Thursday, December 24, 2009

December 25 - The Nativity of Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ

From lands that see the sun arise,
to earth's remotest boundaries,
the Virgin-born today we sing,
the Son of Mary, Christ the King.

Blest Author of this earthly frame,
to take a servant's form He came,
that liberating flesh by flesh,
whom He had made might live afresh.

In that chaste parent's holy womb,
celestial grace hath found its home:
and she, as earthly bride unknown,
yet call that Offspring blest her own.

A Merry Christ's-Mass to all readers!

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The O Antiphons: O Emmanuel (Day 7)

Day 7: O Emmanuel
O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster,
Exspectatio gentium, et Salvator earum:
Veni ad salvandum nos, Domine Deus noster.

O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver,
The hope of the nations and their Savior:
Come and save us, O Lord our God!
Quotes for the day:
And YHWH added to speak to Achaz, saying, "Ask for yourself a sign from YHWH your God. Make it deep as Sheol, or make it high upwards."
And Achaz said, "I will not ask, and I will not test YHWH!"
And he said:
"Hear now, O house of David!
Is it a small thing for you to weary men,
That you weary my God also?
Therefore Adonai Himself will give you a sign.

Behold, the virgin is conceiving and is bearing a son
And will call his name Immanu-El.
Curds and honey he will eat,
For his knowing to reject evil and to choose good;
For before the boy knows to reject evil and to choose good,

Forsaken will be the land which you fear because of her two kings."

Isaiah 7:10-16

And of [Jesus] Christ, the birth was thus:
His mother Mary having been betrothed to Joseph, before their coming together she was found to have conceived from the Holy Spirit, and Joseph her husband being righteous, and not wanting to disgrace her, intented to divorce her privately.
Now on his thinking of these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which in her was begotten is of the Holy Spirit; and she will bear a son, and you will call His name 'Jesus', for He will save His people from their sins."
And all this came to be that it might be fulfilled that was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: "Behold, the virgin will conceive and bear a son, and they will call His name Emmanouel,' which translated is, 'With us is God.'"
And Joseph, having risen from the sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took his wife, and was not knowing her until she bore her son - the first-born, and he called His name 'Jesus'.

-Matthew 1:18-25

"Tomorrow, I will come."

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The O Antiphons: O Rex Gentium (Day 6)

Day 6: O Rex Gentium (O King of the nations)
O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum,
Lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum:
Veni, et salva hominem,
quem de limo formasti.

O King of the nations, and their desire,
The corner-stone, who makes both one:
Come and save man,
which you formed from clay.
Quotes for the day:
And YHWH Elohim formed man - dust from the ground, and breathed into his nose the breath of life; and the man became a living soul.

-Genesis 2:7

A stone which the builders rejected has become a head of the corner;
From YHWH has this been, it is wonderful in our eyes!

-Psalm 118:22-23

And it will happen in the end of the days,
That the mount of YHWH's house will be established as the chief of the mountains,
And it will be lifted up above the hills,
And all the nations will flow into it.
And many peoples will come and say,
"Come, and let us go up to the mountain of YHWH,
To the house of the God of Ya'akov;
And He will teach us of His ways,
And we will walk in His paths."
For from Zion a law will go out,
And a word of YHWH from Yerushalaim.
And He will judge between the nations,
And will render decision for many peoples;
And they will beat their swords to plowshares,
And their spears into pruning-hooks,
Nation will not lift up sword against nation,
Nor will they learn any more - war.
O house of Ya'akov, come and let us walk in the light of YHWH!

-Isaiah 2:2-5

Therefore, hear a word of YHWH, men of scorning,
Ruling this people in Yerushalaim. For you have said,
"We have cut a covenant with death,
And with Sheol we have made a pact,
An overflowing scourge, when it passes by, will not come to us,
For we have made a lie our refuge,
And in deception we have hidden ourselves."

