King of peace

Daily Reading for December 23

O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel, our King and Lawgiver,

the Desire of all Nations, and their Saviour:

Come and save us,

O Lord our God.

From The Greater Antiphons At Evensong During Eight Days Before Christmas from the Salisbury Antiphonary, edited by John Mason Neale and Thomas Helmore, in Hymnal Noted: Parts I and II (London: Novello, 1856).

O Emmanuel!

King of peace! You enter today the city of your predilection,

the city in which you have placed your temple—Jerusalem.

A few years hence the same city will give you your cross and your sepulchre:

nay, the day will come on which you will set up your judgment-seat

within sight of her walls.

But today you enter the city of David and Solomon unnoticed and unknown.

It lies on your road to Bethlehem.

Your blessed Mother and Joseph her spouse would not lose the opportunity

of visiting the temple, there to offer to the Lord their prayers and adoration.

They enter; and then, for the first time, is accomplished the prophecy of Aggeus,

that great shall be the glory of this last house more than of the first;

for this second temple has now standing within it an ark of the Covenant

more precious than was that which Moses built;

and within this ark, which is Mary,

is contained the God whose presence makes her the holiest of sanctuaries.

The Lawgiver himself is in this blessed ark,

and not merely, as in that of old, the tablet of stone on which the Law was graven.

The visit paid, our living ark descends the steps of the temple,

and sets out once more for Bethlehem, where other prophecies are to be fulfilled.

We adore you, O Emmanuel! in this your journey,

and we reverence the fidelity wherewith you fulfill

all that the prophets have written of you;

for you would give to your people the certainty of your being the Messiah,

by showing them that all the marks, whereby he was to be known,

are to be found in you.

And now, the hour is near; all is ready for your birth;

come then, and save us;

come, that you may not only be called our Emmanuel,

but our Jesus, that is, he that saves us.

From The Liturgical Year, volume 1, Advent by Abbott Prosper Louis Paschal Guéranger, O.S.B. (Westminster, Md.: The Newman Press, 1948). Translation by Dom Laurence Shepherd, O.S.B., ca. 1867. Text lightly modernized.

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