Gliding slowly through the last days of Advent....tomorrow evening, the O Antiphons will begin - and we approach the great moment when God, having taken on the human condition at Jesus' conception, will travail into the world, born as the child of a human mother. In these antiphons, we remember the forbears, the history and meaning that inhabit salvation history, all that has led up to the moment of the birth in Bethlehem.
(For a really good explanation of the history and meaning of the O Antiphons, check out this article at the CERC website )
So, what do they mean for us today?
O Sapientia (O Wisdom) - our nation and indeed the whole world are crying out for wisdom in the face of war, financial meltdown, global warming, epidemics, health care debates, clashes over gay marriage, abortion, and more. Lord, help us to become single-hearted and wise in your ways, and less focused on the many opposing points of view.
O Adonai (O Lord) - in a post-modern age when all authority seems irrelevant, we need the stability of a being who always was and always will be. Lord, open our ears to hear your steady, reassuring voice amid the din of so many strident voices.
O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse) - in a culture where the elderly, the past and a sense of rootedness are all threatened by a mobile society seemingly bent on eliminating all connections except those we choose, we need to reconnect with our roots. Lord, connect us, through one another, through the Church throughout all time, to you.
O Clavis David (O Key of David) - as the fellow sinners of King David, our forefather in faith, we acknowledge that only God can turn our brokenness into possibility. Lord, help us move beyond our dark places so that we might cooperate in your great plan for us.
O Oriens (O Rising Sun) - we need the hope that comes from the Risen One who endured the night of suffering and death to rise again. Lord, free us to see the seeds of new life in our darkest moments, remembering that you showed us the way by your Paschal Mystery.
O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations) - the whole world seeks guidance and healing, the stability of your power to guide us. Lord, may we seek only to further your reign over the earth, when justice, peace and dignity will be shared by all.
O Emmanuel (God With Us) - you promised to be with us, even to the end of the age; we are so much greater, more loving, and more united with you than we are without you. Lord, bring us closer to you, so that all we do may be for your glory, not ours.