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Hand of God leedsacukThe ancient tradition of O Antiphons has characterised Vespers recited between December 17 and December 23, the Octave before Christmas Day.

The Bible readings for these eight days help us to meditate on the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Together, the first letters of these traditional meditations spell SARCORE, which is the reverse of the Latin phrase ero cras, which means

I shall be [with you] tomorrow.

The Bible verses of SARCORE express the following:

  1. “O Sapientia, quae ex ore altissimi…” (O Wisdom from on high…)
  2. “O Adonai et dux domus Israel…” (O Lord and leader of the house of Israel…)
  3. “O Radix Jesse qui stas in signum populorum…” (O Root of Jesse who stood as a standard of the people…)
  4. “O Clavis David et sceptrum domus…” (O Key of David and scepter of our home…)
  5. “O Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae…” (O Dayspring, splendor of eternal light…)
  6. “O Rex gentium et desideratus…” (O longed-for King of the nations…)
  7. “O Emmanuel, rex et legifer noster…” (O Emmanuel, our king and law-giver…)

The Octave verses are referred to in the haunting Advent hymn O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.

On December 20, we consider ‘C’ for Clavis, the Latin word for ‘key’ as in ‘Key of David’.

My entry for this day last year studied the principal verse for Clavis, Isaiah 22:22, given below in the English Standard and King James Versions, respectively:

22And I will place on his shoulder the key of the house of David. He shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.

22And the key of the house of David will I lay upon his shoulder; so he shall open, and none shall shut; and he shall shut, and none shall open.

The commentaries in that post are helpful as we approach Christmas and the recollection of our Saviour and Redeemer’s birth.

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