Sunday, December 31, 2017

Recessional/Processional Song

 
The parties have started; the countdowns have begun. We celebrate the end of one year and the beginning of the next. We give thanks for what 2017 bestowed and optimistically look ahead to 2018. And shortly after the stroke of midnight, that familiar tune and that familiar poem by Robert Burns fill the air: 

Should auld acquaintance be forgot, 
And never brought to mind? 
Should auld acquaintance be forgot, 
And auld lang syne?
 
For auld lang syne, my dear, 
For auld lang syne, 
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet, 
For auld lang syne.
 
And surely ye'll be your pint-stowp, 
And surely I'll be mine! 
And we'll tak a cup o' kindness yet, 
For auld lang syne.
 
For auld lang syne, my dear, 
For auld lang syne, 
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet, 
For auld lang syne.
 
We twa hae run about the braes, 
And pu'd the gowans fine; 
But we've wandered mony a weary fit 
Sin' auld lang syne.
 
For auld lang syne, my dear, 
For auld lang syne, 
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet, 
For auld lang syne.
 
We twa hae paidled i' the burn, 
Frae morning sun till dine; 
But seas between us braid hae roared 
Sin' auld lang syne.
 
For auld lang syne, my dear, 
For auld lang syne, 
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet, 
For auld lang syne.
 
And there's a hand, my trusty fiere, 
And gie's a hand o' thine! 
And we'll tak a right guid-willie waught 
For auld lang syne.
 
For auld lang syne, my dear, 
For auld lang syne, 
We'll tak a cup o' kindness yet, 
For auld lang syne.

May God grace the New year with favor upon favor. May His blessings upon you be manifold and plentiful. May you grow holier in His sight and continue to be His beloved child.

Happy New Year, Everybody!

The Best New Year's Hymn


New Advent provides the background to this hymn.

The website FishEaters.com provided the Latin and English.

From The Handbook of Indulgences:
A partial indulgence is granted the Christian faithful who recite the hymn, Te Deum, as an act of thanksgiving.  The indulgence will be a plenary one if this hymn is publicly recited on the last day of the year.
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Te Deum laudamus: te Dominum confitemur.
Te aeternum Patrem omnis terra veneratur.
Tibi omnes Angeli; tibi Caeli et universae Potestates;
Tibi Cherubim et Seraphim incessabili voce proclamant:
Sanctus, Sanctus, Sanctus, Dominus Deus Sabaoth.
Pleni sunt caeli et terra maiestatis gloriae tuae.
Te gloriosus Apostolorum chorus,
Te Prophetarum laudabilis numerus,
Te Martyrum candidatus laudat exercitus.
Te per orbem terrarum sancta confitetur Ecclesia,
Patrem immensae maiestatis:
Venerandum tuum verum et unicum Filium;
Sanctum quoque Paraclitum Spiritum.
Tu Rex gloriae, Christe.
Tu Patris sempiternus es Filius.
Tu ad liberandum suscepturus hominem, non horruisti Virginis uterum.
Tu, devicto mortis aculeo, aperuisti credentibus regna caelorum.
Tu ad dexteram Dei sedes, in gloria Patris.
Iudex crederis esse venturus.
Te ergo quaesumus, tuis famulis subveni: quos pretioso sanguine redemisti.
Aeterna fac cum sanctis tuis in gloria numerari.
Salvum fac populum tuum, Domine, et benedic hereditati tuae!
Et rege eos, et extolle illos usque in aeternum.
Per singulos dies benedicimus te.
Et laudamus nomen tuum in saeculum, et in saeculum saeculi.
Dignare, Domine, die isto sine peccato nos custodire.
Miserere nostri, Domine, miserere nostri.
Fiat misericordia tua, Domine, super nos, quemadmodum speravimus in te.
In te, Domine, speravi: non confundar in aeternum.

V. Benedictus es, Domine, Deus patrum nostrorum.
R. Et laudabilis, et gloriosus in saecula.
V. Benedicamus Patrem et Filium, cum Santo Spiritu.
R. Laudemus et superexaltemus eum in saecula.

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O God, we praise Thee: we acknowledge Thee to be the Lord.
Thee, the Father, all the earth doth worship.
To Thee all the Angels, the Heavens and all the Powers,
To Thee the Cherubim and Seraphim cry out without ceasing:
Holy, Holy, Holy, Lord God of Hosts!
Full are the Heavens and the earth of the majesty of Thy glory.
The glorious choir of the Apostles praises Thee,
The admirable company of Prophets praises Thee,
The white-robed army of Martyrs, praise Thee.
Thee, the Holy Church throughout the world doth confess:
The Father of infinite Majesty;
Thy adorable, true and only Son;
Also the Holy Ghost, the Comforter.
Thou, O Christ, are the King of glory!
Thou art the everlasting Son of the Father.
Thou, having taken it upon Thyself to deliver man, didst not disdain the Virgin's womb.
Thou, having overcome the sting of death, hast opened to believers the Kingdom of Heaven.
Thou sittest at the right hand of God, in the glory of the Father.
Thou, we believe, art the Judge to come.
We beseech Thee, therefore, to help Thy servants whom Thou hast redeemed with Thy Precious Blood.
Make them to be numbered with Thy Saints in everlasting glory.
O Lord, save Thy people, and bless Thine inheritance!
And govern them, and exalt them forever.
Day by day we bless Thee
And we praise Thy Name forever: yea, forever and ever.
Vouchsafe, O Lord, this day to keep us without sin.
Have mercy on us, O Lord, have mercy on us.
Let Thy mercy, O Lord, be upon us, for we have trusted in Thee.
O Lord, in Thee I have trusted; let me not be confounded forever.

