|The O Antiphons: 17 December
|LATIN: O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodidisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviter disponensque omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.
ENGLISH: O Wisdom, who came from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: come, and teach us the way of prudence.
Listen to this chant from the Liber Usualis: mp3
Proverbs 1:20; 8; 9
Relevant verse of Veni, Veni Emmanuel:
O come, O Wisdom from on high,
The version from the Dominican antiphonarium:
REFLECTION: (ENGLISH: O Wisdom, who came from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: come, and teach us the way of prudence.)
On December 17th we enter into that final stretch of our Advent preparation. In the Church’s solemn prayer of the hours, at Vespers, the great “O Antiphons” are sung. Today we have the first.
The Son is Eternal. There was never a time when He was not. Through Him all things were made. Through Him order was given to the primal chaos. Thus, the marvelous and sweet order we observe in the universe is due to the eternal wisdom of the eternal Word. That same well-ordering eternal Word is the Word made flesh, who dwell among us beginning with His coming birth at Bethlehem.
Each of the “O Antiphons” carries Old Testament biblical figures. At the same time each one carries an element of the New Covent. These two characteristics are juxtaposed and a third dimension emerges which serves as a point of meditation when considering the Incarnate Word, the Son of God made flesh.
In today’s “O Antiphon” – “O Sapientia” – we are drawn into the Old Testament’s wisdom literature. Wisdom is a divine attribute. The divine Wisdom is personified. Wisdom is the beloved daughter who was before Creation, Wisdom is the breath of God’s power, Wisdom is the shining of God’s (transforming) glory. (See Sirach 24:3 and Wisdom 8:1.)
Wisdom is also something which we deeply desire. It is also a human attribute, not just a divine attribute, though authentic human wisdom is never separated from a relationship with God. Fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, as we learn from the psalms as well as the school of personal hard-knocks. From this convergence of awesome respect for God with the experience of learning through life’s mysterious calendar, we understand (if we are wise) that wisdom is more than mere knowledge. It is something more than love. It is something more than just a special astuteness regarding how to get along in life, a certain kind of savoir faire. Rooted as it is in fear of the Lord, true human wisdom is both love and that knowledge of God that seeks to understand, the knowledge that is completed by faith.
The Prologue of John’s Gospel refers to the “Verbum caro factum...the Word made flesh”. He is the divine Logos… the eternal thought/word/reason. Through Him all things were made. Without Him nothing can be. So, the New Testament image in the Prologue of John brings to completion the imagery of Wisdom. He, the Word, is the archetype of the material universe. All things are ordered in and to Him.
Our lives, to be happy, need order. Our individual private lives and our collective lives in larger society must have structure and order. They must be disposed in such a way that the real and genuine good of all is fostered and promoted. Thus, in human governance we struggle to find the proper balance of exercise of power (without which governance and order is not possible) and gentle concern for the individual and community (without which there is mere imposition and tyranny and exploitation for some end material or ideological). Wisdom permits the balance of these.
This first “O Antiphon” shows us the Creator of all that is invisible and visible, the whole of spiritual and material creation. It is moving according to an eternally disposed plan of divine Providence toward an inexorable end: that God may be all in all. In this end the blessed elect will participate. We have had the way opened for us toward this end by the Word (divine) made flesh (human). Our humanity now sits in transformed glory at the right hand of the Father in an indestructible bond with the Son’s divinity. The risen Christ is the new Adam…the new Creation. With unspeakable sweetness He orders our salvation. With irresistible power all things exist and move according to His will. Our lives have meaning only in Him, according to His guidance, who handles us “suaviter et fortiter“.
Our Old Testament and New Testament figures and images merge into a new point of reflection for our lives which today’s “O Antiphon” underscores as “prudence” – “Come…Teach us the way of prudence!”
