A Brief History of the O Antiphons…..

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Today (Dec. 17th) marks one week until the Feast of Our Lord’s Nativity and the celebration of God’s coming among us. One of the traditional ways in which the Church prepares itself for this miraculous event is to recite the O Antiphons one by one in the lead-up to Christmas.

Usually attached to the Magnificat during Vespers (or in my case, Evening Prayer), the antiphons–which is a fancy word for “response”–helps the faithful to remember the promises of God made in the Old Testament…promises which are revealed to be eternal and kept faithfully by God through the sending of his Son into the world.

Each response recited invokes a different title and role of the Son who saves us….not only looking forward to the hope of Incarnation and advent…but in looking back through salvation’s history to see the loving face of our Father.

Since my schedule is busy this upcoming week and I don’t know how often I will get to post my thoughts on the Daily Office readings, I have decided at the very least to offer a short reflection on the O Antiphon appointed for each day :). I hope you enjoy, and that it offers some light to your path as we move ever-closer to threshold of the manger. +

Evening Prayer: December 15th (Combo Post)

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Psalms: 50, 59, 60
Old Testament: Zech 4:1-14
New Testament: Rev 4:9-5:5
Gospel: Matt 3:1-12
Reading from the Magisterium of the Church: An excerpt from The Dogmatic Constitution on Divine Revelation

Deliver me from my enemies, O my God;
protect me from those who rise up against me.
Deliver me from those who work evil;
from the bloodthirsty save me.

Even now they lie in wait for my life;
the mighty stir up strife against me.
For no transgression or sin of mine, O Lord,
for no fault of mine, they run and make ready. (Psalm 59:1-4)

All of this week, I’ve been in a particulary reflective mood; in part from contemplating the picture above. This image of Mary shocked over the results of a pregnancy test has been put up on a billboard in New Zealand and portrays the Theotokos in a very human light.

As I read Psalm 59 tonight, I imagine that some of the feelings described would definitely popped through Mary’s mind…especially in those first few months.

Sometimes we forget the true scandal of the Incarnation…and the fact that Mary likely would have been stoned if Joseph had truly desired it.

I can imagine Mary’s horror and uncertainty of her own future when she realized that God had indeed kept his promise and she was carrying a child.

Sure we get the story of the Annunciation in Luke…but saying “yes” to something is very different from being faced with the reality of social rejection, gossip, and religious alienation.

Unfortunately, the stigma attached to unwed mothers has not completely disappeared from our culture….and millions of women throughout the world must deal with unfair labels, insults, and degradation.

Yes…we get Mary’s song in which she proclaims that her soul magnifies the Lord….but that’s not until six months after the whole ordeal begins….when she is comfortable with her mission to the world, and her vocation to be a blessed and loving mother.

For tonight….we wrestle with the doubt and the worry……tonight we are made distinctly uncomfortable. :S +

Before Gaudete Sunday finishes…….

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I can’t help myself…..I gotta post this picture again……I can only break it out once a year.

Yep. that’s the Pope. In pink. #winning!

If you haven’t already done so my friends and blog visitors….please cast your vote in the charity poll in the sidebar. 🙂

Morning Prayer: Sunday of Advent 3

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Psalm: 63, 98
Old Testament: Amos 9:1-15
New Testament: 2 Thes. 2:1-3, 13-17

Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself and God our Father, who loved us and through grace gave us eternal comfort and good hope, comfort your hearts and strengthen them in every good work and word. (2 Thes 2:16-17)

Gaudete! Gaudete! Rejoice my friends….we are halfway towards Christmas 😀

It’s good to be back on the blog…..and to be honest, I have missed it…..Amazing how prayer and interacting with people about Scripture can become such a routine that it seems there’s something wrong when it can’t be done on a regular basis.

In his correspondence with the church in Thessolonica (and indeed through all the readings appointed for this third Sunday of Advent), Paul takes great to bless those whom he ministers to….and encourages them to go about their lives not only with a sense of direction and grace….but with a sense of gladness…..so that leads me to a question for you to contemplate today.

Where do you find your spiritual joy??? Is it through your work? Family? Friends? Pet? What makes your soul sing? I would love to hear your responses if you care to leave a comment….Be blessed as we wait for the coming of the Lord my dear readers! 🙂 +

Evening Prayer: Nov. 6th (Combo Post)

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Psalms: 26, 28, 36, 39
Old Testament: Amos 7:10-17
New Testament: Rev 1:9-16
Gospel: Matthew 22:34-46
Reading from the Magisterum of the Church: An excerpt from the Dogmatic Constitution of Vatican II

Must……post…….to…….blog……..UGH! Busy busy times here at A Year in the Office (read: “Busy times in the life of its author”)……but here I am…..