V. Blessed art Thou, O Lord, the God of our fathers.
R. And worthy to be praised and glorified for ever.
V. Let us bless the Father and the Son, with the Holy Ghost.
R. Let us praise and magnify Him for ever.


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Originally posted 12/31/2011.
Re-posted 12/31/2012.
Re-posted 12/31/2013.
Re-posted 12/31/2014.
Re-posted 12/31/2015.
Re-posted 12/31/2016.

Corners Of Time

On this, the first day of the week, it also happens to be the last day of the year.

What an interesting juxtaposition.

An intersection of an alpha and omega, a beginning and an end.

And so 2017 comes to a close.

What else can I say?

The status quo is status quo.

Again it seems the focus is still on my economic woes. The job front continues to be a source of consternation. I did return to that amusement park for a third season (and would be welcomed back for a fourth).  I balanced that with a part-time position at a branch of the county's library system; however, that ended five months into a six-month probationary period. Fortunately, two weeks after that, a two-year old application for a school crossing guard position came to fruition. It is not much in terms of an income, but at least I still have a sense of usefulness. Perhaps along with St. Anthony of Padua it's time to add St. Jude into the mix.

Lest this dourness color your perception of what is happening in my infinitesimal corner of the universe, let it be known I am still grateful for what has happened the past twelve months. I still live, move, and have being. While the dismissal from the library was a psychological punch in the stomach, one that brought my self-worth to my knees for a time, I still grasp onto the hope I will find something gainful and full-time. While my value as a human being is seemingly tied to the size of a paycheck, I know it isn't.

Beat up by the world as I am, I realize my problems are not as bad as many in this world, especially those who world have been turned inside out and upside down by natural catastrophes and man-made calamities. I am still learning to bear my cross profitably. At least my prayers can be their Simon of Cyrene.

For that is where we all can turn. It is not, "My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?" It is remembering I am fearfully, wonderfully made in His image and likeness. His divine indwelling in me is more than enough; His Grace is sufficient. Introvert that I am, it is within my soul where I will meet the living Triune God, who will show me how to love, how to have faith, how to hope and trust. If this is not my cornerstone, I really do have nothing upon which to build.

Perhaps this is the real meaning of "Go Forward".

Which is all I can do in 2018.

Which starts at the end of this day.

Monday, December 25, 2017

2017 Christmas Card


May God, Who gave to us His only begotten Son, born of the Virgin Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit, grant us the joy this holy night brings. May the Word made Flesh, of the Father's love begotten, also bestow that love upon us. May the King of Kings and Lord of Lords grace us with His peace which is beyond all measure.

Merry Christmas, Everybody!





Sunday, December 24, 2017

Proclamation Of The Birth Of Christ

Anno a creatione mundi, quando in principio Deus creavit coelum et terram, quinquies millesimo centesimo nonagesimo nono:
A diluvio vero, anno bis millesimo nongentesimo quinquagesimo septimo:
A nativitate Abrahae, anno bis millesimo quintodecimo:
A Moyse et egressu populi Israel de Aegypto, anno millesimo quingentesimo decimo:
Ab unctione David in regem, anno millesimo trigesimo secundo:
Hebdomoda sexagesima quinta juxta Danielis prophetiam:
Olympiade centesima nongentesima quarta:
Ab urbe Roma condita, anno septingentesimo quinquagesimo secundo:
Anno imperii Octaviani Augusti quadragesimo secundo:
Toto urbe in pace composito:
Sexta mundi aetate:
Jesus Christus aeternus Deus, aeternique Patris Filius, mundum volens adventu suo piisimo consecrare, de Spiritu Sancto conceptus, novemque post conceptionem decursus mensibus, in Bethlehem Judae nascitur ex Maria Virgine factus homo:
NATIVITAS DOMINI NOSTRI JESU CHRISTI SECUNDUM CARNEM!

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The year from the creation of the world, when in the beginning God created heaven and earth, five thousand one hundred and ninety-nine:
From the deluge, the year two thousand nine hundred and fifty-seven:
From the birth of Abraham, the year two thousand and fifteen:
From Moses and the going out of the people of Israel from Egypt, the year one thousand five hundred and ten:
From David's being anointed king, the year one thousand and thirty-two:
In the sixty-fifth week according to the prophecy of Daniel:
In the one hundred and ninety-fourth Olympiad:
From the building of the city of Rome, the year seven hundred and fifty-two:
In the forty-second year of the reign of Octavian Augustus:
The whole world being in peace:
In the sixth age of the world:
Jesus Christ, the eternal God, and Son of the eternal Father, wishing to consecrate this world by his most merciful coming, being conceived of the Holy Ghost, and nine months since his conception having passed, In Bethlehem of Juda is born of the Virgin Mary, being made Man:
THE NATIVITY OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST ACCORDING TO THE FLESH!

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The grace of God has appeared, saving all and training us to reject godless ways and worldly desires and to live temperately, justly, and devoutly in this age, as we await the blessed hope, the appearance of the glory of our great God and savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to deliver us from all lawlessness and to cleanse for himself a people as his own, eager to do what is good. 
When the kindness and generous love of God our savior appeared, not because of any righteous deeds we had done but because of his mercy,He saved us through the bath of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom he richly poured out on us through Jesus Christ our savior, so that we might be justified by his grace and become heirs in hope of eternal life.
Titus 2:11-14; 3:4-7
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NOTES:
Originally posted as "Behold, I Bring You Good News"; 12/24/2005.
Linked in "Repeat The Sounding Joy"; 12/24/2006.
Re-posted 12/24/2007.
Re-posted 12/25/2008.
Re-posted 12/24/2009.
Re-posted 12/24/2010.
Re-posted 12/24/2011.
Re-posted 12/24/2012.
Re-posted 12/24/2013.
Re-posted 12/24/2014.
Re-posted 12/24/2015.
Re-posted 12/24/2016.

