Behold the Bread of Angels Sent
Murillo’s painting of the Infant Christ distributing bread to pilgrims is an invitation to consider the mystery of the Eucharist, God-With-Us, the Child of Bethlehem, the House of Bread. An Angel assists the Infant Christ. Behind Him (not visible in this detail) is His Mother, her body forming a kind of Eucharistic throne, a variation on the Sedes Sapientiae motif. Perhaps the sequence of the Mass of Corpus Christi provided a subtext for this painting:
Ecce, panis Angelorum,
Factus cibus viatorum:
Vere panis filiorum.
Behold, the Bread of Angels sent
For pilgrims in their banishment,
The Bread for God’s true children meant.
O Emmanuel (Is 7:14; 8:8),
our King and Lawgiver (Is 33:22),
the expectation of the nations and their Saviour (Gen 49:10):
Come and save us, O Lord our God.
The Last of the O Antiphons
At Vespers on December 23rd we sing the last of the Great O Antiphons. We are accustomed to seven, but, in other times and places, and even now, there are nine or even as many as twelve.
O Virgo Virginum