“Prudence” comes from the Latin “to see/look ahead”. It is one of the four “cardinal” virtues, one which other virtues depend. Prudence is a habit of the intellect that allows us to see in any circumstance what is virtuous and what is not. Prudence helps us to seek what is virtuous and avoid what is not. Prudence perfects the intellect (rather than the will) in practical decisions. It determines which course of action must be taken. It indicates what the golden mean is hic et nunc…here and now. This mean is at the core of every virtue. Without the virtue of prudence courage becomes foolhardiness… rushing in to the wrong danger in the wrong way at the wrong time. Without the governing of prudence mercy devolves into slackness and enervated weakness, spinelessness.
But this is still a kind of prudence which is merely human prudence, not looking beyond the issues of daily life. We must also look beyond this vale of tears. In addition to the prudence which grows out of the school of hard-knocks and which becomes a sound and good habit through repeated acts, there is another prudence, an “infused” prudence. This kind of prudence is a grace given us by God out of His merciful love. This greater prudence, which governs other grace-filled virtues, cannot be separated from the life of grace. It is exercised in the state of grace. Mortal sin is its enemy. This higher kind of prudence helps us to determine the proper things that help us to salvation. It helps us to avoid things that slam the door that Christ opened (mortal sin). Thus, prudence cannot be separated from charity, which is in the soul as a characteristic of sanctifying (habitual) grace.
Today in the opening “O Antiphon” we sing to Emmanuel who is coming. We plead with Him, for He orders all things “sweetly and strongly.” He teaches us how to avoid things that harm us, both in material concerns and in our pursuit of the happiness of heaven. He teaches us true prudence.
Take stock: is there something going on in my life that needs to be examined in prudence? Am I doing something which is going to be an obstacle to the happiness of heaven? Christ is coming, both at Christmas as the infant King and the end of the world as the Judge and King of fearful majesty. This is a cause to rejoice. But it is also cause to prepare prudently and well the way of the Lord and make straight His paths before He comes, as we heard about on “Gaudete” (“Rejoice!) Sunday of Advent.
Starting to think about BACK TO SCHOOL items? Even text books? When you shop…
Search Fr. Z’s Blog
- "In those situations where homosexual unions have been legally recognized or have been given the legal status and rights belonging to marriage, clear and emphatic opposition is a duty. ... If all Catholics are obliged to oppose the legal recognition of homosexual unions, Catholic politicians are obliged to do so in a particular way, in keeping with their responsibility as politicians." CDF 2003 and HERE
- You keep this blog, and me, going. I pray for benefactors.
There is a subscription form at the bottom of this page!
- Filipino Catholic said Re Imrahil: McKinley’s comment is all the mo...
- Patrick-K said Even Breitbart spun this one into a “soft on...
- VeritasVereVincet said arga: My understanding–which could be incorr...
- Father G said Here is the Extraordinary Form version with commun...
- Giuseppe said A sin is a sin. It is acting against God’s...
- Absit invidia said I’m glad Pope Francis did this. This is the...
- Giuseppe said Given the gravity of souls uncleansed during the Y...
- inara said Mr. MAGOOOO!!! His creator was from up in da Nortw...
- rahook said I’m sorry, but I don’t follow your dis...
- Jim in VT said I must say that I love the use of a .45 ACP as a s...
- amont said I do not believe I have observed any comments to t...
- Andrew Saucci said To underscore what Fr. Z said under “NB,R...
- donato2 said Spirit of Vatican II RIP? I don’t get the jo...
- Peter in Canberra said Interesting choice of metaphorical cartoon Fr Z ...
- arga said I wish someone would explain the difference betwee...
- iamlucky13 said I noticed he voiced the opposite reading of the la...
- Ann Malley said “…Is Mercy no longer applicable for so...
- Tamara T. said I am trying very hard to understand so much of wha...
- APX said Fr. D, It is my understanding that there is only o...
- poohbear said Thank you Fr Z. Its so confusing sometimes and you...