2017 Christmas Eve Reflection

The Gospel Reading of the Feast of the Nativity--Vigil Mass (Short Version):
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the Holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the Holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall name him Emmanuel,
which means "God is with us." When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus.
Matthew 1:18-25
The complete opening chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew is the Gospel reading for this Mass. It has two parts:  the genealogy from Abraham to Jesus (a total of 42 generation) and the birth of Jesus. It is this second part which will be my focus.

But before we look at this couple, we have to look at another.

The First Couple.

God, Who made man and woman in His image and likeness, is with Adam and Eve as He gives them dominion over all the Earth. He asks one thing:  to not eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil; if so, they will die. So our First Couple hear the words of the Lord and heed them--they obey. They continue to do that until the Fall. And while God is still with them, they are not with Him.

So begins a pattern between God and humanity, now the tarnished and broken crown of His creation. Throughout salvation history, when the figures of the Old Testament heard and heeded the words of the Lord, He was with them. All the while, the promise of a savior rang through what God commanded.

When we return to St. Joseph and the Blessed Virgin Mary, the parallelism somewhat ends. While our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is the new Adam and not St. Joseph, this couple still has the same choice as the First Couple. They must now hear and heed the words of the Lord, lest God not be with them. But this time, the stakes were seemingly much higher. To not hear and heed the words of the Lord could mean the Word would not be made flesh at the appointed time. To not obey could mean even more delay in our salvation.

Like Eve, Mary would have the first chance. Gabriel, not the serpent, would speak to the New Eve. Instead of a denunciation, a rejection of the Word, Mary chose to heed the words of the Lord. And in the most intimate way possible, the way God desires our relationship with Him to be, God was truly
with Mary.

Now, it was St. Joseph's turn. Devoutly obedient to Mosaic Law as he was, there was a voice greater than Moses speaking to him--the One Who wrote the Law. Like Mary, assured this was all part of the plan of salvation, he also chose to heed the words of the Lord. Once again, God was truly with him.

The key to all this, as you have surmised by now, is obedience. While all those we've seen who heard and heeded the words of the Lord make great examples, there is no greater example than our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ Himself. His life on Earth was all about saying "yes" to God, hearing and heeding the words of the Lord (and because He is the Word made Flesh, being true to Himself), doing His Father's will. St. Paul says it best:
Christ Jesus, though he was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Because of this, God greatly exalted him and bestowed on him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bend, of those in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
Phil. 2 6:11
Advent has been a time of preparation. It has been a time of hearing and heeding. It has given us an opportunity to become more obedient. It has been about "making room at the inn" of our being so that God can be with us even more. It is the answer to this verse of "O Little Town Of Bethlehem":
O holy child of Bethlehem! Descend to us we pray;
Cast our our sin and enter in; Be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;
O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel!
Our time to prepare for this year is finished.

Hodie Christus natus est!

Advent's Final Hymn

This is the original Latin, from the 7th. century Liturgia Horarum:
 
Conditor alme siderum
aetérna lux credéntium
Christe redémptor ómnium
exáudi preces[voces] súpplicum

Qui cóndolens intéritu
mortis perire saeculum
salvásti mundum languidum
donans reis remedium.

Vergénte mundi véspere
uti sponsus de thálamo
egréssus honestissima
Virginis matris cláusula.

Cuius forti ponténtiae
genu curvántur ómnia
caeléstia, terréstia
nutu faténtur súbdita.

Te, Sancte fide quáesumus,
venture judex sáeculi,
consérva nos in témpore
hostis a telo perfidi.

Sit, Christe rex piissime
tibi Patríque glória
cum Spíritu Paráclito
in sempitérna sáecula.

Virtus, honor, laus, gloria
Deo Patri cum Filio,
Sancto simul Paraclito,
in saeculorum saecula

This is the English translation of John M. Neale found in the 1852 Hymnal Noted:

Creator of the stars of night,
Thy people’s everlasting light,
Jesu, Redeemer, save us all,
And hear Thy servants when they call.

Thou, grieving that the ancient curse
Should doom to death a universe,
Hast found the medicine, full of grace,
To save and heal a ruined race.

Thou cam’st, the Bridegroom of the bride,
As drew the world to evening-tide;
Proceeding from a virgin shrine,
The spotless Victim all divine.

At Whose dread Name, majestic now,
All knees must bend, all hearts must bow;
And things celestial Thee shall own,
And things terrestrial, Lord alone.

O Thou Whose coming is with dread
To judge and doom the quick and dead,
Preserve us, while we dwell below,
From every insult of the foe.

To God the Father, God the Son,
And God the Spirit, Three in One,
Laud, honor, might, and glory be
From age to age eternally.

After what seems to be a long wait from the fall of Adam, humanity finally gets its answer:

Ero cras.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

O Antiphon: God Is With Us



Again the LORD spoke to Ahaz:
Ask for a sign from the LORD, your God; let it be deep as the nether world, or high as the sky!
But Ahaz answered, "I will not ask! I will not tempt the LORD!"
Then he said: Listen, O house of David! Is it not enough for you to weary men, must you also weary my God?
Therefore the Lord himself will give you this sign: the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Immanuel.

Isaiah 7:10-14
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Now this is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about. When his mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found with child through the holy Spirit. Joseph her husband, since he was a righteous man, yet unwilling to expose her to shame, decided to divorce her quietly. Such was his intention when, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife into your home. For it is through the holy Spirit that this child has been conceived in her. She will bear a son and you are to name him Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet:
"Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel," which means "God is with us."
When Joseph awoke, he did as the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took his wife into his home. He had no relations with her until she bore a son, and he named him Jesus.

