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"Today the concept of truth is viewed with suspicion, because truth is identified with violence. Over history there have, unfortunately, been episodes when people sought to defend the truth with violence. But they are two contrasting realities. Truth cannot be imposed with means other than itself! Truth can only come with its own light. Yet, we need truth. ... Without truth we are blind in the world, we have no path to follow. The great gift of Christ was that He enabled us to see the face of God".Pope Benedict xvi, February 24th, 2012

The Church is ecumenical, catholic, God-human, ageless, and it is therefore a blasphemy—an unpardonable blasphemy against Christ and against the Holy Ghost—to turn the Church into a national institution, to narrow her down to petty, transient, time-bound aspirations and ways of doing things. Her purpose is beyond nationality, ecumenical, all-embracing: to unite all men in Christ, all without exception to nation or race or social strata. - St Justin Popovitch

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Monday, 18 December 2017

AWAITING CHRISTMAS: THE O ANTIPHONS


Monday, 18th December 2017

The second O Antiphon sung in keeping watch for the Lord’s Nativity:

O ADONAI [God of the covenant] and Ruler of the house of Israel, You appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush, and on Mt. Sinai gave him Your Law: COME, and redeem us with an outstretched arm!

The following commentary adapted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Fr Pius Parsch (The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 1959)

The Second Person of the Holy Trinity had an active part in creation, as was noted in yesterday’s “O.” Now the liturgy, seeing Christ in the perspective of divinity, finds Him active in the Old Testament. Christ was the “Covenant of God” of the Chosen People. He made a covenant with Noah, with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and with Moses; He was the ruler of the Jewish people through history; two of His many appearances are mentioned in tonight’s antiphon (the burning bush and the giving of the Law midst lightning and thunder). The petition associates the deliverance from Egypt with the world-wide redemption from the bondage of sin.

The “Exodus event” is one of the most important of all of salvation history. It began when God appeared to Moses in the burning bush, commissioning him to lead the Chosen People. This climaxed in the giving of the Law on Sinai. God showed Himself to His people as Defender and Redeemer, going before them “with an outstretched arm.”

This same “Exodus event” has always been regarded as a primary “type” of Christ’s work of redemption. Year after year we are brought back to these images and their fulfillment in the birth, life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. And today Jesus wants to enter my soul, to be its Ruler and Lawgiver. Christian life means following Christ. Christ wants to be my Law; without Him, there is no Kingdom of God. He wants to redeem me “with an outstretched arm,” but can do so only on condition that I unite my will to His. Listen, O my soul, to His direction!

Tuesday, 19th December 2017
O Radix Jesse

O Root of Jesse, You stand as for an ensign of mankind; before You kings shall keep silence, and to You all nations shall have recourse. Come, save us, and do not delay!

The following commentary adapted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Fr Pius Parsch (The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 1959):

The bulk of this text is taken from various sections of the book of the prophet Isaiah (cf 11:1; 11:10; 52:15). In spirit, the prophet say how Judah and the kingdom of David would be destroyed. But there would remain a holy root. From the stump of Jesse (the name of the father of King David) springs forth a twig (root), a twig that becomes a banner unto all the nations. In its presence, kings will become reverently silent, and the nations will bow down and worship. It is clear that the prophet is speaking of the Messiah. David’s royal line was dethroned with the exile, and thereafter remained shrouded in oblivion—Jesse’s stump. But with Christ, a new branch buds out of the old root; the throne of David is once more occupied. “And the angel said to Mary: The Lord God will give unto Him the throne of David His Father; and He will reign in the house of Jacob forever.” Christ is of the root of Jesse, both as a descendant of David and as occupant of the royal throne.

The antiphon sums up two aspects of the Messiah and His work. His origins may be humble and unimpressive; but His Kingdom will embrace the whole earth, drawing all nations into it, and placing high and low alike under its rule.