Therefore, thus said Lord YHWH,
"Behold, I am laying a foundation in Zion a stone:
a tested stone, a precious corner-stone, a settled foundation;
He who is believing will not make haste.
And I will make judgment the measuring-line,

And righteousness the plummet;
And hail will sweep away the refuge - the lie,
And the hiding-place will waters overflow.
And your covenant with death will be annulled,

And your pact with Sheol will not stand.
An overflowing scourge, when it passes by, you will be to it for a trampling-place.
From the fullness of its passing over it will seize you,

For morning by morning it will pass over - by day and by night,
And it will be only a trembling to understand the report."

-Isaiah 28:14-19

Therefore remember that you, once Nations in the flesh - who are called "Uncircumcision" by those called "Circumcision" made in the flesh by hands - that you were at that time without Christ, being aliens from the commonwealth of Israel, and strangers to the covenants of the promise, having no hope and without God in the world; and now in Christ Jesus you who once were afar off became near by the blood of the Christ.
For He is our peace, who has made the both one, and has broken down the middle wall of the enclosure, having inactivated the hostility in His flesh - the law of the commandments in ordinances, that the two He might create in Himself into one new man, making peace, and might reconcile both in one body to God through the cross, by killing the hostility in Himself. And having come, He did proclaimed peace to you who were far off and peace to those who were near; because through Him we have the access - we both - in one Spirit to the Father.
Now, therefore, you are no longer strangers and aliens, but fellow-citizens with the saints, and are of the household of God, having been built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus Himself being corner-stone, in whom the whole building, being joined together, grows into a holy sanctuary in the Lord, in whom also you are being built together for a dwelling-place of God in the Spirit.

-Ephesians 2:11-22

Monday, December 21, 2009

The O Antiphons: O Oriens (Day 5)

Day 5: O Oriens (O Rising Sun)

O Oriens,
Splendor lucis aeternae, et sol iustitiae:
Veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris et umbra mortis.

O Rising Sun,
Splendor of light eternal, and sun of righteousness:
Come and shine on those seated in darkness and the shadow of death!
Quotes for the day:
Indeed there is no gloom for her, to whom there was anxiety for her;
Just as in earlier times He humiliated the land of Zvulun and the land of Naftali,
In the latter times He has honored the Way of the Sea, Beyond the Yarden, Galil of the nations.
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light,
Dwellers in a land of death-shadow - upon them light has shined.

-Isaiah 9:1-2

Arise! Shine! For your light comes, and the glory of YHWH has risen upon you!
For behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the people;
And YHWH will arise over you, and His glory upon you will be seen.
And nations will come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawning.

-Isaiah 60:1-2

"For behold, the day will come, burning like a furnace,
And all the arrogant and all who do wickedly will be chaff.
And the day that comes will burn them up," said YHWH Tzevaot, "That it will not leave them root or branch."
"And to you who revere my name the sun of righteousness will rise, with healing in its wings,
And you will go out and skip about like calves from a stall,
And you will trample the wicked, for they will be ashes under the soles of your feet on the day which I am fashioning," said YHWH Tzevaot.
"Remember the law of Mosheh my servant which I commanded him in Chorev for all Israel - statutes and ordinances.
Behold, I am sending to you Eliyah the prophet before the coming of the day of YHWH - the great and the terrible;
And he will turn the heart of fathers to sons, and the heart of sons to their fathers,
Lest I come and strike the land with a ban!"

-Malachi 4:1-6

Now when [Jesus] heard that John had been handed over, He went into Galilaia; and leaving Nazara, He came and settled in Kapharnaoum by-the-sea, in the districts of Zaboulon and Nephtalim, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Esaias the prophet, saying:
Land of Zaboulon, land of Nephtalim, the Way of the Sea, beyond the Iordan, Galilaia of the nations!
The people sitting in darkness have seen a great light, and on those sitting in the region and shadow of death light has dawned.

