The Lord is at hand: come, let us adore him.
Year: A(I). Psalm week: 4. Liturgical Colour: Violet.
O Rex gentium!
O Rex géntium
et desiderátus eárum,
qui facis útraque unum:
veni et salva hóminem,
quem de limo formásti.
“O King of the peoples, whom they long for, the cornerstone, who make the two into one: come and save man, whom you made from clay.”
In this, the penultimate of the seven great antiphons to the Magnificat at Vespers which count down the days to Christmas, two new images appear. Jesus is now no longer the king just of Israel, but of all the peoples, who long to be united under his kingship. He is, then, like the stone at the corner of two walls, or (by an ancient and praiseworthy conflation) the keystone which, merely by being there, stops the two sides of an arch from collapsing inwards. These inanimate, even mineral images are appropriate because after all we ourselves are minerals given life by God. As Genesis says, “The Lord God fashioned man of dust from the soil. He breathed into his nostrils a breath of life, and thus man became a living being.” And Isaiah adds, “We are the clay, you the potter, we are all the work of your hand.”
About the author of the Second Reading in today's Office of Readings:
Second Reading: St Bede the Venerable (673 - 735)
Bede was born in the north of England, near the monastery of Wearmouth. He joined that monastery, and spent all his life there or at Jarrow, teaching and writing. He was the outstanding ecclesiastical author of his time. He wrote commentaries on Scripture; an ecclesiastical history of the English people, which is a unique and irreplaceable resource for much of early English history; and the first martyrology (collection of saints’ lives) to be compiled on historical principles. He was also the first known writer of English prose, though this has not survived. He died at Jarrow on 25 May 735, teaching and working until the last moments of his life. He is venerated as the “light of the Church” in the Dark Ages, and as a forerunner of the 8th and 9th century renaissance of the Western Church.
Liturgical colour: violet
Violet is a dark colour, ‘the gloomy cast of the mortified, denoting affliction and melancholy’. Liturgically, it is the colour of Advent and Lent, the seasons of penance and preparation.
|Mid-morning reading (Terce)||Micah 5:3-4 ©|
He will stand and feed his flock with the power of the Lord, with the majesty of the name of his God. They will live secure, for from then on he will extend his power to the ends of the land. He himself will be peace.
|Noon reading (Sext)||Haggai 2:6,9 ©|
A little while now, and I am going to shake the heavens and the earth, the sea and the dry land. The new glory of this Temple is going to surpass the old, and in this place I will give peace – it is the Lord of Hosts who speaks.
|Afternoon reading (None)||Malachi 3:20-21 ©|
For you who fear my name, the sun of righteousness will shine out with healing in its rays; you will leap like calves going out to pasture. You will trample on the wicked, who will be like ashes under your feet on the day I am preparing, says the Lord of Hosts.