To illustrate the antiphon O Clavis David, I chose Bartolomeo Bermejo’s magnificent painting of the Harrowing of Hell. It depicts the Risen Christ descending into the dreary dungeon of Hades where Adam and Eve, Methuselah, Solomon, and the Queen of Shebah await Him. The Risen Christ descends into the darkness, radiant in the light of his glory. Psalm 106 expresses the mystery of the moment: “Then they cried to the Lord in their need and he rescued them from their distress. He led them forth from darkness and gloom and broke their chains to pieces” (Ps 106:13-14).
O Key of David
and Sceptre of the House of Israel ,
who opens and no one can shut,
who shuts and no one can open (Is 22:22; Apoc 3:7):
Come and bring the prisoners forth from the prison cell,
those who dwell in darkness
and the shadow of death (Is 42:7; Ps 106:13-14; Lk 1:9).
The Yes to Love
On the Ember Wednesday of Advent we stand in the doorway of the humble dwelling where the Blessed Virgin Mary receives the
It is the custom at Silverstream Priory, as it is in many Benedictine monasteries, to gather in Chapter on the Ember Wednesday of Advent to hear the solemn proclamation of the Gospel of the Annunciation, the Missus Est, so called from the first words of the text: Missus est angelus Gabriel, “The Angel Gabriel was sent from God” (Luke 1:26). Following the Gospel, the abbot delivers a sermon Super Missus Est, that is, on the Gospel of the Annunciation. Here then is the sermon preached in Chapter at Silverstream Priory on Ember Wednesday, December 19, 2018.
Super Missus Est
And in the sixth month, the angel Gabriel was sent from God into a city of Galilee, called Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. (Luke 1:26–27)
My dear sons, the inbreakings of God are always unprecedented, prepared long in advance by His providence, and personal. The inbreakings of God are unprecedented, in that even while
I could have chosen one of the many medieval images of the Tree of Jesse to illustrate this O Antiphon, but instead I chose this 18th century Gesù Bambino from Southern Italy. Now, this may be because I have a not so secret affinity for all things Neapolitan, but it is also because there is something in this Gesù Bambino that goes to the heart of the O Antiphon I am meditating. The Child Christ is holding a little wooden cross. He is gazing at it intently and there is a mysterious sorrow in his eyes. He is also offering the cross to anyone willing to receive it from His hands. This is the Child before Whom kings shall shut their mouths and Whom the nations shall seek. “Lifted up from the earth, He will draw all things to Himself” (cf. Jn 12:32).
O Root of Jesse (Ac 13:22-23),
standing as a sign to the peoples (Is 11:10),
before whom kings shall shut their mouths (Is 52:15),
and whom the nations shall seek (1 K 10:24; 2 Chr 9:23):
Come and deliver
CHAPTER LXIII. Of the Order of the Community
18 Apr. 18 Aug. 18 Dec.
Let everyone keep that place in the Monastery, which the time of his entering religion, the merit of his life, or the appointment of the Abbot shall determine. And let not the Abbot disquiet the flock committed to him, nor by an undue use of his authority ordain anything unjustly; but let him ever bear in mind that he will have to give an account to God of all his judgments and all his deeds. Therefore in that order which they hold, or which he shall have appointed, let the brethren receive the kiss of peace, approach to Communion, intone the Psalms, and stand in choir. And in no place whatsoever let age decide the order, or be prejudicial to it; for Samuel and Daniel, when but children, judged the elders. Excepting, therefore, those whom (as we have said) the Abbot hath promoted with some special object, or for distinct reasons hath degraded, let all the rest stand in the order of their coming to religion; so that, for