- Julian Barkin said Thank you for these much needed clarifications Fr....
- Ann Malley said Father, With all due respect, those described as S...
- pjthom81 said If I might make a serious observation….. Not...
- tjmurphy said It has been close to 30 years since I have seen a...
- Auggie said Although the Society believes they already have fa...
- Ivan said I am no canonist and you, Father, undoubtedly know...
- Henry Edwards said JonPatrick, I suspect some here have seen OF Masse...
- dans0622 said This letter from the Pope, not surprisingly, is a...
- Michael said Father Z – You say “Consider that this...
- nmoerbeek said “Looking diligently, lest any man be wanting...
Most commented in the last 7 days…
- POPE FRANCIS FOR YEAR OF MERCY GRANTS THAT SSPX PRIESTS CAN VALIDLY ABSOLVE! (135)
- CAPTION CALL (51)
- Ed Peters on the ‘sin’ of abortion, the ‘crime’ of abortion, and excommunication (36)
- Smoking Gun Book™ about last year’s chaotic Synod (36)
- Church Music: sacred and… not so much (26)
- Rename Washington DC while you’re at it! (25)
- ASK FATHER: Prayers for a sick pet (24)
- OBITUARY: Spirit of Vatican II – RIP – 53 years of age (21)
- Nuns On The Bus III: Another tired sequel of the Magisterium of Nuns (19)
- LEGO MASS SET BRICKS (yes… Legos for Mass!) (18)
Support them with prayer and fasting.
CLICK and say your Daily Offering!
"We as Catholics have not properly combated (the culture) because we have not been taught our Catholic Faith, especially in the depth needed to address these grave evils of our time. This is a failure of catechesis both of children and young people that has been going on for fifty years. It is being addressed, but it needs much more radical attention... What has also contributed greatly to the situation is an exaltation of the virtue of tolerance which is falsely seen as the virtue which governs all other virtues. In other words, we should tolerate other people in their immoral actions to the extent that we seem also to accept the moral wrong. Tolerance is a virtue, but it is certainly not the principal virtue; the principal virtue is charity... Charity means speaking the truth. I have encountered it (not speaking the truth) many times myself as a priest and bishop. It is something we simply need to address. There is far too much silence — people do not want to talk about it because the topic is not 'politically correct.' But we cannot be silent any longer."
Raymond Card. Burke
Leave Voice Mail for Fr. Z
Let us pray…
Grant unto thy Church, we beseech Thee, O merciful God, that She, being gathered together by the Holy Ghost, may be in no wise troubled by attack from her foes. O God, who by sin art offended and by penance pacified, mercifully regard the prayers of Thy people making supplication unto Thee,and turn away the scourges of Thine anger which we deserve for our sins. Almighty and Everlasting God, in whose Hand are the power and the government of every realm: look down upon and help the Christian people that the heathen nations who trust in the fierceness of their own might may be crushed by the power of thine Arm. Through our Lord Jesus Christ, Thy Son, who liveth and reigneth with Thee in the unity of the Holy Ghost, God, world without end. R. Amen.
Yes, Fr. Z is taking ads…... and there will be nearly 1,000,000 page loads this month.
Traditional Catholic? Are you single? Don’t want to be? CLICK!
Help Monks in Wyoming, Fr. Z, and get great coffee too!
And they have tea too!
I carry one of these super-strong rosaries in my spare mag pouch!
Because you don’t know when you are going to need to move fast or get along without the supermarket…
Great gift for newly ordained priests. Folding altar card set for the Traditional Latin Mass.
And check out the stunning FULL SIZE altar cards HERE. I have a set on my altar.
New Gregorian Chant CD by the Benedictines of Norcia!
Wyoming Catholic College!
A great place in Rome…
See my post about the Domus Australia HERE
Identity theft is a serious problem that you do NOT want to have. I use Lifelock.
