Sunday, December 23, 2018

December 23 - The Final Day of the O Antiphons

December 23 - The Final Day of the O Antiphons

The wait is nearly over!  Advent is drawing to a close and tomorrow is the eve of the Christ Mass, or was we more commonly call it, "Christmas."

Pray with your family: 

O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster,
exspectatio Gentium, et Salvator earum:
veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus noster.
O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver,
the hope of the nations and their Saviour:
Come and save us, O Lord our God.
Read to or with your family:
Isaiah 7:14: "Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel".
Isaiah 33:22: "Indeed the Lord will be there with us,  majestic.  Yes, the Lord our judge, the Lord our lawgiver, the Lord our king, he it is who will save

Sing with your family:

O come, o come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here,
Until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!

Have yourself a merry and blessed Christ Mass.

Advent is drawing to a close, and this is our last day of the O Antiphons.  O come, o come, Emmanuel - and ransom captive Israel.
Jesus said to them, "I am the bread of life; whoever comes to me will never hunger, and whoever believes in me will never thirst...Your ancestors ate the manna in the desert, but they died; this is the bread that comes down from heaven so that one may eat it and not die. I am the living bread that came down from heaven; whoever eats this bread will live forever; and the bread that I will give is my flesh for the life of the world." Jn. 6:35, 49-51

God has always been with us, but the Incarnation radically changed His manner of being "with us." The most sacred item for the people of the Old Testament was the Ark of the Covenant, which contained several holy objects: the stone tablets of the Ten Commandments, God's word inscribed by God Himself; a jar of the manna with which God fed them in the desert; and Aaron's rod, the symbol of his priesthood (Heb. 9:4). From the moment of the Incarnation, when the Holy Spirit overshadowed the Blessed Virgin Mary, who is called the Ark of the New Covenant, she held within her womb the Word of God in the flesh, who is the true manna in the Most Holy Eucharist, and who is the Eternal High Priest. Emmanuel, "God with us," loves us with an intensity that is beyond our human comprehension, but we can begin to grasp it when we approach Him in the Blessed Sacrament, and receive Him into ourselves. Wherever the sanctuary light burns, He is there with us, but He is even closer to us when we receive Him, so that He can begin to transform us in Himself. He is not a God who remains distant, but one who enters into our lives, and into our very beings, bringing His infinite mercy and forgiveness. We long to be loved, and He longs for our love. As we approach the great mystery of Christmas, may He grant us the grace of deep, unwavering devotion to His presence in the Eucharist. O come, o come Emmanuel!
In Closing:
I hope this journey through "The Golden Nights" or the "Great O Antiphons" has blessed you and a piece of it remains with you throughout the entire year.  Every Mass we participate in, we celebrate the coming of the Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.  During Advent we focus on this anticipation, but let us be eagerly anticipating receiving Him at every Mass we attend.  If we are in the state of mortal sin, this anticipation should make us all the more motivated to reconcile through the Sacrament of Penance, just as we're called to do penance in the season of Advent - to prepare our hearts and mind for the coming and reception of our Lord.  If you're not in the state of grace, go talk with your confessor!  Do not fear the confessional - it is a place of renewal, a new and fresh start.  We all falter and fall short of the Glory of God, but pick yourself up and get yourself right with God.  Be constantly reminded of Advent and O come, o come Emmanuel, and ransom our captive souls.

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