Every day, we need to go to our quiet place...

Today's Scriptural Meditation Readings:

December 21, A.D. 2004

Zephaniah 3:14-18
Psalm 33:2-3,11-12,20-21
Luke 1:39-45

A brief reflection on today's Scripture passages:

One of my favorite things about the Advent season are the "O" antiphons. Used as the antiphons for the Magnificat in the Liturgy of the Hours, and as the Alleluia Verse at weekday masses (from December 17th to the 23th), they make these days before Christmas vibrate with the expectation we once had as children.

The antiphons have joyfully replaced the things I used to enjoy and formerly looked forward to in this season -- things like shopping, baking, decorating -- and have brought back the joy and expectation I once thought could never be recaptured again. Is it any wonder that these antiphons are so dear! I pray that they may become so for you.

Many new translations don't put the great big round "O" at the beginning of each antiphon, something that is easy for us to do. It's an important exclamatory vowel to include because it makes our mouths go all round and makes us sound again like a little child that squeals with delight and says "O" as it beholds what gives it joy.

What gives you joy today? Mine comes from ancient words and the promises they foretold; promises that were honored and kept and preserved to this very day like a favorite tree ornament, the best Christmas cookie, the most treasured Christmas memory -- but only better!

O Come,
Radiant Dawn,
splendor of eternal light,
sun of justice:
shine on those lost in the darkness of death!

- Donna Nelson, ocds
(drn3rd at hotmail dot com)

Lives of the saints:

Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Advent
St. Peter Canisius, priest, doctor of the Church

Full Scripture text from today's Liturgy of the Word:


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