-Matthew 4:12-16

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The O Antiphons: O Clavis David (Day 4)

Day 4: O Clavis David (O Key of David)

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.

O Key of David, and sceptre of the house of Israel,
Who opens, and no one shuts,
who shuts, and no one opens:
Come, and lead the bound from the prison house,
seated in darkness and the shadow of death!
Quotes for the day:
For a child has been born to us, a son has been given to us,
And the dominion is on his shoulder;
And he called his name Pele Yo'etz (Wonderful Counsellor), El-Gibbor (Mighty God), Avi-ad (Father-forever), Sar shalom (Prince of Peace).
To the increase of his dominion and of peace there will be no end,
Over the throne of David and over his kingdom,
To establish it and to sustain it with justice and with righteousness
Now and to the age.
The zeal of YHWH Tzevaot (YHWH of hosts) will do this.

-Isaiah 9:6-7

And it will happen on that day that I will call my servant, to Elyaqim ben-Chilqiah;
And I will clothe him with your robe,
And with your belt I will strengthen him,
And your dominion I will give to his hand.
And he will be a father to the inhabitant of Jerusalem, and to the house of Judah.
And I will set the key of the house of David on his shoulder;
And he will open, and no one will shut,
And will shut, and no one will open.
And I will fasten him - a peg in a secure place,
And he will become a throne of glory for the house of his father.
And they will hang on him all the glory of the house of his father, the offspring and the issue;

All the small vessels, from vessels of bowls to all vessels of jars.
"In that day" - a declaration of YHWH Tzevaot - "The peg that is fastened in a secure place will give way and will be cut off and fall, and the load on it will be cut off, for YHWH has spoken!"

-Isaiah 22:20-25

Thus says the God YHWH who created the heavens and stretched them out,

Who spread out the earth and its offspring,
Who gives breath to the people on it,
And spirit to those walking in it:
"I, YHWH, have called you in righteousness,
and have held your hand and protected you;
And I have given you for a covenant of people, a light to nations.
To open the eyes of the blind,

To bring out from the dungeon the bound one,
From the house of imprisonment those who dwell in darkness.
I am YHWH - that is my name!
And my glory to another I will not give,
Nor my praise to graven images.
The former things, behold, have come, and new things I declare;

Before they sprout up I cause you to hear."

-Isaiah 42:5-9

And to the angel of the church in Philadelpheia write:
These things says the Holy, the True, who has the key of David,
Who opens and no one shuts, who shuts and no one opens...

-Revelation 3:7

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The O Antiphons: O Radix Jesse (Day 3)

Day 3: O Radix Iesse (O Root of Jesse)

O Radix Iesse, qui stas in signum populorum,
Super quem continebunt reges os suum,
Quem gentes deprecabuntur:
Veni ad liberandum nos, iam noli tardare.

O Root of Jesse, who stand as a sign to the people;
At whom kings shall shut their mouths,
To whom the nations shall entreat:
Come to deliver us, and delay no longer.
Quotes for the day:

And there will come a shoot out from the stem of Yishai,
And a branch from his roots will sprout.

-Isaiah 11:1

And there will be, on that day, a root of Yishai
That will stand for a signal-flag of peoples;
To him nations will resort,
And his rest will be - glory.

-Isaiah 11:10

Behold, my servant will act wisely!
He will be elevated and lifted up, and will be very high.
(Just as many were astonished at you),
So disfigured from a man his appearance, and his form from sons of men,
So will he sprinkle many nations;
Because of him kings will shut their mouth,
For what had not been told them they will see,
And what they had not heard they will understand.

-Isaiah 52:13-15

Therefore receive one another, just as Christ also received us, to the glory of God.
For I say that Christ has become a servant to the circumcision on behalf of the truth of God to confirm the promises to the fathers, and that the nations glorify God for His mercy, as it is written, "For this reason I will confess you among the nations, and sing praises to your name."
And again he says, "Rejoice, O nations, with His people!"
And again, "Praise the Lord, all you nations, and let all the peoples praise Him."
And again Esaias says, "There will be a root of Iessai, and He who rises to rule the nations; in Him the nations will hope."
Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in the believing, that you may abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.