Matthew 1:18-25


Emmanuel. God is with us. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God." (John 1:1)

Even though man left God, He never left us. The Word was always there: in the rainbow, the visitors to Abraham, the plagues, the cloud, the manna, the tablets, the ark, the temple, the tiny whispering sound, the speech of the prophets and psalmists, and whatever examples you may find elsewhere in the Old Testament.
In times past, God spoke in partial and various ways to our ancestors through the prophets; in these last days, he spoke to us through a son, whom he made heir of all things and through whom he created the universe,who is the refulgence of his glory, the very imprint of his being, and who sustains all things by his mighty word.
Hebrews 1:1-3

Echoes of sound and glimmers of light. The faintest sensory perceptions for the soul damaged by Original Sin. Reflections of true reality. All pale in comparison.
And the Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us, and we saw his glory, the glory as of the Father's only Son, full of grace and truth.

John 1:14
Emmanuel.

God is with us.

God is still with us.

"And behold, I am with you always, until the end of the age." (Matthew 28:20b)
Behold, God's dwelling is with the human race. He will dwell with them and they will be his people and God himself will always be with them (as their God).

Revelations 21:3

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Fr. Z's reflection can be found here.
Fr. Kirby's reflection can be found here.

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Click here to listen to the chant.

O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster, exspectatio gentium, et Salvator earum: veni ad salvandum nos Domine Deus noster.

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O Emmanuel, our King and our Law-giver, Longing of the Gentiles, yea, and salvation thereof, come to save us, O Lord our God!

Friday, December 22, 2017

O Antiphon: King Of Kings


Rise up in splendor! Your light has come, the glory of the Lord shines upon you.
See, darkness covers the earth, and thick clouds cover the peoples; But upon you the LORD shines, and over you appears his glory.
Nations shall walk by your light, and kings by your shining radiance.
Raise your eyes and look about; they all gather and come to you: Your sons come from afar, and your daughters in the arms of their nurses.
Then you shall be radiant at what you see, your heart shall throb and overflow, For the riches of the sea shall be emptied out before you, the wealth of nations shall be brought to you.
Caravans of camels shall fill you, dromedaries from Midian and Ephah; All from Sheba shall come bearing gold and frankincense, and proclaiming the praises of the LORD.
All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered for you, the rams of Nebaioth shall be your sacrifices; They will be acceptable offerings on my altar, and I will enhance the splendor of my house.

Isaiah 60:1-7
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When Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of King Herod, behold, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, "Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage....Then Herod called the magi secretly and ascertained from them the time of the star's appearance....After their audience with the king they set out. And behold, the star that they had seen at its rising preceded them, until it came and stopped over the place where the child was. They were overjoyed at seeing the star, and on entering the house they saw the child with Mary his mother. They prostrated themselves and did him homage. Then they opened their treasures and offered him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

Matthew 2:1-2,7,9-11

It was a question which framed the beginning and end of His life.

A question of identity.

"Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star at its rising and have come to do him homage." (Matthew 2:2)

Strangers in a strange land, the Magi saw a glimmer of the Light and inquired about to Whom it lead. When told, they were able to hear the Word and find Him, while those who help them wanted to silence the echo. The echo would now grow louder because more would be able to hear it.

"Are you the King of the Jews?" (John 18:33b)

An earthly ruler, feeling threatened by the Word (history does repeat itself, doesn't it?), asked again. He directly heard, but could not respond. In the end, he would help to attempt to silence once and for all the Word.

And even in between those two questions, people wanted to know if they were among royalty.

They were right.

Found in the Book of Revelation (cf. 11:15, 19:6 and 19:16, KJV), used by Charles Jennens in a libretto, and set to music by Georg Frideric Handel, the Word reigns just as true at His birth, death, resurrection, Good Friday of 1742, and today.
Alleluia: for the Lord God omnipotent reigneth.
The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms of our Lord, and of his Christ; and he shall reign for ever and ever.
KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS.
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Fr. Z's reflection can be found here.
Fr. Kirby's refection can be found here.

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Click here to listen to the chant.

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

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O King of the Gentiles, yea, and desire thereof! O Corner-stone, that makest of two one, come to save man, whom Thou hast made out of the dust of the earth!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

O Antiphon: Light From Light


Anguish has taken wing, dispelled is darkness; for there is no gloom where but now there was distress.
The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; Upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shone.
You have brought them abundant joy and great rejoicing, As they rejoice before you as at the harvest, as men make merry when dividing spoils.
For the yoke that burdened them, the pole on their shoulder, And the rod of their taskmaster you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.
For every boot that tramped in battle, every cloak rolled in blood, will be burned as fuel for flames.
Isaiah 8:23b-9:4

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Jesus said to them, "The light will be among you only a little while. Walk while you have the light, so that darkness may not overcome you. Whoever walks in the dark does not know where he is going. While you have the light, believe in the light, so that you may become children of the light....Whoever believes in me believes not only in me but also in the one who sent me, and whoever sees me sees the one who sent me. I came into the world as light, so that everyone who believes in me might not remain in darkness. And if anyone hears my words and does not observe them, I do not condemn him, for I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world. Whoever rejects me and does not accept my words has something to judge him: the word that I spoke, it will condemn him on the last day, because I did not speak on my own, but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and speak.And I know that his commandment is eternal life. So what I say, I say as the Father told me."

John 12:35-36; 44b-50

Return again to the creation story. What was the first thing formed from nothing by the Word? Light. But Who was this Light? St. John gives the answer (and expounds on it further in his first letter):
What came to be through him was life, and this life was the light of the human race; the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. (1:3b-5)
Yet, once it thought it had succeeded with Adam and Eve, the darkness tried and tried again to overcome the Light during salvation history. But just as the echo of the Word still remained, so did a glimmer of Light. Noah saw it in the rainbow. Moses, who already viewed the burning bush, was privileged to see more than a glimmer on Mt. Siani. The Magi followed a star.

