Tag Archives: Advent

O Antiphon: O Emmanuel

Mystical Nativity SBotticelli.jpgO Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster, exspectatio
Gentium, et Salvator earum: veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus noster.


O
Emmanuel, God with us, our King and Lawgiver, the expected of the nations and
their Savior: Come to save us, O Lord our God (Is 7:14; 33:22).

All is fulfilled now in Jesus. In the previous days you would have noticed the Messiah as he was expected in the Scriptures. Today, we address Jesus with the title given by God, Emmanuel –“God with us.”

The promise of God the Father pitching His among us is known so clearly in the Incarnation of the Word. This antiphon is the climax of all expectations for a Savior who ushers in a new time in history where everything, everything is reversed (see the Prophet Isaiah). “The very term Emmanuel, God with us, reveals the kindly, human heart of Jesus –He wants to be one of us, a Child of man, with all our human weakness and suffering; He wants to experience how hard it is to be man. He wants to remain with us to the end, He wants to dwell within us, He wants to make us share His nature” (Pius Parsch). Come, Lord, Jesus.

O Antiphon: O King

King David Fra Angelico.jpgO Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum, lapisque
angularis, qui facis utraque unum: veni, et salva hominem, quem de limo
formasti.


O King of the Gentiles and their desired One, the Cornerstone that
makes both one: Come, and deliver man, whom You formed out of the dust of the
earth (Is 9:7; 2;4; Ps 2:7-8, Eph 2:14-20).

Considering Pius Parsch’s reflections, “The antiphon should provoke enthusiasm for the conversion of pagans. Try to realize how ardently Christ desires that we carry the gospel to non-Catholics [and today even to Catholics poorly catechized]; to all of us, directly or indirectly, His apostolic commission is addressed. Each one of us can at least pray for the conversion of those still ignorant of Christ.”

In Jesus, the unity of believers, Jew and Gentile, is known. He’s spoken of as the cornerstone: the peacemaker where as Saint Paul said “There is neither Jew nor Greek; neither slave nor free person, there is neither male nor female. For you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Gal 3:29).

In Saint Joseph we look to the future with confidence & courage, total trust in God’s mercy, Pope says

St Joseph & Jesus.jpgIn the Season of Advent there are so many people to emulate: Jesus, Mary, the martyrs, various other saints, and Joseph in particular. Saint Joseph factors into Catholicism so much that one can reasonably ask, Can any good Catholic not pay attention to Saint Joseph? Obviously not. I took as my oblation name with the Benedictine oblates “Meinrad-Joseph” primarily because of the virtues of Saint Meinrad and for the devotion shown by Joseph for Jesus; in taking the name Meinrad-Joseph I honor my father, Edward Joseph.

The Pope spoke on Sunday at the Angelus on the great foster father of Jesus and the patron saint against doubt, cabinetmakers, Canada, carpenters, China, confectioners, craftsmen, dying people, engineers, families, fathers, happy death, holy death, house hunters, Korea, laborers, Mexico, New France, people in doubt, Peru, pioneers, protector of the Church, social justice, travelers, Universal Church, Vatican II, Viet Nam, workers, working people. AND now the Pope adds pastors to this list under Saint Joseph’s care.

At Sunday’s Angelus Pope Benedict XVI had this to say about Saint Joseph:

On this fourth Sunday of Advent the Gospel of St. Matthew tells us how the birth of Jesus came about, taking the perspective of St. Joseph. He was the betrothed of Mary, who, “before they lived together, was found to be with child by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Matthew 1:18). The Son of God, realizing an ancient prophecy (cf. Isaiah 7:14), became man in the womb of a virgin, and such a mystery simultaneously manifests the love, wisdom and power of God on behalf of humanity wounded by sin. St. Joseph is presented as a “just man” (Matthew 1:19), faithful to God’s law, ready to do his will. On account of this he enters into the mystery of the Incarnation after an angel of the Lord appears to him in a dream and tells him: “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife with you. In fact the child that has been conceived in her comes from the Holy Spirit; she will give birth to a son and you will call him Jesus: he in fact will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:20-21). Forgetting the thought of repudiating Mary in secret, he takes her in because his eyes now see the work of God in her.

