Saturday, December 02, 2023

Advent I -- Veni Veni Emauel


Somewhere in the mists of history, servants of God living in community recorded expressions of worship that would become known as Antiphons, devotional compositions that were sung responsively during worship.  Among these was one sung in the eight days (or Octave) preceding Christmas.  It captures the longing of those who were waiting for what the Gospel writers described simply as the "Consolation of Israel".  Those singing the antiphon would proclaim (in Latin):

Veni, veni, Emmanuel 
 captivum solve Israel,

 qui gemit in exsilio,

privatus Dei Filio.

Gaude! Gaude! Emmanuel,

nascetur  pro te Israel!

While we may not be fluent in Latin, we might deduce these words to be the first stanza of the Advent carol, "Oh come, Emmanuel".  Perhaps my favorite rendition of this ancient antiphon has been captured by the Celtic muse, Enya:

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