O Necessary Night

 

The following sermon was composed by Sister Claire Marie, and collaboratively preached to our monastic community by Sister Claire Marie and Sister Florentina Marie, on the occasion of our Solemn Joyous Chapter of Christmas Eve, 2016.  

Peace be with you this Christmastide, and in the new year!


                                                                     -- Sister Elizabeth Marie




For seven days, the great O Antiphons have resounded from monasteries and Christian communities around the world, unanimously calling for the Messiah.  

We look back, and now discern our Lord's encrypted response: the mysterious 'Ero Cras.'

The Spirit and the Bride have cried, 'Come, Lord Jesus.'

Now, the Bridegroom answers: 'Ero Cras.'

I come tomorrow 

-- to govern all creation with my strong yet tender care, and to show my people the way to salvation . . .  O Wisdom.

I come tomorrow

-- to show myself, put a new law in your hearts, to stretch out my mighty hand and to set you free . . .  O Ancient Lord.

I come tomorrow

-- to be a sign for all peoples and in my Presence, kings and nations will be silent, will bow in worship, in adoration . . .  O Flower of Jesse's Stem.

I come tomorrow

 -- to open prison's doors and lead the captive peoples into freedom . . .   
O Key of David.

I come tomorrow

-- with the Splendour of eternal light, as Sun of Justice: to shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death . . .  O Radiant Dawn.

I come tomorrow

-- to save the creature I fashioned from the dust and be the joy of every human heart . . .   
O King of All the Nations.

I come tomorrow

-- to be the Saviour of all people: for I am the desire of the nations, I am God-With-You . . .
O Emmanuel.

Tonight

You will 'call us out of darkness, into Your marvellous light.' 
Yes, you will come in the night.  For it was: 

In the darkness of night

-- that our father Abraham received Your promise, the promise to be a father of a son, and the father of multitudes as numerous as the stars shining that dark desert night; the promise of this night.

In the darkness of night

-- You, O Lord, appeared to Isaac at Beersheba to renew the promise made to Abraham.  There, Isaac pitched his tent and dug a well.  In faith, he awaited the One who would pitch His tent among us and become the Source of Living Water springing up to Eternal Life.

In the darkness of night

-- Jacob dreamt of a mysterious ladder set up on earth, the top reaching heaven with angels ascending and descending.  You, O Lord, renewed Your promise that night.  You said that all families of the earth would be blessed in his offspring, blessed by the One who would descend that ladder, the One who did not regard equality with God something to be exploited but emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness.

In the darkness of night

-- Joseph dreamt dreams and received the promise that the Little Rejected One would be the Saviour.  Sold and lead into Egypt, Jospeh believed that 'out of Egypt you have called your Son.'

In the darkness of night

--the paschal lamb was slaughtered and blood was sprinkled on the doorposts, so that death would pass over.  Foretelling the night when the Good Shepherd would come to become the Lamb: the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.

In the darkness of night

-- lowly shepherds perceived the shimmering of light and heard a myriad of voices, voices of angels singing, 'Glory to God in the highest and peace to all peoples on earth.'  These silent ones become the first to preach the Word.  Those who were outcasts, were brought near and went forth to announce the good news of the Saviour. 

In the darkness of night

-- in the midst of silence, Your mighty Word, Lord, came down from heaven.

O silent night
O night of promise
O night of infinite love
O necessary night, preceding the dawn: as surely as the dawn He shall come
O holy night     
It is the night of our dear Saviour's birth
A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn
Fall on your knees!  O, hear the angel voices!
O night divine, the night when Christ was born.

    











                                                                                 

Queen of Peace Novitiate