Monday 17 December

Reveal among us the light of your presence, that we may behold your power and glory.

Antiphon
O Sapientia

O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from one end to the other mightily,
and sweetly ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence.
(cf Ecclesiasticus 24.3; Wisdom 8.1)

Readings (Click the links to see the readings)

Genesis 49.2, 8-10 | Ps 72.1-7 | Matthew 1.1-17

Good is the Flesh
Brian Wren

Good is the flesh that the Word has become,
good is the birthing, the milk in the breast,
good is the feeding, caressing and rest,
good is the body for knowing the world,
Good is the flesh that the Word has become.

Good is the body for knowing the world,
sensing the sunlight, the tug of the ground,
feeling, perceiving, within and around,
good is the body, from cradle to grave,
Good is the flesh that the Word has become.

Good is the body, from cradle to grave,
growing and ageing, arousing, impaired,
happy in clothing, or lovingly bared,
good is the pleasure of God in our flesh,
Good is the flesh that the Word has become.

Good is the pleasure of God in our flesh,
longing in all, as in Jesus, to dwell,
glad of embracing, and tasting, and smell,
good is the body, for good and for God,
Good is the flesh that the Word has become.
— From Good is the Flesh: Body, Soul, and Christian Faith, edited by Jean Denton. Morehouse, 2005.

Prayer

Holy God,
your prophets call us to look forward to the dawn of a new day;
may we who witness the promised springtime
prepare the way for the coming Sun of Justice, Jesus your Christ,
who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit,
one God now and for ever. Amen.
— Bosco Peters

Census

"The genealogy of Jesus the Messiah the son of David, the son of Abraham: Abraham was the father of Isaac … … father of David … … father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah." (Matthew ch. 1).

Pieter Bruegel the Elder. Census at Bethlehem [Volkstelling te Bethlehem]. 1566.

The 'O Sapentia' antiphon and the Magnificat sung by the Schola Gregoriana Hispana.

O Sapientia, quæ ex ore Altissimi prodiisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviter disponensque omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiæ. O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from one end to the other mightily,
and sweetly ordering all things: Come and teach us the way of prudence.

Magnificat anima mea Dominum, et exultavit spiritus meus in Deo salvatore meo, quia respexit humilitatem ancillæ suæ.

Ecce enim ex hoc beatam me dicent omnes generationes. Quia fecit mihi magna, qui potens est: et sanctum nomen eius.

Et misericordia eius, a progenie in progenies: timentibus eum.

Fecit potentiam in brachio suo: dispersit superbos mente cordis sui. Deposuit potentes de sede: et exaltavit humiles.

Esurientes implevit bonis: et divites dimisit inanes.

Suscepit Israel puerum suum: recordatus misericordiæ suæ. Sicut locutus est ad patres nostros: Abraham, et semini eius in sæcula.

My soul proclaims the greatness of the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour; he has looked with favour on his lowly servant.

From this day all generations will call me blessed; the Almighty has done great things for me and holy is his name.

He has mercy on those who fear him, from generation to generation.

He has shown strength with his arm and has scattered the proud in their conceit, casting down the mighty from their thrones and lifting up the lowly.

He has filled the hungry with good things and sent the rich away empty.

He has come to the aid of his servant Israel, to remember his promise of mercy, the promise made to our ancestors, to Abraham and his children for ever.

Gloria Patri, et Filio, et Spiritui Sancto; sicut erat in principio, et nunc, et semper, et per sæcula sæculorum, Amen. Glory to the Father and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit; as it was in the beginning, is now and shall be forever. Amen.

May the Lord, when he comes, find us watching and waiting. Amen.