Saturday, December 18, 2010

Dec. 18: O Adonai (O Lord)

Vespers Dec. 18th.

Now here is the second 'O Antiphon':
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 to Moses in the fire of the burning bush Thou appeared
and to him on Sinai the law Thou gave :
Come to redeem us with an arm outstretched .

O Adonai... If you have translated the title of this blog, 'Dominus Prope', you know the name for 'lord' in latin is 'dominus'.  'Adonai' is the Hebrew word for 'lord'.  So why then do we not have "O Dominus..." in the Latin?  'Dominus' is one of the most common words in the Old Testament, but it is actually a replacement word for the name of God, 'Yahweh'.  So every time you see 'Dominus' in the Old Testament, it is because 'Yahweh' is being replaced.  Ever wonder why you have never seen the name of God, which was given to Moses? Now you know.  So now 'Adonai' just means 'Lord', or more precisely, 'my Lord'.  The Hebrew was preserved in Latin to differentiate it from the name of God.

Yahweh is then conspicuously absent here. For the very occasion where God gave His name is mentioned in this 'O Antiphon'.  Perhaps we are to recall it anyway, like when we identify a person by their shadow.  

Reflecting on Christ's leadership we remember that like Moses he instigates our salvation by both calling and directing us by His law.  We then need His further help, redemption, because we transgress the law of our God who we know by name.

The expression 'with an outstretched hand' coupled with the 'Adonai' uniquely identifies one of only two times the 'Adonai' is used in the Vulgate, Ex. 6:3 "The Lord spoke to Moses, saying: I am the Lord, That appeared to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, by the name of God Almighty; and my name ADONAI I did not shew them."  6:6 "Therefore, say to the Israelites: 'I am Lord, and I will bring you out from under the yoke of the Egyptians. I will free you from being slaves to them, and I will redeem you with an outstretched arm."  God himself desired to free us in an infinitely more perfect way then the freeing of the Israelites from slavery.   So when he spoke these words to Moses, he intended our redemption through Christ; the freeing of Israel was a colossal metaphor for an even greater event.  Seeing this inner purpose of God's statement long ago and realizing the immanence of Christ's coming, we are inspired to ask with great vehemence for redemption.

So now we have an 'A' from 'O Adonai', but the first Antiphon began 'O Sapientia'.  So we now have A S.

I will post the next 'O Antiphon' on Sunday at 6pm EST.

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