Redemptive humility

Daily Reading for December 18

O Adonai

O Lord and Ruler of the House of Israel,

Who appearedst unto Moses in a flame of fire in the bush,

and gavest unto him the Law of Sinai:

Come redeem us with a stretched-out arm.

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 Sovereign Lord! O Adonaï! come and redeem us,

not by your power, but by your humility.

Heretofore, you showed yourself to Moses your servant

in the midst of a mysterious flame;

you gave your law to your people amidst thunder and lightning;

now, on the contrary, you come not to terrify, but to save us.

Your chaste Mother having heard the emperor’s edict,

which obliges her and Joseph her spouse to repair to Bethlehem,

prepares everything needed for your divine birth.

She prepares for you, O Sun of justice!

the humble swathing-bands, wherewith to cover your nakedness,

and protect you, the Creator of the world,

from the cold of that midnight hour of your Nativity!

Thus it is that you will to deliver us from the slavery of our pride,

and show us that your divine arm is never stronger

than when we think it powerless and still.

Everything is prepared, then, dear Jesus!

Your swathing-bands are ready for your infant limbs!

Come to Bethlehem,

and redeem us from the hands of our enemies.

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.

Past Posts