Odilo of Cluny: “Lord, Son of David, Have Mercy on Us” Friday, Dec 17 2010 

Know that I am with you every day until the end of the world.

If our Lord has promised to be with his faithful people every day, we can expect him to be even closer to us on the day of his birth:

The greater our eagerness to serve him, the more we shall perceive his presence among us.

The one who spoke through Solomon, saying: I came forth from the mouth of the Most High, as the firstborn of all creation;

and again; The Lord possessed me when his purpose first unfolded, before the earliest of his works; from everlasting I was firmly established;

and who said through Isaiah: Do I not fill heaven and earth?

– this same one it is who, in the mysterious plan of his own providence, is born on earth and laid in a manger.

While Solomon’s words teach us that Christ was eternally in existence before the world began, Isaiah’s declare that there is no place in the whole of creation from which he is absent.

And if he exists always and everywhere, he cannot be absent from ourselves.

The testimony of the ancient prophets to Christ’s eternal being and his boundless divine presence is indeed trustworthy.

Our Saviour himself tells the Jews in the Gospel: Before Abraham ever existed, I am.

With God the Father from all eternity, before Abraham existed (more accurately, before anything existed) he had his eternal being.

And yet he chose to be born in time from the stock of Abraham – Abraham who was told by God the Father: In your descendants all the nations of the earth will be blessed.

The blessed patriarch David was also granted privilege of a similar promise.

Revealing to him hidden secrets of his wisdom, God the Father told him: The fruit of your body I will set upon your throne….

According to the evangelist Matthew, the opening words of whose Gospel are: The genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham….

The man in the Gospel who was freed from the darkness of ignorance and enlightened by faith addressed God’s Son as Son of David.

Not only did he receive spiritual insight, but he also deserved to have his bodily sight restored.

Christ the Lord desires to be called by this name, knowing that there is no other name by which the world can be saved.

And if we ourselves wish to be saved by him who is the one and only Saviour, each of us must also say to him: Lord, son of David, have mercy on us.

Odilo of Cluny (c.962-1048/1049): Sermo 1 In Nativitate Domini (PL 142, 993-994), from the Monastic Office of Vigils, December 21st in Advent Year I.

Odilo of Cluny: Between the Testaments – John the Baptist, Forerunner of the Lord Monday, Dec 6 2010 

The light that was to enlighten the whole world was about to shine upon it, driving away the thick, loathsome gloom of death and ignorance in which the author of darkness had enveloped it.

And since that light was eternal and incomprehensible, it was preceded by a number of shorter-lived luminaries whose rays were more readily intelligible to men.

I refer to our fathers of the Old Testament through whose virtue, teaching, and example the Lord’s faithful people were enlightened and instructed and the shadows of their age-old blindness dispersed, so that, if not entirely, at least in part, they would be able to recognise the light when it shone upon them.

Not from themselves, nor from any other man did these lesser luminaries derive their light, but from the Supreme Light itself.

They were the ones who followed the path of God’s commandments, some prior to the law, some under the law, some in the days of the judges, the kings, or the prophets but all heralding the mysteries of our Lord’s birth, passion, resurrection, and ascension.

And after them all came John, the Lord’s forerunner, a beacon whose clear light led the people to the one whom the patriarchs had proclaimed and the prophets foretold.

[…] The Gospel tells us how John was filled with the Holy Spirit while still in his mother’s womb and leapt for joy in the presence of the mother of his Lord, moved by no natural impulse but by the stirring of divine grace.

Later John bore witness to Christ the Lord in the words: Behold the Lamb of God, who takes away the sins of the world!

And Christ in his own preaching gave testimony to John, saying: Among the sons of women there has never arisen a greater than John the Baptist.

Calling him the greatest among those born of women, he drew attention to John’s constancy and austere manner of life and declared him to be a prophet and more than a prophet.

By his own divine power Christ endowed John with privileges and graces in excess of all others, describing him, through the lips of the prophet Malachi, as the messenger who was to go before him to prepare the path of his salvation.

Odilo of Cluny (c.962-1048/1049): Sermon 10, PL 142, 1019-1020, from the Monastic Office of Vigils, Wednesday of the First Week of Advent Year I