And for your cybersecurity…
My wish lists
Food For Thought
“The legalization of the termination of pregnancy is none other than the authorization given to an adult, with the approval of an established law, to take the lives of children yet unborn and thus incapable of defending themselves. It is difficult to imagine a more unjust situation, and it is very difficult to speak of obsession in a matter such as this, where we are dealing with a fundamental imperative of every good conscience — the defense of the right to life of an innocent and defenseless human being.”
- St. John Paul II
A bit more food for thought…
“Only one sin is nowadays severely punished: the attentive observance of the traditions of our Fathers. For that reason the good ones are thrown out of their places and brought to the desert.”
- Basil of Caesarea - ep. 243
PLEASE RESPOND. Pretty pleeeease?Loading ...
WDTPRS POLLLoading ...
A morsel for thought…
"If your work is strong enough for someone to hate you, it's strong enough for someone to love you. The middle is what you should fear."
- Sean McCabe @seanwes
- Explaining the Year of Mercy “abortion forgiveness faculty”
- More about this whole Pope Francis, SSPX lack of faculties, Year of Mercy confessions thing
- Recently Received Items
- A note about the necessary faculty priests must have licitly and validly to absolve sins
- New lenses for the Pope
- LEGO MASS SET BRICKS (yes… Legos for Mass!)
- ASK FATHER: Father with dementia “absolved” by Episcopalian
- OBITUARY: Spirit of Vatican II – RIP – 53 years of age
- How Spirit got there
- 70th Anniversary of end of WWII
- Smoking Gun Book™ about last year’s chaotic Synod
- From 1965: Paul Harvey’s “If I were the Devil”
- Thomas Aquinas College will not compromise
- Ed Peters on the ‘sin’ of abortion, the ‘crime’ of abortion, and excommunication
- POPE FRANCIS FOR YEAR OF MERCY GRANTS THAT SSPX PRIESTS CAN VALIDLY ABSOLVE!
- ACORN promotes the Black Lives Matter thing
- Rename Washington DC while you’re at it!
- ASK FATHER: Prayers for a sick pet
- Church Music: sacred and… not so much
- ACTION ITEM! “Officer Down!” – Texas Deputy Murdered for being LEO
- CAPTION CALL
- Your Sunday Sermon Notes
- Welcome Aboard New Registrants!
- Nuns On The Bus III: Another tired sequel of the Magisterium of Nuns
- My View For While: Domum
- WDTPRS – 22nd Ordinary Sunday: images of armies
- ACTION ITEM! Getting TLM things for a priest
- WDTPRS – 14th Sunday after Pentecost: healths, hands and the finger
- Confused about Pope Francis? You have company!
- He’s back! Fr. Byers returns from silence
For your consideration…
"One of the most dangerous errors is that civilization is automatically bound to increase and spread. The lesson of history is the opposite; civilization is a rarity, attained with difficulty and easily lost. The normal state of humanity is barbarism, just as the normal surface of the planet is salt water. Land looms large in our imagination and civilization in history books, only because sea and savagery are to us less interesting."
- C.S. Lewis
More food for thought:
“I expect to die in bed, my successor will die in prison and his successor will die a martyr in the public square. His successor will pick up the shards of a ruined society and slowly help rebuild civilization, as the church has done so often in human history.”
Francis Card. George
Check out the Cardinal Newman Society feed!
Be a “Zed-Head”!
Fr. Z’s stuff is everywhere
More food for thought…
"All laws which are repugnant to the Constitution are null and void."
- Marbury v. Madison, 5 U.S. 137, 176
Even More Food For Thought
"Men by their constitutions are naturally divided into two parties: 1. Those who fear and distrust the people, and wish to draw all powers from them into the hands of the higher classes. 2. Those who identify themselves with the people, have confidence in them, cherish and consider them as the most honest and safe, although not the most wise depositary of the public interests."
- Thomas Jefferson to Henry Lee, 1824. ME 16:73
Please follow me on Twitter!