Advent Meditations: Friday 20 December

Dec 20, 2019 by

Dec 20
am: 46, 95
pm: 4,9
Zeph 3:1-13 2 Thess 3  

Matt 18:1-20

Notes on the Liturgical Feast for Today An Ember Day                                                 The O Antiphon:   O Clavis David – O Key of David

Four times a year, the Church sets aside three days to focus on God through His marvelous creation. These quarterly periods take place around the beginnings of the four natural seasons and are each kept on a successive Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday and are known as “Ember Days. Not surprisingly they tend to mirror the dates we would associate with the change of the 4 Seasons.   Pope Gelasius in 494 used Ember Saturdays as the day to confer Holy Orders. Apostolic tradition prescribed that ordinations be preceded by fast and prayer (see Acts 13:3), and so it seemed quite reasonable to place ordinations at the end of this fast period. Moreover, this allows the entire community to join in fasting and praying for God’s blessing upon their calling and to share their joy in being called. Lastly, Ember Friday in Advent commemorates the Visitation, the only time in Advent when this is explicitly done. In general , the Ember Days afford us the opportunity to consider: the wondrous cycle of nature and the more wondrous story of our redemption, the splendid differentiation of God’s ordained servants — and lastly, the condition of our own souls.


Biblical Meditation :  In today’s  Psalm from the Common Worship Lectionary, we hear again Psalm 46. In this season when we recall again the vision of Peace On Earth and Good Will towards all, it is  difficult to  miss that Psalm 46 insists that the God of peace is, about the work of peace. We  won’t be learning of it from the UN or the New York and London Times, No we will have to be seekers of the “the works of God” if we want to witness God’s action. Psalm 46 calls us to learn how to be peace makers  and to see the finger of God in the work for peace and justice. “The God of peace is our refuge and our strength, an ever-present help in distress,” Psalm 46 begins. Even if the earth shakes, the mountains quake, the waters rage, the mountains totter, the nations rage and empires fall — the God of peace is with us, so we do not have to be afraid. That’s a mighty promise, the question is how do we participate in it?

PRAYER Almighty God, the giver of all good gifts, who of thy divine providence hast appointed various orders in thy Church: Give thy grace, we humbly beseech thee, to all who are called to any office and ministry for thy people; and so fill them with the truth of thy doctrine and clothe them with holiness of life, that they may faithfully serve before thee, to the glory of thy great Name and for the benefit of thy holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.  

Spiritual Discipline /Activity Ember days are three days set apart for fasting, abstinence, and prayer during each of the four seasons of the year. They were occasioned by the agricultural feasts of ancient Rome; they came to be observed by Christians for the sanctification of the different seasons of the year, and for obtaining God’s blessing on the clergy to be ordained during the Embertides. Today would be good day to observe a simple or solemn fast, identifying with the hungry and needy and using that time to pray for those who will be doing the work of the church in ordained ministry.

Ancient Words/Present Grace: Peace does not dwell in outward things, but within the soul; we may preserve it in the midst of the bitterest pain, if our will remains firm and submissive. Peace in this life springs from acquiescence to, not in an exemption from, suffering. –   Francois Fenelon, 17th century French Roman Catholic theologian

O Antiphon :  O Key of David and Scepter of the house of Israel, Who dost open and no man doth shut, Who dost shut and no man doth open, come and bring forth from his prisonhouse the captive that sitteth in darkness and in the shadow of death..

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