All of these pale when the Word spoke plainly:
"I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life." (John 8:12b)
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Fr. Z's reflection can be found here.
Fr. Kirby's reflection can be found here.

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Click here to listen to the chant.

O Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae: veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

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O Dayspring, Brightness of the everlasting light, Son of justice, come to give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death!

Wednesday, December 20, 2017

O Antiphon: The Keys Of The Kingdom


Thus says the Lord, the GOD of hosts: Up, go to that official, Shebna, master of the palace,
Who has hewn for himself a sepulcher on a height and carved his tomb in the rock: "What are you doing here, and what people have you here, that here you have hewn for yourself a tomb?"
The LORD shall hurl you down headlong, mortal man! He shall grip you firmly
And roll you up and toss you like a ball into an open land To perish there, you and the chariots you glory in, you disgrace to your master's house!
I will thrust you from your office and pull you down from your station.
On that day I will summon my servant Eliakim, son of Hilkiah;
I will clothe him with your robe, and gird him with your sash, and give over to him your authority. He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.
I will place the key of the House of David on his shoulder; when he opens, no one shall shut, when he shuts, no one shall open.
I will fix him like a peg in a sure spot, to be a place of honor for his family;
On him shall hang all the glory of his family: descendants and offspring, all the little dishes, from bowls to jugs.
On that day, says the LORD of hosts, the peg fixed in a sure spot shall give way, break off and fall, and the weight that hung on it shall be done away with; for the LORD has spoken.
Isaiah 22:15-2
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When Jesus went into the region of Caesarea Philippi he asked his disciples, "Who do people say that the Son of Man is?"
They replied, "Some say John the Baptist, others Elijah, still others Jeremiah or one of the prophets."
He said to them, "But who do you say that I am?"
Simon Peter said in reply, "You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God."
Jesus said to him in reply, "Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah. For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my heavenly Father. And so I say to you, you are Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church, and the gates of the netherworld shall not prevail against it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven; and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."

Matthew 16:13-19

How powerful is the Word. From nothing, creation sprang forth when He was uttered. He speaks and the Law is given. Any oration from Him is full of wisdom and truth.

Perhaps, as is suggested in the verse from Isaiah above, the ability to bind and loose is the most powerful message He delivers. To bind a not so heavy yoke upon us, unlike the Pharisees he chastises in His ministry. To loosen us from the bondage of sin. To bind us together as brothers and sisters in Him. To loosen us from the fear which keeps us from loving each other. To bind our sufferings with His. To loosen the grip of the world, the flesh, and the devil.

But the most powerful thing this Word says is to the gates of Heaven, "Open. I closed you when Adam and Eve did not listen to Me. Because I now have taken on the nature of the crown of My creation and have redeemed them with My life, because I obeyed My Father, I make it possible for them to enter the Kingdom if they heed My voice. My church, My bride, has been entrusted with My words, My teachings, My sacramental grace to make heeding My voice an easy yoke. Those who heed My church heed My voice, and I will raise them up on the last day."
"The King of Glory comes, the nation rejoices.
Open the gates before Him, lift up your voices."

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Fr. Z's reflection can be found here.
Fr. Kirby's reflection can be found here.

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Click here to listen to the chant.

O 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.

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O Key of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel, that openeth and no man shutteth, and shutteth and no man openeth, come to liberate the prisoner from the prison, and them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.

Tuesday, December 19, 2017

O Antiphon: From Jesse's Tree


But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom.
The spirit of the LORD shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, A spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the LORD,
and his delight shall be the fear of the LORD. Not by appearance shall he judge, nor by hearsay shall he decide,
But he shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the land's afflicted. He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.
Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.
Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb, and the leopard shall lie down with the kid; The calf and the young lion shall browse together, with a little child to guide them.
The cow and the bear shall be neighbors, together their young shall rest; the lion shall eat hay like the ox.
The baby shall play by the cobra's den, and the child lay his hand on the adder's lair.
There shall be no harm or ruin on all my holy mountain; for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the LORD, as water covers the sea.
On that day, The root of Jesse, set up as a signal for the nations, The Gentiles shall seek out, for his dwelling shall be glorious.
Isaiah 11:1-10

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The book of the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.
Abraham became the father of Isaac, Isaac the father of Jacob, Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers.
Judah became the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was Tamar. Perez became the father of Hezron, Hezron the father of Ram,
Ram the father of Amminadab. Amminadab became the father of Nahshon, Nahshon the father of Salmon,
Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was Rahab. Boaz became the father of Obed, whose mother was Ruth. Obed became the father of Jesse,
Jesse the father of David the king. David became the father of Solomon, whose mother had been the wife of Uriah.
Solomon became the father of Rehoboam, Rehoboam the father of Abijah, Abijah the father of Asaph.
Asaph became the father of Jehoshaphat, Jehoshaphat the father of Joram, Joram the father of Uzziah.
Uzziah became the father of Jotham, Jotham the father of Ahaz, Ahaz the father of Hezekiah.
Hezekiah became the father of Manasseh, Manasseh the father of Amos, Amos the father of Josiah.
Josiah became the father of Jechoniah and his brothers at the time of the Babylonian exile.
After the Babylonian exile, Jechoniah became the father of Shealtiel, Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
Zerubbabel the father of Abiud. Abiud became the father of Eliakim, Eliakim the father of Azor,
Azor the father of Zadok. Zadok became the father of Achim, Achim the father of Eliud,
Eliud the father of Eleazar. Eleazar became the father of Matthan, Matthan the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary. Of her was born Jesus who is called the Messiah.
Thus the total number of generations from Abraham to David is fourteen generations; from David to the Babylonian exile, fourteen generations; from the Babylonian exile to the Messiah, fourteen generations.

