Come, O Lord


Today’s O Antiphon is below—in its Latin, English, and adapted forms. Subscribers can keep reading below the image for a short reflection and another response poem by the brilliant Fr. Malcolm Guite. I hope these brief moments of reading and reflection help you capture the heart of Advent in this busy final week before Christmas.

O Adonai

Latin Text
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

English Translation 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

O Come, O Come, Emmanuel Adaptation O come, O come, Great Lord of might, who to your tribes on Sinai’s height in ancient times did give the law in cloud and majesty and awe.

A Poetic Response, by Fr. Malcolm Guite

Today's poem by Fr. Malcolm Guite plays on the most important name God gives himself throughout the Scriptures: Yahweh, "I Am." The four letters YHWH—referred to as the Tetragramaton—spell out the Divine Name of God.

This name is considered so sacred that both ancient and modern Hebrews have refused to write or speak it aloud. In its place, scattered all throughout the Old Testament, is the word Adonai, most often translated as "Lord."*

This poem captures the reality that the God whose name is so Holy it cannot even be said aloud has met us face to face in the form of a child.

O Adonai / O Lord
Unsayable, you chose to speak one tongue,
Unseeable, you gave yourself away,
The Adonai, the Tetragramaton
Grew by a wayside in the light of day.

O you who dared to be a tribal God, To own a language, people and a place, Who chose to be exploited and betrayed, If so you might be met with face to face, Come to us here, who would not find you there, Who chose to know the skin and not the pith, Who heard no more than thunder in the air, Who marked the mere events and not the myth. Touch the bare branches of our unbelief And blaze again like fire in every leaf.