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.
As for loving our brothers, there is no need for anyone to write to you about that, since you have learnt from God yourselves to love one another, and in fact this is what you are doing with all the brothers throughout the whole of Macedonia. However, we do urge you, brothers, to go on making even greater progress and to make a point of living quietly, attending to your own business and earning your living, just as we told you to, so that you are seen to be respectable by those outside the Church, though you do not have to depend on them.
We want you to be quite certain, brothers, about those who have died, to make sure that you do not grieve about them, like the other people who have no hope. We believe that Jesus died and rose again, and that it will be the same for those who have died in Jesus: God will bring them with him. We can tell you this from the Lord’s own teaching, that any of us who are left alive until the Lord’s coming will not have any advantage over those who have died. At the trumpet of God, the voice of the archangel will call out the command and the Lord himself will come down from heaven; those who have died in Christ will be the first to rise, and then those of us who are still alive will be taken up in the clouds, together with them; to meet the Lord in the air. So we shall stay with the Lord for ever. With such thoughts as these you should comfort one another.

Commentary by Jaibee

From a letter to the Ephesians by Saint Ignatius of Antioch, bishop and martyr (from the readings of the Liturgy of the Hours):

Have faith in Christ, and love

Try to gather together more frequently to give thanks to God and to praise him. For when you come together frequently, Satan’s powers are undermined, (1) and the destruction he threatens is done away with in the unanimity of your faith. Nothing is better than peace, in which all warfare between heaven and earth is brought to an end.

None of this will escape you if you have perfect faith and love toward Jesus Christ. These are the beginning and the end of life: faith the beginning, love the end. (2) When these two are found together, there is God, and everything else concerning right living follows from them. No one professing faith sins; no one possessing love hates. “A tree is known by its fruit.” So those who profess to belong to Christ will be known by what they do. (3) For the work we are about is not a matter of words here and now, but depends on the power of faith and on being found faithful to the end.

It is better to remain silent and to be than to talk and not be. Teaching is good if the teacher also acts. Now there was one teacher who “spoke, and it was made,” and even what he did in silence is worthy of the Father. He who has the word of Jesus can truly listen also to his silence, in order to be perfect, that he may act through his speech and be known by his silence. (4) Nothing is hidden from the Lord, but even our secrets are close to him. Let us then do everything in the knowledge that he is dwelling within us so that we may be his temples and he may be God within us. (5) He is, and will reveal himself, in our sight, according to the love we bear him in holiness.

“Make no mistake,” my brothers: those who corrupt families “will not inherit the kingdom of God.” If those who do these things in accordance with the flesh have died, how much worse will it be if one corrupts through evil doctrine the faith of God for which Jesus was crucified. Such a person, because he is defiled, will depart into the unquenchable fire, as will any one who listens to him.

For the Lord received anointing on his head in order that he might breathe incorruptibility on the Church. Do not be anointed with the evil odour of the teachings of the prince of this world, do not let him lead you captive away from the life that is set before you. But why is it that we are not all wise when we have received the knowledge of God, which is Jesus Christ? Why do we perish in our stupidity, (6) not knowing the gift the Lord has truly sent us?

My spirit is given over to the humble service of the cross which is a stumbling block to unbelievers but to us salvation and eternal life.

(1) For me, I associate this with daily Mass. Daily reception of the Eucharist which gives us amazing power and grace to be not only what He wants us to be, but to be the man or woman we ourselves wish to be.
(2) Faith — even the size of a mustard seed; Love — conformity to God, who is love.
(3) We will not be saved by our works, but rather by our faith in God. As we trust only in Him, we grow in conformity to Him and thus more closely resemble that which is pure love. The more we allow ourselves to be filled with this pure love, the more our actions will demonstrate this; not out of pride or boasting, but from an interior conversion of heart.
(4) How often do we sin by the works of our tongue? Of what need do others have to know of our good deeds? To inflate our egos and to make a mockery of the humility to which we aspire?
(5) Live so as not to show others “me,” but to show “Him in me.”
(6) It is by listening to that evil doubt within us, the seed planted by the Evil One, that we are not strong enough or that maybe we don’t have all the answers and should get other opinions (opinions from the world, and not of God) instead of clinging to our own faith. Of course, we are not strong enough — but God is! If we but have faith in Him, there is no one who can take us from His hand!