St. Ambrose comments that “in Joseph there was amiability and the figure of a just man to make the quality of his witness more worthy” (Exp. Ev. sec. Lucam II, 5: CCL 14,32-33). “He,” Ambrose continues, “could not have contaminated the temple of the Holy Spirit, the Mother of the Lord, the fruitful womb of the mystery” (ibid. II, 6: CCL 14, 33). Although he had been concerned, Joseph “did as the angel of the Lord ordered him,” certain of doing the right thing. Also giving the name “Jesus” to that child who rules the entire universe, he enters into the ranks of the faithful and humble servants, like the angels and prophets, like the martyrs and the apostles — in the words of ancient eastern hymns. St. Joseph proclaims the wonders of the Lord, witnessing Mary’s virginity, the gratuitous deed of God, and caring for the earthly life of the Messiah. So, we venerate the legal father of Jesus (Code of Canon Law, 532), because the new man takes form in him, who looks to the future with confidence and courage, does not follow his own project, but entrusts himself totally to the infinite mercy of him who fulfills the prophecies and inaugurates the season of salvation.

Dear friends, to St. Joseph, universal patron of the Church, I would like to entrust all pastors, exhorting them to offer “to faithful Christians and the whole world the humble and daily proposal of the words of Christ” (Letter Proclaiming the Year for Priests). May our life be evermore conformed to the person of Jesus, precisely because “the one who is himself the Word takes on a body, he comes from God as a man and draws the whole of man’s being to himself, bearing it into the Word of God” (Jesus of Nazareth, San Francisco, 2008, 334). Let us invoke the Virgin Mary with confidence, the one who is full of grace, “adorned by God,” so that at Christmas, which is already near, our eyes may open and see Jesus, and the heart rejoice in this wondrous encounter of love.

O Antiphon: O Dawn of the East (Dayspring)

Christ in the Carpenter GLaTour.jpgO Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae: veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

O Dawn of the East, brightness of the light eternal, and Sun of Justice: Come, and enlighten them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. Psalm 19:6-7.  (Ps 19:6-7; Is 9:2).

Lost on us today by-and-large is the cosmological connections with Jesus as not only Son of God but also the Sun of Justice. Often I say that salvation comes from the East, the where we see the Rising Sun. This is not unique to me: the our parents in the Faith in Jesus knew this intimately because of their connection with the land, and the heavens. No doubt that today the Church gives us this antiphon on the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year. Astronomically we, as Catholics, are aware that God works in and through creation. Architecturely, Christians in Rome built churches that accounted for the sun with not only its usefulness in growing vegetables but energy and light, taking up the ancient liturgical (theological) metaphor noted in today’s antiphon: Christ is the Dayspring, the Dawn of the East. Christ is Light from Light, as stated in the Creed. Those who pray the Divine Office will recall that in the Canticle of Zachary –the Benedictus– pray the words of St Luke: “the Dawn from on high”; He will give light to those who live in darkness, those who dwell in the shadow of death.

It is only Jesus who dispels the darkness of the world (temporally) and mystically (spiritually). And that’s why we face East in the sacred Liturgy, and that is why the priest ought to face East when praying the Mass. 

O Antiphon: O Key of David

Nativity detail GDavid.jpgO Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel; qui aperis,
et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperit: veni, et educ vinctum de domo
carceris, sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.


O Key of David and Sceptre of
the House of Israel, who opens and no one can shut, who shuts and no one can open
(Is 22:22; Rev 3:7): Come and bring the prisoners forth from the prison cell, those
who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death (Is 42:7; Ps 106:13-14; Lk 1:9)

For Jews reading (hearing) this will notice that Jesus makes the claim that he is God, precisely for us, the Son of God, the Second Person of the Most Blessed Trinity. The image of the “Key of David” is a clear indication of God and His holy name. As Pius Parsch reminds us, “It should, then, be perfectly obvious that Christ is the “Key of David,” i.e., the One who opens all the secrets and mysteries of the Old Testament. The sceptre implies a true fullness of power over God’s kingdom.”

About the author

Paul A. Zalonski is from New Haven, CT. He is a member of the Fraternity of Communion and Liberation, a Catholic ecclesial movement, and an Oblate of Saint Benedict. Contact Paul at paulzalonski[at]yahoo.com.
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