WDTPRS The O Antiphons: 20 December – O Clavis David -

We continue our look at the O Antiphons with today’s O Clavis David

LATIN: O clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel: qui aperis, et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperit: veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in tenebris.

ENGLISH: O Key of David, and scepter of the house of Israel, who opens and no man shuts, who shuts and no man opens: come, and bring forth the captive from his prison, he who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death.

Scripture Reference:

Isaiah 22:22
Revelation 3:7

Relevant verse of Veni, Veni Emmanuel:

O come, thou Key of David, come,
And open wide our heavenly home;
Make safe the way that leads on high,
And close the path to misery.

Do not fall into the trap of thinking that the we are dealing with events isolated solely in the past. Even taking just the image of the key in Scripture, we see how God’s plan is still in effect for us today, and we are all still players in his plan for salvation. The Old Testament reference from Isaiah helps us see this.

In Isaiah we read how the Lord said to Shebna, who was the master of the household of King Hezekiah:

“And it shall come to pass in that day, that I will call my servant Eliakim the son of Helkias, and I will clothe him with thy robe, and will strengthen him with thy girdle, and will give thy power into his hand: and he shall be as a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to the house of Juda. And I will lay the key of the house of David upon his shoulder: and he shall open, and none shall shut: and he shall shut and none shall open. And I will fasten him as a peg in a sure place, and he shall be for a throne of glory to the house of his father”.

The Lord establishes an office to be handed down through a succession, an office of jurisdiction.

This same language and image was used by our Lord when in Matthew 16 He conferred His own authority on Peter to exercise as a office to be handed down in a succession.

Truly the Lord who came to us at Bethlehem is with us always in His Church until His ultimate Coming at the end of the world.

In Revelation 3:7 the Lord is described as He who still wields David’s key. Even as Peter holds the keys on earth, it is the Lord’s own hand which holds Peter’s hand.

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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7 Responses to WDTPRS The O Antiphons: 20 December – O Clavis David -

  1. jesusthroughmary says:

    What a magnificent chant. It’s going to be stuck in my head the rest of the day.

  2. Ed the Roman says:

    What does the E u o u a e signify at the end?

  3. Supertradmum says:

    Euouae is a mnemonic which was used in medieval music to denote the sequence of tones in the “seculorum Amen” passage of the lesser doxology, Gloria Patri, which ends with the phrase In saecula saeculorum, Amen. In plainchant sources, the differentia, that is, the melodic formula to be sung at the end of every line of chanted psalmody, would be written over either the letters EUOUAE, or merely E—-E, representing the first and last vowel of “seculorum Amen.”

    from Wiki

  4. AnAmericanMother says:

    EUOUAE gives you the ending of the Gloria Patri (‘sEcUlOrUm, AmEn’) but doesn’t give you the whole thing with the markings.
    Fortunately the Liber Usualis, at pp. 14 et seq., has all the Glorias for the different tones written out in full Solesmes notation. You can get the complete Liber on line from Musica Sacra here:
    Liber Usualis
    We usually photocopy (or print out) the appropriate Gloria for the tone and tape it to the bottom of the chant. That’s why my choir folder looks like a particularly messy bulletin board . . . .
    Very fun stuff. I hardly ever sang Gregorian chant before we converted (sang lots of Anglican chant though :-D ) and of course I didn’t know the correct notation. Do now though. Mostly. More than I did before anyhow. :-o

  5. kiwitrad says:

    I had never heard of the O Antiphons until last year when I read them here, but I didn’t know what they were. This year I was able to buy a Missal that contained them so I have saying them. (Can’t read music alas or I’d sing them) Even so, I find they have an amazing effect on my spiritual life. For the first time (and I have been a Catholic for 45 years) I realise how deep and ancient are roots of Catholicism to which all the Catholics I know – including me up to now – are oblivious .

    I feel we post vatican 2 Catholics are like plants that have had their roots cut off and have just had their bare stems stuck in the soil which of course cannot nourish them. I think/hope I am at last growing some deep roots thanks to O Antiphons.

  6. Pingback: O Key of David « Piscotikus.com

  7. Dave N. says:

    Just FYI, I think you omitted “et umbra mortis” from your initial Latin text.