Matthew 1:1-17


The genealogy of Jesus found in the first chapter of the Gospel of St. Matthew (1-17), the Gospel proclamation for the Mass of Christmas Eve, established Him as a descendant of the royal bloodline of David. It also connects Him to our father in faith, Abraham. Through the trials he endured, the father of many nations faithfully obeyed (heard) the Word.

How appropriate the Word would once again be proclaimed through his lineage. Some 42 generations later, a man who was in that line would have to do the same thing as Abraham. Like his ancestor and his betrothed, Joseph was visited by an angel. The heavenly being brings a similar message which Gabriel announced to Mary. Again, the words were only secondary. Again, the Word is more than an echo.

Like "father of faith," like "son." Two righteous men, the same act of faith. Both obeyed a timeless Word.

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Fr. Z's reflection can be found here.
Fr. Kirby's reflection can be found here.

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Click here to listen to the chant.

O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt reges os suum, quem Gentes deprecabuntur: veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.

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O Root of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at Whom the kings shall shut their mouths, Whom the Gentiles shall seek, come to deliver us, do not tarry.

Monday, December 18, 2017

O Antiphon: The Law Giver


Now will I rise up, says the LORD, now will I be exalted, now be lifted up.
You conceive dry grass, bring forth stubble; my spirit shall consume you like fire.
The peoples shall be as in a limekiln, like brushwood cut down for burning in the fire.
Hear, you who are far off, what I have done; you who are near, acknowledge my might.
On Zion sinners are in dread, trembling grips the impious: "Who of us can live with the consuming fire? who of us can live with the everlasting flames?"
He who practices virtue and speaks honestly, who spurns what is gained by oppression, Brushing his hands free of contact with a bribe, stopping his ears lest he hear of bloodshed, closing his eyes lest he look on evil--
He shall dwell on the heights, his stronghold shall be the rocky fastness, his food and drink in steady supply.
Your eyes will see a king in his splendor, they will look upon a vast land.
Your mind will dwell on the terror: "Where is he who counted, where is he who weighed? Where is he who counted the towers?"
To the people of alien tongue you will look no more, the people of obscure speech, stammering in a language not understood.
Look to Zion, the city of our festivals; let your eyes see Jerusalem as a quiet abode, a tent not to be struck, Whose pegs will never be pulled up, nor any of its ropes severed.
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 us.
Isaiah 33:10-22

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Jesus said, "Do not think that I have come to abolish the law or the prophets. I have come not to abolish but to fulfill.  Amen, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or the smallest part of a letter will pass from the law, until all things have taken place. Therefore, whoever breaks one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do so will be called least in the kingdom of heaven. But whoever obeys and teaches these commandments will be called greatest in the kingdom of heaven. I tell you, unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter into the kingdom of heaven."
Matthew 5:17-20



The first "O Antiphon" speaks of wisdom and how it created order from the chaos. It was the first time the Word was heard clearly and obediently. Even though Adam and Eve disobeyed (did not hear), God would not abandon the crowning glory of His creation to death. There were always glimmers of hope in early salvation history when the Word was more than an echo, for example, when Noah and Abraham obeyed the commands given them by God.

It was, however, time for the Word to become, in a sense, visible.

Enter Moses.

God was once again speaking His Word, this time through a mouthpiece which only knew how to stutter. The strange and awesome sight of the burning bush, where and when the Word revealed His name for the first time, was just the opening dialog. The ten plagues was a not so subtle way of getting everyone's attention. The parting of the Red Sea was just an exclamation point.

Now, fast forward to Mount Sinai.

The Word was about to become, in a sense, visible.

Recall the scene from the Book of Exodus. God came as a dense cloud. This holy mountain shook from the conversation between God and Moses. The Chosen People were commanded to worthily prepare themselves. Then, on the third day, when God finished speaking to Moses, He then spoke to the Israelites through Moses.

God gave them the Decalogue.

The Word became, in a sense, visible.

Despite it being "ten words" on stone tablets, it is still the undivided Word.

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Fr. Z's reflection can be found here.
Fr. Kirby's reflection can be found here.

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Click here to listen to the chant.

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.

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O Adonai, and Ruler of the house of Israel, Who didst appear unto Moses in the burning bush, and gavest him the law in Sinai, come to redeem us with an outstretched arm!

Sunday, December 17, 2017

O Antiphon: The Coming Of Wisdom


"The LORD begot me, the first-born of his ways, the forerunner of his prodigies of long ago;
From of old I was poured forth, at the first, before the earth.
When there were no depths I was brought forth, when there were no fountains or springs of water;
Before the mountains were settled into place, before the hills, I was brought forth;
While as yet the earth and the fields were not made, nor the first clods of the world.

"When he established the heavens I was there, when he marked out the vault over the face of the deep;
When he made firm the skies above, when he fixed fast the foundations of the earth;
When he set for the sea its limit, so that the waters should not transgress his command;
Then was I beside him as his craftsman, and I was his delight day by day,
Playing before him all the while, playing on the surface of his earth; and I found delight in the sons of men.

"So now, O children, listen to me; instruction and wisdom do not reject!
Happy the man who obeys me, and happy those who keep my ways,
Happy the man watching daily at my gates, waiting at my doorposts;
For he who finds me finds life, and wins favor from the LORD;
But he who misses me harms himself; all who hate me love death."
Proverbs 8:22-36

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At that time Jesus said in reply, "I give praise to you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, for although you have hidden these things from the wise and the learned you have revealed them to the childlike. Yes, Father, such has been your gracious will. All things have been handed over to me by my Father. No one knows the Son except the Father, and no one knows the Father except the Son and anyone to whom the Son wishes to reveal him.

