>O Adonai

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O Lord (Exodus 6:2, Vulgate), leader of the house of Israel,
who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush (Exodus 3:2) and on Mount Sinai gave him the law (Exodus 20):
come and free us with your powerful arm (Exodus 15:12-13).

O ADONAI, dux domus Israel,
qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti, et in Sina legem dedisti:
veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extenso.

Also follow along these seven days with Godzdogz, always wonderful.

>O Antiphons: Day One: O Sapientia

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Today begins the O antiphons –
ancient prayers that help prepare us,
our hearts and souls, for the coming of the real Christmas.

O Wisdom, who come from the mouth of the Most High (Sirach 24:5),
you extend to the ends of the earth, and order all things with power and sweetness (Wisdom 8:1):
come and teach us the way of wisdom (Proverbs 9:6).

For you latin geniuses: here you go, you’re welcome:

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

The “O” antiphons begin today! This is a venerable tradition during this advent season, really beautiful, lesser known it seems to me. To see a great link explaining this ancient advent tradition – sort of an old countdown to Christmas – go to Sandro Magister’s place, here.

These are just possibly the original inspiration for Dick Clark’s gig (and really right about the right era…so I’m just saying. Ok, kidding, it’s an old-folks joke. I’m entitled, check out my hair…). Now, I must put a disclaimer in here. I was raised in the era when teaching kids about the truths of our faith and the Church meant spending Sunday school classes making felt banners, by which I mean that I learned little to nothing as a kid and it’s been an steep learning curve as an adult. So forgive my ignorance (but go to the sites to actually learn something from folks who know) and bad jokes, it’s been a long punchy day I can’t help it.

Really, this is one of the advent traditions and prayers that sneak up on me and I haven’t ever really learned much about it. I always hear them about halfway through, day three or four and think “huh, what are those again?” Well, not this year by golly. This year I’m gonna pay attention, so, you get to as well, if you like.

The short version is this:

From today until the day before Christmas Eve, at the Magnificat during vespers in the Roman rite, seven antiphons are sung, one per day, all of them beginning with an invocation to Jesus, although he is never called by name.

The antiphons are very old, going back to the time of Pope Gregory the Great, around the year 600. They are in Latin, and are inspired by the texts of the Old Testament proclaiming the Messiah.”

I know, another Catholic thing. But really, this time of year is so rich and layered and gorgeous. It’s the beginning of the liturgical year and it’s simply glorious. Catholic Culture website also has a good explanation. So, check it out. Enjoy. {And just for the record: the prayers during these days are copied from Sandro Magister’s site, thank you, and the pics are random classics but also from excellent sources such as Godzdogz and other great Catholic sites.}

h/t American Papist

>Feast of St. Nicholas

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Painting by Paolo Veronese

Today is the feast of St. Nicholas!
You know, Santa Claus. St. Nick.

It’s Advent! What better feast can you find in this season of preparation?

The timing here is always perfect, more so for us this year.
Miss M has been asking the classic kid question of the season: “Is Santa Clause real?”
Sigh.
“Yes. Santa Clause is St. Nicholas and he is real.”
That usually suffices for now, but as my eldest said “Ah, it’s over Mom. She knows.”
Maybe. But not enough to run with it and declare it out loud, it’s one more year of the shiver of wonder, the fading “maybe.”
So we’ll take it and run with it too.

But even so, today is the feast of the real St. Nicholas and it’s a fun thing to remember and celebrate. The most common thing to do is to set out shoes and fill them with a few gifts, sort of an early stocking but with a shoe. I always intend to do this. I have never managed it. But it sounds like fun! This site has a lot more ideas too on how to mark this day.

Painting by Otto Van Veen

So my girl might be figuring out the logistics of the secular Santa fun. But the real St. Nicholas is still worth knowing and remembering today. His greatest gift was not the legendary gifts he left in the night but his staunch defense of the Church and her teachings and his faith. And that is all the more reason to celebrate this saint, especially at this time of year.

The legend of Santa Claus, Kris Kringle, Jolly Old St Nick, is great fun and we play along too. But of course it is advent and we prepare for the coming of Jesus, the incarnation and it is in this that we meet with the message of St. Nicholas and the import this season. Buddybug’s professor made a great point about this in a lecture this week, go see, a little gift of something to ponder during these cold nights leading up to Christmas.

The St. Nicholas Society has a good set of prayers for this day, here. But I’ll leave this one below, a good one to try, maybe that plus setting out some shoes and sweets….

Good St Nicholas,

Help us prepare for the miracle of the coming of Jesus.
Help us not to be blind to the gifts of getting ready.
Help us be sincere in the greetings we send and receive, with love and prayer.

Kind St. Nicholas, protect us from fatigue, stress, overspending,
yet help us to be kind and generous of heart to all,
especially those who are alone, financially poor and fearful.


May our celebration of your feast lead others to see the true meaning of giving and receiving
and guide all people to
the greatest of all gifts, Jesus Christ, prince of peace and child of Mary,
Our Lord and only Savior.


Amen.