Saturday, December 20, 2014

December 20: O clavis David

At Vespers on these days, we pray one of the "O" antiphons at the Magnificat.  Today, December 20, the antiphon is "O clavis David":

O clavis David et sceptrum domus Israël; qui aperis, et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperit: veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in ténebris, et umbra mortis.
O Key of David and Sceptre of the house of Israel, who opens and no one shall shut, who shuts and no one opens, come and bring out from prison the prisoner who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death.

From "Liturgical Meditations for the Entire Year" by the Sisters of St. Dominic, Adrian, MI (B. Herder, 1960):

In the office for today Holy Mother Church refers to the royal ancestry of our divine Lord by calling upon Him as key of David and scepter of the house of Israel.  He is the key of eternal design fitted to open the entrance to the heavenly kingdom.  He is the scepter of infinite authority holding sway over all creation from eternity unto eternity.

It is this King of awful power and terrible majesty who will come to us in a few days as a little child, not demanding the rights of His royalty and absolute dominion, but pleading for a place in our hearts and in our lives.  We are not forced to accept Him.  In fact, we may be too busy with self and creatures even to listen; but in the dawn of eternity we shall appear before the throne of His infinite majesty to be ruled by Him forever.  Let us call upon Him earnestly in the words of the Advent liturgy to come and redeem our wretchedness by His might power.  “Come and deliver me, O Lord; to Thee have I fled” (Lauds of the last Friday of Advent.