Oh Clavis; A Fourth Advent Antiphon and Sonnet

Malcolm Guite may be the best sonnet writer of our age. His Advent cycle of the “O” antiphons distills the spirituality of the this ancient cycle of prayer.

Malcolm Guite

Oh Clavis, Oh Key!

Of all the mystic titles of Christ, this is the one that connects most closely with our ‘secular’ psychology. We speak of the need on the one hand for ‘closure’ and on the other for ‘unlocking’, for ‘opening’, for  ‘liberation’. The same ideas are also there in the lines from O Come O Come Emmanuel that are drawn from this antiphon, which could easily be part of anybody’s work in good therapy:

“Make safe the way that leads on high,

and close the path to misery.”

I see this antiphon, and the sonnet I wrote in response  to it, as the ‘before’ picture that precdes the beautiful fifth antiphon O Oriens about Christ as the Dayspring and  when l wrote this sonnet I found that I had at last written something clear about my own experience of depression. I hope that others who have been in that…

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Evening Prayer 12.14.14, Third Sunday of Advent

The Daily Office

The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him, rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice.

#MillionsMarch yesterday in New York City. It wasn't millions, but it really was big, and similar protests against police violence and economic inequality reportedly took place in a hundred U.S. cities. (Facebook) #MillionsMarch yesterday in New York City. It wasn’t millions, but it really was big, and similar protests against police violence and economic inequality reportedly took place in a hundred U.S. cities. (Facebook)

In the wilderness prepare the way of the Lord, make straight in the desert a highway for our God. Isaiah 40:3

INVITATORY AND PSALTER

O God, make speed to save us.
O Lord, make haste to help us.

Glory to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Spirit:
as it was in the beginning, is now, and will be for ever. Amen. Alleluia.

Hymn: Light of the World
Phos hilaron

Light of the world in grace and beauty,
Mirror of God’s eternal face,
Transparent flame of love’s free duty,
You bring salvation to our race.
Now, as we see…

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Launde Abbey on Saint Lucy’s Day

Malcolm Guite

Launde Abbey on St. Lucy's day Launde Abbey on St. Lucy’s day

I am leading an Advent retreat here at Launde Abbey, a beautiful place hidden away in the soft folds of Leicestershire. This morning, on Saint Lucy’s day, the shortest day of the year, whose brief brightness is dedicated to the martyr saint who found the true dayspring and whose name means light, I walked in the abbey grounds. As I watched the bright low winter sun rise dazzling through the bare bleak leafless trees and light at last the Abbey’s sunken rose garden this sonnet came to me.

As always you can hear the poem by clicking on the title or the play button

Launde Abbey on St. Lucy’s day

St. Lucy’s day is brief and bright with frost,

In round cupped dew ponds shallow waters freeze,

Delicate fronds and rushes are held fast,

The low sun brings a contrast to the trees

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