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Divine Office Reflections | Wednesday in the Fourth Week of Advent

O Emmanuel

O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver, desire of the nations, Savior of all people: Come and set us free, Lord our God.

Joseph was told that Mary would conceive by the Holy Spirit and bear a son and that all this would take place “to fulfill what the Lord said through the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a son, and they shall name him Emmanuel,’ which means ‘God is with us.’

Sure enough, upon the Angel Gabriel’s annunciation, Mary conceived in her womb the one who would rule over the house of Jacob forever.

The king and lawgiver, desire of the nations, savior of all had come near. But not without the help of an angelic messenger and not without the cooperation of a virgin from Nazareth. The Gospel of St. Luke tells us that after Gabriel’s visit to Mary, “Mary set out and traveled to the hill country in haste… where she entered the house of Zechariah and greeted Elizabeth.” Not only was Elizabeth astonished at the visitation of Mary who bore God in her womb, but even the infant in her womb (John the Baptist) leaped for joy at the sound of Mary’s greeting.

It is true that God is with us. But God’s ordinary means of drawing near is by seeking out created vessels who willingly share in His mission.

In these last days of Advent, let us remember that the Church is the incarnate body of the Son. And it is through His members that Christ is revealed to the nations. The Church does not have a mission from God. The Church is the mission of God. Like Mary, we have been sent… sent to a world in need, bearing in our hearts the true king and lawgiver, the desire of every nation, and the only One who can save us all from our sins.

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