"Come to me, all you who labor and are burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am meek and humble of heart; and you will find rest for your selves. For my yoke is easy, and my burden light."

Matthew 11:25-30


Looking at the beginning of this antiphon, I am drawn to the opening of the Gospel of St. John, which is proclaimed at the Mass of Christmas Day:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God.
It is tied together with the creation story found in the first chapter of Genesis. Each day is climaxed by the phrase "Then God said." Each time, the Father, on the breath of the Spirit uttered the Word, His Son, Jesus Christ. "And so it happened." No matter what was created, it came about through the Trinity. The whole of creation from "one end to another" is ordered mightily and sweetly--it is "very good."

Then entered sin.

Then entered the need for salvation.

Throughout salvation history, the Word was uttered repeatedly, from Abraham to Moses to David to the prophets to John the Baptist. Some did heed the Word again, much like Elijah hearing the faint whispering sound (1 Kings 19:11-12). But these utterings were only echoes of Genesis. One knows how faint an echo becomes after the first repetition, no matter how loud the original sound.

So became the need for re-creation. The Word was then uttered "to a virgin betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin's name was Mary." Note that when she accepted ("Behold, I am the handmaid of the Lord. May it be done to me according to your word"), she was not heeding the words of Gabriel. She heard the Word as clearly as the first fruits of creation.

Et Verbum caro factum est. Et habitavit in nobis.

There would be no more echoes.

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Fr. Z's reflection can be found here.
Fr. Kirby's reflection can be found here.

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Click here to listen to the chant.

O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae!

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O Wisdom that comest out of the mouth of the Most High, that reachest from one end to another, and orderest all things mightily and sweetly, come to teach us the way of prudence!

A Week Full Of "O's"

It is always a pleasant surprise when the liturgical calendar and the Gregorian calendar syncronize in a way that gives one a focus upon an event. While it is not a rare event, the infrequency of it does make one pay attention. It's as if God is tapping you on the shoulder and saying, "Here. Look at this."

This can only happen when December 17 falls on Gaudete Sunday. (And how much rose did you see in church?) It's as if the change in color is also highlighting another aspect of the liturgy which will be celebrated later. It seems to say, "Your rejoicing is about to become complete."

All this week, the last "full" week of Advent this year, the Liturgy of the Hours will include some of the most beloved chanted prayer the Church can offer.

From the website of the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops:
The Roman Church has been singing the "O" Antiphons since at least the eighth century. They are the antiphons that accompany the Magnificat canticle of Evening Prayer from December 17-23. They are a magnificent theology that uses ancient biblical imagery drawn from the messianic hopes of the Old Testament to proclaim the coming Christ as the fulfillment not only of Old Testament hopes, but present ones as well. Their repeated use of the imperative "Come!" embodies the longing of all for the Divine Messiah.
As has been this 'blog's tradition, for the next seven days I offer my own very humble reflections upon these liturgical passages. The format has not changed much over the past few years; it has, in a way, become an on-line booklet. It is my hope that my meager musings will give your soul cause to reflect ever more deeply upon the great mystery to be celebrated. May they continue to be a means to finishing your Advent worthily.

In two hours, they begin.

"Venite, venite."

Friday, December 08, 2017

Ora Pro Nobis



As patroness of the United States of America under this title, we are under her care. On this feast day, let us pray for the welfare of our country, that we may continue to be "one nation, under God".
Remember, O most gracious Virgin Mary, that never was it known that anyone that fled to your protection, implored your help, or sought your intercession was left unaided. Inspired by this confidence, I fly to you, O virgin of virgins, my mother; to you I come, before you I stand, sinful and sorrowful. O Mother of the Word Incarnate, despise not my petitions, but in your mercy hear and answer them. Amen.
St. Bernard

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Originally posted 12/8/2005.
Re-posted 12/8/2006.
Re-posted 12/8/2015.
Re-posted 12/8/2016.

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

In Memory Of...

Francis Joseph Rolling
Born: March 24, 1935
Died: December 5, 1991
Requiescat In Pace.

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Originally posted 12/5/2005.
Re-posted 12/5/2008.
Re-posted 12/5/2009.
Re-posted 12/5/2010.
Re-posted 12/5/2011.
Re-posted 12/5/2012.
Re-posted 12/5/2013.
Re-posted 12/5/2014.
Re-posted 12/5/2015.
Re-posted 12/5/2016.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Advent Prayer

O Lovely Infant Jesus, You will abide with me once more.
O that I might prepare for You an agreeable dwelling place in my heart.
Jesus, Almighty Savior, come to my aid!
Bless me, hands of my infant Savior!
May Your love remain in my heart, dear Jesus!
Be born again in me.
Bless me and give me simplicity of heart, humility, and obedience.

St. John Neumann (1811-1860)

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Originally posted 11/26/2005.
Re-posted 11/29/2008.
Re-posted 11/28/2009.
Re-posted 11/27/2010.
Re-posted 11/26/2011.
Re-posted 12/2/2012.
Re-posted 11/30/2013.
Re-posted 11/29/2014.
Re-posted 11/28/2015.
Re-posted 11/29/2016.

Less Prep Time



Last year, we had four full weeks.

This year, because December 24 falls on Sunday, we are "missing" six days.

It's a moot point.

Advent is here.

Regardless of its length, the time to "prepare the way of the Lord" so we can "see the salvation of our God" is at hand.