-Romans 15:7-13

Friday, December 18, 2009

The Minor, Trivial Biblical Stuff, Part 1: Of Tallitot in Jesus' Time

Just as I have mentioned in this thread over at Catholic Answers Forums, by "minor stuff" I mean the small, 'trivial' things related to the Bible that never make it in serious high discussion - things such as the Israelites' houses or clothing habits or other such mundane things. The nitpicker that I am, I shall also critique some popular depictions of Biblical life.

You've probably noticed it by now, but this series will be taken from my posts in the CAF thread. Still, I plan to revise some things and to write some blog-original parts along the way - which I shall later post in the thread. ;)

December 18 - The Expectation of Our Lady and St. Mary of the O

December 18! For most of us, it's just a week before Christmas. For those who did their homework, today was the feast of the Expectation of the Blessed Virgin, one of the lesser-known Marian feasts and one which was unfortunately suppressed in the new rite. But for the Mozarabic Rite, this day meant something more: it's the feast of the Annunciation.

Well actually, it was actually one of two such feasts in the old form. The Mozarabic feastday commemorating the Lord's incarnation fell on this day, one of the feasts that fell within Mozarabic Advent*; the Missale Mixtum actually had both the Roman date and the Mozarabic date marked as the feast of the Annunciation, with the December date officially tagged as In Festivitate Annunciationis sancte Marie Virginis, que dicitur de la O ("in the feast of the Annunciation of the holy virgin Mary, which is called 'of the O'"). For the record, the new form of the rite has dropped the Roman date and keeps only the December feast.

The Catholic Encyclopedia says thus on its article of the Expectation:

Owing to the ancient law of the Church prohibiting the celebration of feasts during Lent (a law still in vigour at Milan), the Spanish Church transferred the feast of the Annunciation from 25 March to the season of Advent, the Tenth Council of Toledo (656) assigning it definitely to 18 December. It was kept with a solemn octave. When the Latin Church ceased to observe the ancient custom regarding feasts in Lent, the Annunciation came to be celebrated twice in Spain, viz. 25 March and 18 December, in the calendars of both the Mozarabic and the Roman Rite (Missale Gothicum, ed. Migne, pp. 170, 734). The feast of 18 December was commonly called, even in the liturgical books, "S. Maria de la O", because on that day the clerics in the choir after Vespers used to utter a loud and protracted "O", to express the longing of the universe for the coming of the Redeemer (Tamayo, Mart. Hisp., VI, 485). The Roman "O" antiphons have nothing to do with this term, because they are unknown in the Mozarabic Rite. This feast and its octave were very popular in Spain, where the people still call it "Nuestra Señora de la O".
In simple words: Because of the widespread custom of banning feastdays in Lent (since Lent is supposed to be a time of penitence), the church in Spain, just to play it safe, moved the commemoration of the Annunciation towards Advent, and later definitively in December 18 - a week before Christmas. Then ages later, when the custom was laxed, the Spanish church finally readmitted the March 25 feast; the problem is, since people are now attached to the December 18 date (with it now becoming a tradition of the Spanish church) it was decided that the two feasts just be kept together, producing two feastdays in the calendar which commemorate the same event.

Another Western rite which celebrates the Annunciation in a different date than most of Christendom is the Ambrosian Rite of Milan, which has it on the Sixth Sunday of Advent "for, since no fixed festivals are kept during Lent or Easter Week, it cannot be properly celebrated on 25 March, though it is found there in the Calendar and has an Office in the Breviary." There were two Masses for that day - one for the Sunday itself and one for the Incarnation feast proper.

