December 18 – O Lord

The O Antiphons | O Sapientia | O Adonai | O Radix Jesse |
O Clavis David | O Oriens | O Rex Gentium | O Emmanuel


O Adonai

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 Lord and Ruler the house of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the flame of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: come, and redeem us with outstretched arms.

In the Old Testament there are two prophetic verses that are the source for this antiphon.

But he shall judge the poor with justice, and shall reprove with equity the meek of the earth: and he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. And justice shall be the girdle of his loins: and faith the girdle of his reins. (Isaiah 11:4-5)

For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king: he will save us. (Isaiah 33:22)

“Adonai” is the Hebrew word for “LORD”. The Jews used it instead of the four-lettered word for God’s name deemed to be too sacred to pronounce aloud. Christ is the Lord of Creation. He is also the Lord of the many Covenants He made with His chosen people, having made them with Noah, Abraham, and Moses. He guided them, gave them laws, protected them and fed them. The Lord delivered them from bondage in Egypt to Pharoah.

He once appeared in a burning bush that was not consumed by the fire. He is about to appear in the flesh once more in our celebration of Christmas. One day He will come again to judge the living and the dead. In fact He appears to us every day. He is there in the faces of our loved ones, our friends and our neighbor.

It has become a cliché the past few years, but especially since the horrific events of last Friday in Newton, Connecticut, to say that “we kicked God out of schools” and it’s time “to bring Him back.” I’ve thought a lot about this, and admit I have thought it a time or two myself in the past. I now think that this is yet another example of an overly simplistic bumper-sticker slogan and one that only serves to confuse children and those who do not understand more fully the reality of who God is.

We do not need to invite God back into our schools. We need to invite Him back into our hearts. God is the Creator of the Universe. He’s not an entity prone to the whims and decisions of a man-made judicial system. While we may cower to the secular gods of state and adhere to their jurisdiction God does not. God is not standing outside the school on the sidewalk across the street from the public property waiting for the children to come rushing out to safety. God is not some shadowman who if allowed in schools would magically alter the path of a bullet or stifle a bully. Can you see how this might be confusing to the children? You should as it’s obviously confused a lot of adults as well.

We need to invite God back into our hearts.

God is love, and there is a hole within our hearts. We have allowed our culture to callously carve His Love out of our hearts with a dull spoon. Our hearts are wounded, and after events such as witnessed Friday they bleed ever more profusely. Healing must take place.

We need to invite God back into our hearts.

broken-heartHistory is replete with the example of one man or one woman making a difference. More times than not those individuals carried the love of God in their hearts and because of it were able to summon the strength to recognize Christ in the faces of the unlovable, or even those who were persecuting them. Imagine the difference it would make if we all as individuals did the same. It begins with a member of the household sharing that love with those that live under the same roof. Each one in turn taking that love with them to their workplace, the store while shopping…and into their schools. What a difference that would make. What an opportunity we have each day. What a vacuum now exists to be filled. Only it is not a vacuum. Nature abhors a vacuum and rushes to fill it with whatever available. That hole has been filled by apathy, nihilism, cruelty, malice, pain, hurt and evil. We could, if we so choose, restore Christ to our hearts and instill compassion, truth, charity, mercy, hospitality, consolation and love.

We need to invite God back into our hearts.

Yet another tragedy has resulted in all of us asking “what’s wrong with the world?” While I have largely avoided Facebook, the news or newspapers since last Friday I have seen this question posed several times when I do venture online. When a newspaper posed the question “What’s Wrong with the World?” G.K. Chesterton is reputed to have written a brief letter addressed to the paper in response:

Dear Sir:

I am.

G.K. Chesterton

This is the response of someone who has integrated the message of Jesus Christ into their own heart.

We need to invite God back into our hearts.

Let it begin with me this Christmas.


The second O Antiphon is referred to in the following verse of O Come O Come Emmanuel:

Veni, Veni, Adonai, qui populo in Sinai
legem dedisti vertice in maiestate gloriae.

O Come, O Come, Thou Lord of might,
who to thy tribes on Sinai’s height
in ancient times didst give the law,
in cloud, and majesty, and awe.


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