Readying ourselves for the birth of Jesus seems much easier than readying ourselves for His death (Lent). We are missing the point. Both "purple" seasons are about new life; we look forward to the two biggest solemnities of the year (the Incarnation and the Resurrection) and give renewed effort to "make straight His path" to our hearts and souls. The work of the interior life is just that. But we must make the time to make the work to make it work.

So amid the decorating (the first thing should be the Advent wreath), the gifting, the baking, and the partying should be praying, meditating, contemplating, and sacramental doing. Balancing Mary and Martha is always a challenge. But by paying attention to the "reason for the season", we hope not to issue the veiled complaint of Martha and instead have "the better portion".

Find the time to watch and wait, like the Blessed Virgin Mary. (If you think about it, her "advent" was nine months long.) Let the Holy Spirit be the true "spirit of the season". Prepare a place for the Christ Child, unlike the inn keeper.

Do it soon.

This year, you don't have a lot of time.

Friday, December 01, 2017

December 2017 Morning Offering Prayer Intention

Here is the intention for this month when reciting the Morning Offering:
The Elderly.  That the elderly, sustained by families and Christian communities, may apply their wisdom and experience to spreading the faith and forming the new generations.
A reflection for this intention is found here.

Thursday, November 30, 2017

Mediation For Advent

Hail and blessed be the hour and the moment in which the Son of God was born of the most pure Virgin Mary, at midnight, in Bethlehem, in piercing cold. In that hour vouchsafe, O my God, to hear my prayer and grant my desires, through the merits of Our Savior Jesus Christ, and of His Blessed Mother. Amen.

To be recited 15 times a day from the Feast of St. Andrew's (November 30) until Christmas.

(Fedora Doff to Drew at the Shrine of the Holy Whapping.)

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Originally posted 12/1/2005.
Re-posted 11/29/2008.
Re-posted 11/28/2009.
Re-posted 11/27/2010.
Re-posted 11/26/2011.
Re-posted 12/2/2012.
Re-posted 11/30/2013.
Re-posted 11/29/2014.
Re-posted 11/28/2015.
Re-posted 11/30/2016.

Sunday, November 26, 2017

Royal Hymn

In honor of the Feast of Christ the King, I present excerpts of the hymn Christus Vincit as it was chanted at the 2010 CMAA Winter Chant Intensive. (In case you want to know what I look like, I am the first one in the front pew with the rest of the men.)



The text and translation is courtesy of The Parish Book of Chant.

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Christus vincit! Christus regnat! Christus imperat!

Exaudi, Christe.

Benedicto, Summo Pontifici, in unum populos doctrina congreganti caritate: Pastori gratia gregi obsequentia.

Salvator mundi, Tu illum adjuva.
Sancta Maria, Tu illum adjuva.
Sancte Petre, Tu illum adjuva.
Sancte Paule, Tu illum adjuva.
Sancte Benedicte, Tu illum adjuva.

Rex regum! Rex noster! Spes nostra! Gloria nostra!

Magistratibus et omnibus concivibus nobiscum orantibus: cordis vera quies votorum effctus.

Auxilium christianorum, Tu illos adjuva.
Sancte Michael, Tu illos adjuva.
Sancte Benedicte, Tu illos adjuva.

Ipsi soli imperium, laus et jubilatio per infinita saecula saeculorum. Amen.

Tempora bona habeant! Tempora bona habeant redempti Sanguine Christi.

Feliciter!

Pax Christi veniat! Regnum Christi veniat! Deo Gratias! Amen.

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Christ conquers! Christ reigns! Christ commands!

Give ear, O Christ!

To the Supreme Pontiff [Benedict], who gathereth into one all peoples through doctrine, in charity: let there be dignity for our Shepherd, and obedience for his flock.

O Saviour of the world, grant him assistance.
Holy Mary,...
Holy Peter,...
Holy Paul,...
Holy Benedict,...

King of Kings! Our King! Our hope! Our glory!

To the magistrates and all fellow citizens praying with us: let the effect of their devotions be true rest for the heart.

O help of Christians, grant them assistance.
Holy Michael,...
Holy Benedict,...

Let all power, praise, and jubilation be to Him alone, through endless ages to ages. Amen.

May they have prosperous times! May they have prosperous times by the redemptive Blood of Christ!

Joyously!

Let the Peace of Christ come! Let the Reign of Christ come! Thanks be to God! Amen.

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Originally posted 11/20/2011.
Re-posted 11/25/2012.
Re-posted 11/23/2014.
Re-posted 11/22/2015.
Re-posted 11/20/2016.

Christus Rex


To Jesus Christ, our Sov'reign King,
Who is the world's salvation,
All praise and homage do we bring,
And thanks and adoration.

Refrain:  Christ Jesus Victor, Christ Jesus Ruler!
Christ Jesus, Lord and Redeemer!

2. Thy reign extend, O King benign,
To ev'ry land and nation,
For in Thy kingdom, Lord divine,
Alone we find salvation.

(Refrain)

3. To Thee and to Thy Church, great King,
We pledge our hearts' oblation,
Until before Thy throne we sing,
In endless jubilation.

(Refrain)

From the 2 Hearts Network, here is a link to prayers specifically about our King of Kings and Lord of Lords.

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Originally posted 11/25/2007.
Re-posted 11/21/2010.
Re-posted 11/25/2012.
Re-posted 11/24/2013.
Re-posted 11/23/2014.
Re-posted 11/22/2015.
Re-posted 11/20/2016.

Thursday, November 23, 2017

2017 Thanksgiving Day Card






May God, the giver of all good things, continue to bestow His blessings upon you. May He, Who knows us and our deepest desires before we were made, continue to be gracious to us. May we bless Him by raising our hymns of thanks and praise for all He has done for us.

Happy Thanksgiving, Everybody!