Now the petition: “Come, save us and do not delay!” Millions do not yet recognize the Savior’s saving insignia of the Cross; leaders, dictators, presidents, mayors do not stand in silent awe before Christ’s presence; indeed, it is still true what the psalmist sang: “the Gentiles rage and kings rise up while princes unite against God and against His Christ.” Even in my own soul—-is Christ perfect Sovereign of every quarter of my being? “Come, Lord, save us and please do not delay!”

Wednesday, 20th December 2017

O Clavis David


O KEY OF DAVID and Scepter of the house of Israel: You open, and no man closes; You close, and no man opens. COME,and deliver him from the chains of prison who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death!

The following commentary adapted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Fr Pius Parsch (The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 1959):


Substantially, this passage is from Revelation 3:7, where Christ speaks of Himself as the “Key of David who opens and no one shuts; who shuts and no one opens.” But there is also a passage in Isaiah (22:22) which corresponds almost word-for-word with our antiphon. There the text is directed to the faithful civil ruler whom God supports: “I will lay the key of the house of David upon his shoulder. He will open and no one will shut; he will shut, and no one will open.” The symbol of handing over the keys denotes the conferral of supreme authority. Evidently St. John borrowed the passage from Isaiah and applied it to Christ, a precedent followed by the liturgy.


Being the son of David, Christ is heir and possessor of David’s keys (i.e., his kingdom). After His resurrection, He told His apostles, “All power is given to Me in heaven and on earth.” Lastly, the petition of this antiphon is somewhat more extended than on previous days. Christ holds the keys to the prison where humanity is enchained. Redemption is described graphically in this antiphon—captive mankind sits in darkness and in the black shadows of death. May Christ the Redeemer, we plead, come and unlock this prison.

Thursday, 21st December 2017 

O Oriens


O DAYSPRING, Radiance of the Light eternal and Sun of Justice: COME,and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

The following commentary adapted from The Church’s Year of Grace, Fr Pius Parsch (The Liturgical Press, Collegeville, 1959):

Not sacred history but nature inspires today’s “O.” The sun as a symbol of Christ is one of the finest figures in Sacred Scripture and in the liturgy. And never is the metaphor more beautifully worded or more expressive of an entire season’s liturgy than in our present antiphon.

Three metaphors link the Redeemer to the sun:

(1) He is the Rising Dawn;

(2) He is the Radiance of the Light Eternal;

(3) He is the Sun of Justice.


The expression “rising dawn” (aka “dayspring”) occurs in Zechariah 3:8 and 6:12. Perhaps more familiar to Christians from its daily use in the Benedictus at Morning Prayer is the expression “Oriens ex alto,” the “dayspring from on high.” In spirit, the aged priest Zechariah beheld Christ rising as the sun “to enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.” The verse is incorporated in today’s “O.” Christ is the Rising Sun that disperses spiritual darkness and death. From the sun in the sky comes light and life; from Christ the divine Sun likewise comes light and life. Remember how Jesus called Himself the light and the life of the world.

The title “Radiance of the Light eternal” is found in Hebrews 1:3. It is a reference to the Second Person of the Holy Trinity. “Light eternal” is a reference to God the Father; “Radiance of the Light eternal” describes the eternal and consubstantial origin of the Son from the Father. In the Creed, we say, “Lumen de Lumine,” light from light. Thus the antiphon’s first phrase brought out Christ’s relation to the world and to men, while this second one tells of the inner divine relationship of Christ to the Father.


“Sun of Justice!” These words depict the Messiah in Malachi 4:2. Christ is the Sun, emitting the rays of justice (i.e., holiness and grace). What the sun does for the realm of nature, that Christ as the Sun of Grace does for the kingdom of God.

In the closing petition, we ask Christ to enlighten us by His birth. Even in us, the faithful, there is still much darkness, much of death’s shadow. Open your soul and let the divine light shine in!


Friday, 22nd December 2017

O Rex Gentium


O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum, lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum: veni, et salva hominem, quem de limoformasti.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).


Saturday, 23rd December 2017

O 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.



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