‘Children, it is the last hour,’ writes St. John in the passage we heard from his first letter at Mass today. Apropos, to say the least, on this final day of 2014. But it was the Gospel reading—also from John—that really caught my attention this morning: To my ear, at least, a pitch-perfect summary of the season…and the year we are about to conclude.
Monthly Archives: December 2014
One of the first things you notice when you enter the gymnasium at De Smet Jesuit High School are the championship banners. There are literally dozens of them lining the walls, hailing the stellar seasons of bygone teams in basketball, soccer and many other sports.
Now, you won’t find the names of my sons — both De Smet alums — listed on any of the banners. They had the misfortune of inheriting their father’s athletic genes. (Ahem!) Even so, I experienced a triumphant homecoming of sorts on Christmas Eve, when our eldest son packed ’em in for another venerable school tradition.
This time of year, the stars seem especially bright.
It’s almost as if the sky is clearer…and the heavens are closer to earth… than they are in the summertime.
Our wait nearly over, our hearts are filled with joy as we pray:
O Emmanuel, our King, and Giver of Law:
come to save us, Lord our God!
To You we look, Lord Jesus, as we humbly await your coming at Christmas and pray:
O King of all nations and keystone of the Church:
come and save man, whom you formed from the dust!
On this, the shortest day of the year (in the northern hemisphere), we look with longing to our true Light, as we pray:
O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice:
come and shine on those who dwell in darkness
and in the shadow of death!
In part because we so often feel captive to the demands and stresses of a commercialized holiday season, we pray:
O Key of David,
opening the gates of God’s eternal Kingdom:
come and free the prisoners of darkness!
As Advent draws to a close, our impatience grows…and we pray:
O Root of Jesse’s stem,
sign of God’s love for all his people:
come to save us without delay!
As the countdown to Christmas continues in these last days of Advent, we pray the next of the ‘O Antiphons’:
O Leader of the House of Israel,
giver of the Law to Moses on Sinai:
come to rescue us with your mighty power!
We’re heading in to the home stretch of our Advent season of anticipation. You can tell, because today we began the countdown of the ‘O Antiphons’…a thousand-year-old liturgical tradition that will continue through Christmas Eve. So perhaps a pause is in order, to savor the first in the series:
O Wisdom of our God Most High,
guiding creation with power and love:
come to teach us the path of knowledge!