Happy Sinterklaass Day. I hope St. Nicholas came and put some goodies in your wooden shoe…Speaking of which, I got a pretty awesome gift left for me….but it arrived a little earlier in the week.

On Sunday, the Bishop announced his intention to ordain me as a (transitional) Deacon in the Anglican Church of Canada!!! :D.

I’m super excited as this is part of a dream I have had since I was a kid……but more than that I hope I can continue to do good ministry…..the collar is useless if you’re no earthly good.

Like the Gospel reading for tonight, we all need to remember that the act of loving God and neighbour is about what we do not just by what we believe and confess with our mouth.

The love that we have for God can only be felt and shown by manifesting it physically….after all, Jesus came in the flesh….to the world of sense…..and was surrounded by the sick, the weak, and the diseased. Our inheritance is not based on a promise to David (although we can place our hope in it)…but in having the Word of God inscribed in our hearts…..which is the perpetual neon sign of the Old Testament that the people always seem to ignore.

As we travel in a spirit of preparing the way for the Messiah……we might ask how we can remove the roadblocks that restrict his entry. +

Evening Prayer: Feast of St. Andrew (Nov. 30th)

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Psalms: 96, 100
Old Testament: Isaiah 55:1-5
New Testament: John 1:35-40

One of the two who heard John speak and followed him was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first found his brother Simon and said to him, ‘We have found the Messiah’ (which is translated Anointed). He brought Simon to Jesus, who looked at him and said, ‘You are Simon son of John. You are to be called Cephas’ (which is translated Peter). (John 1:40-42)

As it was a feast day today, and a Wednesday, I went to the regular Eucharist offered at the Cathedral. During his sermon, the Dean of the Cathedral reflected on his relationship with his older sister….with whom he shares a 12 year age gap.

The reading from this afternoon was from Matthew’s Gospel where Peter gets called first along with Andrew……and here in John’s account, Andrew is the one who tells his older sibling about this new-found Messiah.

Despite the difference in order, I think the central part of his homily remains true. When we are brought to faith…..we need the guidance and tacit approval of people whom we love, trust and respect.

Whether it is an older brother, or younger one (or sister for that matter)……I encourage you to reflect this evening on who your mentors have been. Who in your life has helped you discern who you are and what you are uniquely gifted to do????

Along with this question, I think it’s also important to consider the other side of the coin: In what ways are we motivators and mentors for others??? Are our lives reflecting the Light that never fades??? Are we living the example of hope and expectation that is part of this pre-Christmas season??? What are you inviting people to come and see? +

P.S. Don’t forget to vote on my poll in the sidebar for charity! Thanks & pax Christi!

Morning Prayer: Feast of St. Andrew (Nov. 30th)

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Psalm: 34
Old Testament: Isaiah 49:1-6
New Testament: 1 Cor 4:1-16

We are fools for the sake of Christ, but you are wise in Christ. We are weak, but you are strong. You are held in honour, but we in disrepute. To the present hour we are hungry and thirsty, we are poorly clothed and beaten and homeless, 12and we grow weary from the work of our own hands. (1 Cor 4:10-11)

I freaking love this passage of Scripture! 🙂 Why, you ask? Not because of the poetic language…..though it surely has that quality….but I love this quote because it reminds me that it’s OK to be sarcastic/tongue and cheek and Christian at the same time.

I have yet to find a commentator who agrees with me on this…..but I’m fairly certain that St. Paul is throwing a light jab to the Corinthian community under the guise of advice.

My evidence for this is based back in chapter one where he says that God’s weakness is greater than human strength and that:

God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong; God chose what is low and despised in the world, things that are not, to reduce to nothing things that are, so that no one might boast in the presence of God. (1 Cor 1:27-28)

So when Paul calls the leaders of the church strong, and he himself weak….he is mocking them slightly and kind of saying Hahaha! I am better than you! 🙂

Now….do I think Paul’s intention is mean-spirited??? No. It is meant as a comment that the people can latch on to…..to recognize where they are going wrong…..and as a message to the people of Corinth to exercise more humility.

It’s passages like these that remind me that Paul, Andrew, and the other saints were human beings. They had their own style of preaching, their own foibles, and even their own sense of humour.

As we move further into Advent, let us strive to be weak, despised, and lower than anyone else. As a Christian people this is a calling of service…..in stark contrast to the culture of individualism we come across every day in North America. +

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