January 20th, 2020

There was nearly a murder a day in my adopted city of Baltimore in 2019; the official total being 348. The casualties in this ongoing, undeclared, and pointless war fell once again most heavily on African-American families. We are a very long way from “the dream” well intentioned pundits glibly invoke each Martin Luther King, Jr. weekend as if sentimentality were enough to stanch the bleeding. The “post-racial society” heralded by some after Barack Obama’s election was, it seems, no more than wishful thinking. Read the rest of this entry »

The Journey of the Magi

January 6th, 2020

It’s the Feast of the Epiphany in the West and of the Theophany in the East, and though T S Eliot’s Ariel Poem, “The Journey of the Magi,” gets trotted rather often this time of year, there’s still something in the words that makes me shiver. From the slightly modified excerpt from Lancelot Andrewes’s 1622 Christmas Day sermon that comprises the first five lines to the troubled thoughts of the speaker at the close (and from which Chinua Achebe took the title of his 1960 novel, No Longer at Ease), this is a dramatic monologue in conversation with the living and the dead. Read the rest of this entry »

Christmas Eve

December 24th, 2019

Cum ortus fúerit sol de cælo,
vidébitis Regem regum
procedéntem a Patre,
tamquam sponsum de thálamo suo.
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O Emmanuel

December 23rd, 2019

O Emmanuel, Rex et legifer noster,
exspectatio Gentium, et Salvator earum:
veni ad salvandum nos, Domine, Deus noster.
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O King of Nations

December 22nd, 2019

O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum,
lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum:
veni, et salva hominem,
quem de limo formasti.
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O Morning Star

December 21st, 2019

O Oriens,
splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae:
veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris,
et umbra mortis.
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O Key of David

December 20th, 2019

O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel;
qui aperis, et nemo claudit;
claudis, et nemo aperit:
veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris,
sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.
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O Root of Jesse

December 19th, 2019

O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum,
super quem continebunt reges os suum,
quem Gentes deprecabuntur:
veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.
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O Adonai

December 18th, 2019

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
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O Wisdom

December 17th, 2019

The “O Antiphons” begin:

O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem,
fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia:
veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.
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