* It also might be interesting to mention that there are SIX Sundays of Advent in the Mozarabic Rite (like the Ambrosian), as opposed to the Roman four.

The O Antiphons: O Adonai (Day 2)

Day 2: O Adonai

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!

O Adonai, and Leader of the house of Israel,
who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
and gave him the law on Sinai:
Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm!
Quotes for the day:
And Mosheh was tending the flock of Yitro (his father-in-law) priest of Midyan; and he led the flock behind the wilderness and came to the mountain of Elohim, to Chorev. And a messenger of YHWH appeared to him in a flame of fire from the midst of the bush; and he saw, and behold, the bush was burning with fire, and the bush was not consumed.
And Mosheh said, "I will turn aside and see this great sight. Why does the bush not burn up?" And YHWH saw that he turned aside to see, and Elohim called to him from the midst of the bush and said, "Mosheh, Mosheh!" And he said, "Here I am."
And He said, "Do not draw near here! Take your sandals off your feet, for the place on which you are standing is holy ground." And He said, "I am the God of your father, God of Avraham, God of Yitzhaq, and God of Ya'aqov;" and Mosheh hid his face, for he was afraid to look at Elohim.

-Exodus 3:1-6

"Therefore say to the sons of Israel: 'I am YHWH; and I will bring you out from under the burdens of the Egyptians and will snatch you away from their service; and I will redeem you by an outstretched arm and by great judgments.'"

-Exodus 6:6

And He gave to Mosheh, when He had finished speaking with him upon Mount Sinai, two tablets of the testimony: tablets of stone, written by the finger of Elohim...
...And Mosheh turned and went down from the mountain, and the two tablets of the testimony were in his hand, tablets written on both sides: on this and on that were they written. And the tablets were the work of Elohim, and the writing was the writing of Elohim, engraved on the tablets.

-Exodus 31:18; 32:15-16

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The O Antiphons: O Sapientia (Day 1)

Day 1: O Sapientia (O Wisdom)
O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem,
fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia:
Veni, ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.

O Wisdom, coming out from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from end to end,
mightily and sweetly ordering all things:
Come, and teach us the way of prudence!
Quotes for the day:

YHWH possessed me in the beginning of His way, before His deeds of ancient times.
From the age I was appointed, from the beginning, from the ancient times of the land.
When there were no depths I was given birth, when there were no springs heavy with water.
Before the mountains were settled, before the hills, I was given birth,
when He had not yet made land and open places, or the beginning of the dry dust of the world.
When He fixed the heavens, I was there; when He inscribed a circle on the face of the deep,
When he made firm the clouds above, when the fountains of the deep grew strong, When He set for the sea His statute that the waters should not pass over His mouth, when He marked out the foundations of the earth,
Then I was beside Him as a master craftsman; and I was His delight day by day, rejoicing before Him at all times;
Rejoicing in His inhabited world, and my delights were with the sons of man.

-Proverbs 8:22-30

And there will come a shoot out from the stem of Yishai,
And a branch from his roots will sprout.
And the spirit of YHWH will rest on him;
A spirit of wisdom and understanding,
A spirit of counsel and strength,
A spirit of knowledge and fear of YHWH.

-Isaiah 11:1-2

Wisdom will praise her soul, and in the midst of her people she will boast.
In the assembly of the most High will she open her mouth, and before His power she will boast.
"I came out of the mouth of the most High, and like a cloud I covered the earth..."

-Sirach 24:1-3

[Wisdom] reaches from one end to the other with might, and with sweetness orders all things.

