Artwork by the Benedictine Sisters of Turvey Abbey
December 18th: 'O Adonai, leader of the House of Israel, who appeared to
Moses in the burning bush and gave him the Law on Sinai, come to rescue us with
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 exteno.
The text is based upon Exodus 3 and 6:6.
The Hebrew word 'Adonai' is left untranslated. It is one of the names of God,
having the same vowels as those placed into YHWH consonants, producing Yahowah
or Yahweh or Jehova.
At the burning bush God is reluctant to reveal his Son 'and gave him a name
above all names'(see Philippians 2:9-11).
He it was who was present in the blaze of the burning bush and the lightening
on Mount Sinai, he who said "I have come to bring fire to the earth, and
how I wish it were blazing already." (Luke 12:49)
The O Antiphons are a highlight of the Church's Advent Liturgy: from
December 17th - 23rd they frame the Magnificat at Vespers.
Rich in symbolism and meaning they take us right from the beginning of
creation, through the centuries of the world's waiting for the promised
Messiah, calling upon him who was hidden in signs and symbols, and revealed
when the fullness of time had come, leading us to the Mystery of the Incarnation
and beyond, to the Paschal Mystery, the coming of the Holy Spirit and the
Parousia (Christ's second coming).
The exact origin of the Latin texts is unknown. They may date from the
sixth century. There is evidence to suggest that the texts were in liturgical
use in Rome in the eighth century. Both the original Latin texts and an English
translation are given here.
Arriving at the 7th Antiphon on December 23rd, we may discover that the
letters of the Latin invocations, read from the last up to the first, form a
wonderful acrostic (ERO CRAS), like God's answer to our prayer:
Dec. 17: Sapienta (O Wisdom)
Dec. 18: Adonai (O Adonai [Lord])
Dec. 19: Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)
Dec. 20: Clavis David (O Key of David)
Dec. 21: Oriens (O Rising Sun)
Dec. 22: Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations)
Dec. 23: Emmanuel (O Emmanuel)
ERO CRAS: I
WILL BE HERE TOMORROW
Christmas: O Wonderful Exchange (Antiphon from the Greek Liturgy
"O Wonderful Exchange! The Creator of the human race took to himself a
human body and was born of a virgin, and becoming man he granted us
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