Dec In today's "O Antiphon" we recall God giving the Mosaic law to Israel on Mt. Sinai, and we conclude with a plea for redemption. We remember how God has always given to man the laws needed for him to lead a just and upright life and to ensure his eternal salvation. The Office of Readings for today reminds us, though, that while God has always desired man's salvation and sought to lead him along this path, it was not until His Son was sent to the world that we were given the means of actually attaining this redemption. It is explained to us how God had in His mind a plan for rescuing us from sin, ever since Adam's first act of disobedience, and how He kept this plan secret until the actual time of its fulfillment. Up until that point, He guided His chosen people through the Mosaic law and revealed very little of the wonder, the splendor, and the glory of our coming redemption. In the Office of Readings, we exclaim,
"How wonderful a transformation, how mysterious a design, how inconceivable a blessing!" And our hearts cry out to the mighty Lord, who on Sinai gave Moses the law, to come and bring us redemption with outstretched arm.
Reading A letter to Diognetus
God showed his love through his Son
No man has ever seen God or known him, but God has revealed himself to us through faith, by which alone it is possible to see him. God, the Lord and maker of all things, who created the world and set it in order, not only loved man but was also patient with him. So he has always been, and is, and will be: kind, good, free from anger, truthful; indeed, he and he alone is good.
He devised a plan, a great and wonderful plan, and shared it only with his Son. As long as he preserved this secrecy and kept his own wise counsel he seemed to be neglecting us, to have no concern for us. But when through his beloved Son he revealed and made public what he had prepared from the very beginning, he gave us all at once gifts such as we could never have dreamt of, even sight and knowledge of himself.
When God had made all his plans in consultation with his Son, he waited until a later time, allowing us to follow our own whim, to be swept along by unruly passions, to be led astray by pleasure and desire. Not that he was pleased by our sins: he only tolerated them. Not that he approved of that time of sin: he was planning this era of holiness. When we had been shown to be undeserving of life, his goodness was to make us worthy of it. When we had made it clear that we could not enter God’s kingdom by our own power, we were to be enabled to do so by the power of God.
When our wickedness had reached its culmination, it became clear that retribution was at hand in the shape of suffering and death. The time came then for God to make known his kindness and power (how immeasurable is God’s generosity and love!). He did not show hatred for us or reject us or take vengeance; instead, he was patient with us, bore with us, and in compassion took our sins upon himself; he gave his own Son as the price of our redemption, the holy one to redeem the wicked, the sinless one to redeem sinners, the just one to redeem the unjust, the incorruptible one to redeem the corruptible, the immortal one to redeem mortals. For what else could have covered our sins but his sinlessness? Where else could we, wicked and sinful as we were, have found the means of holiness except in the Son of God alone?
How wonderful a transformation, how mysterious a design, how inconceivable a blessing! The wickedness of the many is covered up in the holy One, and the holiness of One sanctifies many sinners.
O Antiphon of the Day:
O Adonai, et Dux domus Israel,
qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti,
et ei in Sina legem dedisti:
veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.
O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,
who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush
and gave him the law on Sinai:
Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.
Isaiah had prophesied:
"[...] but with righteousness he shall judge the poor, and decide with equity for the meek of the earth; he shall strike the earth with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall kill the wicked. Righteousness shall be the belt around his waist, and faithfulness the belt around his loins." Isaiah 11:4-5
"For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our ruler, the Lord is our king; he will save us." Isaiah 33:22