-Wisdom of Solomon 8:1

Christ did not send me to baptize, but to proclaim good news - and not with wisdom of words, so that the cross of Christ would not be emptied. For the word of the cross to those indeed perishing is foolishness, and to us - those being saved - it is the power of God, for it is written, "I will destroy the wisdom of the wise, and the understanding of the understanding I will thwart."
Where is the wise? Where the scribe? Where the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since, in the wisdom of God, the world through the wisdom did not know God, it pleased God through the foolishness of the message preached to save those believing.
Since also Jews seek signs and the Greeks ask for wisdom - but we proclaim Christ crucified, to Jews a stumbling block and to nations foolishness, but to those who are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the Power of God and the Wisdom of God, for the foolishness of God is wiser than men, and the weakness of God is stronger than men.
For consider your calling, brothers, that not many were wise according to the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble. But the foolish things of the world did God choose to shame the wise, and the weak things of the world did God choose to shame the strong, and the low things of the world and the despised things did God choose, and the things that are not, that the things that are He may make useless, that no flesh may boast before God.
Of Him you are in Christ Jesus, who became for us Wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification and redemption, that, as it is written, "Let him who boasts boast in the Lord."

-1 Corinthians 1:17-31

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The O Antiphons: Introduction

From Wikipedia:
The O Antiphons are antiphons used at daily prayer in the evenings of the last days of Advent in various liturgical Christian traditions.

Each antiphon is a name of Christ, one of his attributes mentioned in Scripture. They are:

December 17: O Sapientia (O Wisdom)
December 18: O Adonai (O Adonai)
December 19: O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)
December 20: O Clavis David (O Key of David)
December 21: O Oriens (O Morning Star)
December 22: O Rex Gentium (O King of the nations)
December 23: O Emmanuel (O Emmanuel)

In the Roman Catholic tradition, the O Antiphons are sung or recited at Vespers from December 17 to December 23 inclusive...

The hymn O come, O come, Emmanuel (in Latin, Veni Emmanuel) is a lyrical paraphrase of these antiphons in reverse order.

The first letters of the titles taken backwards form a Latin acrostic of "Ero Cras" which translates to "Tomorrow, I will come", mirroring the theme of the antiphons.

According to Fr. William Saunders:
The exact origin of the "O Antiphons" is not known. Boethius (480–524/5) made a slight reference to them, thereby suggesting their presence at that time. At the Benedictine Saint Benedict Abbey of Fleury (now Saint-Benoît-sur-Loire), these antiphons were recited by the abbot and other abbey leaders in descending rank, and then a gift was given to each member of the community. By the eighth century, they were in use in the liturgical celebrations in Rome. The usage of the "O Antiphons" was so prevalent in monasteries that the phrases "Keep your O" and "The Great O Antiphons" were common parlance. One may thereby conclude that in some fashion the "O Antiphons" have been part of Western liturgical tradition since the very early Church.
The Benedictine monks arranged these antiphons with a definite purpose. If one starts with the last title and takes the first letter of each one—Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia—the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, "Tomorrow, I will come". Therefore Jesus, whose coming Christians have prepared for in Advent and whom they have addressed in these seven Messianic titles, now speaks to them: "Tomorrow, I will come." So the "O Antiphons" not only bring intensity to their Advent preparation, but bring it to a joyful conclusion.
...Although the antiphons and dates shown above have been fairly universally recognised throughout western Christendom, an alternative English medieval practice arose of moving all of the antiphons forward by one day (commencing therefore on 16 December) and adding an additional (eighth) antiphon on 23 December, with the acrostic thus becoming Vero cras, "truly, tomorrow". This is the antiphon O Virgo virginum (O Virgin of virgins).
So, from the 17th to the 24th, I'll try to post the respective antiphons for the day.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Forgive us our dust

Fret no more: I am still alive and well, even after a bout of (seasonal, thankfully) influenza and one gruelling test!

Now, an announcement: I apologize for not posting anything in such a long while and for making everyone worry. I'm rather busy these days, leaving me with no time to post properly and edit already existing posts - there are a lot of unfinished and unpublished blog posts waiting to see the light of day. Aside from that, there is also the dreaded writer's block - I'm rather uncertain what to post about these days, and how to post something that crosses my mind. If anyone has something you would like to see tackled on this blog, feel free to post in the comment box!