Tuesday, December 18, 2012

18 December, O ADONAI

Nicholas Froment
"O ADONAI, and Leader of the house of Israel, Who didst appear to Moses in the flame of the burning bush, and didst give unto him the Law on Sinai: come and with an outstretched arm redeem us."

Today we have the most Jewish of the O Antiphons: ADONAI, Moses, and Sinai - the Lord God, the man of God, and the mountain of God are named in a single brief prayer. "Adonai" is Hebrew for "my Lord", and was used by devout Jews for the name "Yahweh", out of reverence. With this second antiphon we progress from creation to the familiar story of God manifesting himself by name to Moses and giving his law to Israel as their way of life. We are also reminded of the Israelites' deliverance from bondage under pharaoh, a foreshadowing of our own redemption.

N.B. The scene to the left is the central panel of a triptych painted by Nicolas Froment in 1476. It depicts Moses awestruck before the Burning Bush and the appearance of the Angel of the Lord. The Burning Bush,  here a rose bush all ablaze with radiating flames, surrounds the Virgin Mother holding her Divine Son. The Child Christ holds a mirror in his hand in which both of them are reflected.

For early Christians this bush, full of the fire of God’s presence, yet still itself and unconsumed, was a sign of the Lord Christ who would come, who would be fully God and yet also fully human.

"God’s relationship with the Hebrews as his Chosen People was first manifested with his choice of Moses to lead the Children of Abraham out of slavery and to a promised land. Their choseness was not for privilege but as the vehicle through which the world might be reconciled to Him." Bishop Kevin Farrell, Dallas

Sr. Ansgar Holmberg, CSJ

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