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The Great O Antiphons: Dec. 17

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  • Br. Jerome Leo
    +PAX A re-run, but hope it brightens your late Advent prayers! December 17 O Wisdom, You came forth from the mouth of the Most High, and reaching from
    Message 1 of 236 , Dec 17, 2008

      A re-run, but hope it brightens your late Advent prayers!

      December 17
      "O Wisdom, You came forth from the mouth of the Most High, and
      reaching from beginning to end, You ordered all things mightily and
      sweetly. Come and teach us the way of prudence."

      Much of what I write to you about the O Antiphons comes from what Abbot
      Lawrence of St. Augustine's Abbey, Ramsgate , Kent, told us in his conferences.
      added a thing or two to this one, as well. These Great Antiphons, which are
      sung at the Magnificat of Vespers during the last days before Christmas, are
      among the oldest and most poetic parts of the Western Liturgy. Their language soars
      and waxes in elegance that one rarely finds in later forms. Yet, in all that
      exquisite poetry, awesome theology, more to the point, Christology abounds.

      The Old Testament treats of Wisdom as the eldest daughter of
      creation, but also as a co-creator with God. Many of the OT
      references are commonly (and easily,) applied to the Holy Spirit, but
      this antiphon clearly applies them to Jesus.

      A recurring theme in the O Antiphons is the ascription of qualities
      of Yahweh to Christ, underlining the fact that all of God's divinity
      is Christ's as well. The phrase here "from beginning to end" stresses
      the eternal divinity of Christ, before all time, and the fact that
      He "ordered all things mightily and sweetly" recalls the role of the
      Logos, the Word, as creator of all things in the Prologue to St.
      John's Gospel.His might is gentle, not harsh, He is forceful and
      holds a creator's power, but sweetly, bearing these two traits, not
      in contrast, but in perfect, divine complement.

      Think of the greatest and most effective security protection imaginable, now
      think of that with none of the harsh sides of such power, but with the utmost
      tenderness of the gentlest of mothers. Multiply that image by infinity and
      you might have a faint fraction of the tenderness of God which enfolds His utter
      and absolute power. We have learned (often quite rightly!) to fear power, yet in
      God the power is to nurture, to love, to caress, not to harm. He cares deeply
      for all He orders "mightily and sweetly" and that especially includes us!

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
    • Br. Jerome Leo
      +PAX Prayers for the eternal rest of Jerome and Louise, my parents, on the 65th anniversary of their wedding. Thanks all, for your prayers for them. Prayers
      Message 236 of 236 , Aug 30, 2016



        Prayers for the eternal rest of Jerome and Louise, my parents, on the 65th anniversary of their wedding. Thanks all, for your prayers for them.


        Prayers for Ken, in his 80’s, his cancer is in his lungs now and hospice care has been called, he is deteriorating rapidly. Prayers, too, for his wife, for Janet and Mel and Barry. Prayers for Ken’s happy death and for all who will mourn him.


        Prayers for Max’s older brother who is developmentally disabled. He faced years of medical complications in the past and was able to overcome difficulties. Now with age he faces possible surgery again and heightened risk during procedure because he is not totally independent of an oxygen vent which helps him to breathe. His elderly mother is distraught. May it be possible that physical ailment can be handled without surgery. Prayers for his Mom and all the family. All in accordance with God's will. 


        Please prayers for Sean, with a recovering alcoholic mother, who is full of hate. Diagnosed with PTSD, anxiety, depression, bipolar. Please bring him peace. Prayers, too, for his Mom and all his family.


        Deo gratias, Georgia, Charlene’s dog, is doing well at home, continued prayers for her recovery.


        Lord, help us all as You know and will. God's will is best. All is mercy and grace. God is never absent, praise Him! Thanks so much. JL

        May 1, August 31, December 31
        Chapter 73: On the Fact That the Full Observance of Justice Is Not
        Established in This Rule

        Now we have written this Rule
        in order that by its observance in monasteries
        we may show that we have attained some degree of virtue
        and the rudiments of the religious life.

        But for those who would hasten to the perfection of that life
        there are the teaching of the holy Fathers,
        the observance of which leads to the height of perfection.
        For what page or what utterance
        of the divinely inspired books of the Old and New Testaments
        is not a most unerring rule for human life?
        Or what book of the holy Catholic Fathers
        does not loudly proclaim
        how we may come by a straight course to our Creator?
        Then the Conferences and the Institutes
        and the Lives of the Fathers,
        as also the Rule of our holy Father Basil --
        what else are they but tools of virtue
        for right-living and obedient monks?
        But for us who are lazy and ill-living and negligent
        they are a source of shame and confusion.

        Whoever you are, therefore,
        who are hastening to the heavenly homeland,
        fulfill with the help of Christ
        this minimum Rule which we have written for beginners;
        and then at length under God's protection
        you will attain to the loftier heights of doctrine and virtue
        which we have mentioned above.


        I used to love to teach 8th graders. At the top of a kindergarten
        through 8th grade school, they thought they had REALLY arrived, they
        were very pleased with themselves! My 8th graders knew that I loved
        them, so I could afford to tease them a bit. I used to narrow my
        eyes into a fake menacing gaze and say: "Ah, now you're the top, but next
        year? Next year you will be FRESHMEN! The lowest of the low! Just
        wait till high school." And they would laugh, secure in the fact
        that I MUST be joking....

        Well, folks, the beauty of this last chapter is that is tells us we
        are ALL eighth graders, if even that. We'd do well to take St.
        Benedict seriously on this one, but I'll bet he smiled with the same
        affection I used to show to my kids. Three times a year we read the
        Holy Rule entirely and three times a year he lovingly shakes us
        awake to the reality that we will for all of our lives, always be
        freshmen next year!

        That's the Benedictine surprise that's wrapped in conversion of
        manners: we never "arrive", we're not so hot as we thought ourselves
        to be, we are just barely ready for the next step.
        This is VERY different from the self-loathing we spoke about
        yesterday with the bitter zeal. This is the true self-knowledge, the
        smiling, even shrugging acceptance of the fact that we are just on
        the way, nothing special there!

        God is so vast and beyond us, we are always taking the tumbling
        first steps of toddlers towards Him, but He is always holding on and
        beaming with the pride and love of a parent guiding those steps. Our
        Holy Rule is filled with awesome things, yet it is only
        the "rudiments" of the spiritual life!

        Eighth graders, eighth graders all, but ah, what a high school

        Love and prayers,
        Jerome, OSB
        Petersham, MA









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