The Hill

Franciscan Readings for the Christian Year.

O Clavis David : Come, Break Down the Prison Walls of Death and Lead Us to Freedom.


A reading from ‘The Assisi Compilation
From the beginning of his conversion, blessd Francis, with God’s help, like a wise man, established himself and his house, that is, the religion, upon a firm rock, the greatest humility and poverty of the Son of God, calling it the religion of ‘Lesser Brothers’.
On the greatest humility: thus at the beginning of the religion, after the brothers grew in number, he wanted the brothers to stay in hospitals of lepers to serve them. At that time, whenever nobles and commoners came to the religion, they were told, among other things, that they had to serve the lepers and stay in their houses.
On the greatest poverty: as stated in the Rule, let the brothers remain as strangers and pilgrims in the houses in which they stay. Let them not seek to have anything under heaven, except holy poverty, by which, in this world, they are nourished by the Lord with bodily food and virtue, and, in the next, will attain a heavenly inheritance.
He established himself on the greatest poverty and humility, because, although he was a great prelate in the church of God, he wanted and chose to be lowly not only in the church of God, but also among his brothers.



O Key of David, O royal Power of Israel controlling at your will the gate of heaven: come, break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadows of death; and lead your captive people into freedom.


Be sure to visit us tomorrow for O Oriens…

O Radix Jesse : Come, Let Nothing Keep You From Coming To Our Aid.

A reading from ‘The Legend ofthe Three Companions’ of Saint Francis.
Rising at daybreak, Francis and Bernard, together with another man named Peter, who also wanted to become a brother, went to the church of San Nicolo next to the piazza of the city of Assisi. They entered for prayer but, because they were simple, they did not know how to find the passage in the gospel about renunciation. They prayed devoutly that the Lord would show them his will on opening the book the first time.
Once they had finished prayer, blessd Francis took the closed book and, kneeling before the altar, opened it. At its first opening, the Lord’s counsel confronted them: ‘If you wish to be perfect, go, sell everything you possess and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven.’
Blessed Francis was overjoyed when he read this passage and thanked God But since he was a true worshipper of the Trinity, he desired it to be confirmed by a threefold affirmation. He opened the book a second and a third time. When he opened it up the second time, he saw: ‘Take nothing for your journey’; and at the third opening: ‘If any one wishes to come after me, he must deny himself.’
Each time he opened the book, blessed Francis thanked God for confirming his plan and the desire he had earlier conceived. After the third divine confirmation was pointed out and explained, he said to those men, Bernard and Peter, ‘Brothers, this is our life and rule and that of all who will want to join our company. Go, therefore, and fulfil what you have heard.’
Then Lord Bernard, who was very rich, after selling all he had and acquiring a large sum of money, went and distributed it all to the city’s poor. Peter, likewise, followed the divine counsel according to his means.
After ridding themselves of everything, they both received the habit which the saint had adopted after he had put aside the habit of a hermit; and, from that hour, they lived with him according to the form of the holy gospel, as the Lord had shown them. This is why blessed Francis said in his Testament:  ‘The Lord himself revealed to me that I should live according to the form of the holy gospel.’


O Flower of Jesse’s stem, you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in your presence; the nations bow down in worship before you.   Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid.


Be sure to visit us tomorrow for O Clavis David…

The Gift of Liberty and Self-Determination : Human Rights Watch.

For many years I have been following the reports of Human Rights Watch, the social justice group associated with the United Nations.   Their World Reports precis the state of our world in our caring for our neighbour in practical terms.   The men and women who are associated with HRW are, in my opinion, heroes.  They often place themselves in immense danger in order to relieve the sufferings of others.    At no small risk to their liberty, these courageous people talk back to the corrupt leadership of nations and say, “Enough is enough!”  HRW does not bother itself with the tiresome issues of “personal rights” that we seem to hear so much about in the media in Australia.  Instead, HRW refuses to pay lip service to the ideal of unconditional love and constantly converts words into action.  I was very moved by this short video of the work they have undertaken in 2011.  

Click here to find out how you can support HRW.


O Adonai : O Lord, Come and Stretch Out Your Mighty Hand to Set Us Free.

A reading from ‘The Legend of the Three Companions’ of Saint Francis.
As both the truth of blessed Francis’ simple teaching as well as that of his life became known to many, two years after his conversion, some men began to be moved to do penance by his example and, leaving all things, they joined him in life and habit. The first of these was Brother Bernard of holy memory.
He knew well how luxuriously blessed Francis had lived in the world; now he observed his constancy and zeal in the divine service, how, in particular, he was restoring dilapidated churches with a great deal of work, and what an austere life he was leading. He planned wholeheartedly to give everything he possessed to the poor and, with determination, to join him in life and garb.
Therefore one day, approaching the man of God in secret, he disclosed his plan to him, and arranged to have him come that evening to his home. Thanking God, for he did not then have a companion, blessed Francis was overjoyed, especially since Lord Bernard was a person of great stature.
On the appointed evening, blessed Francis came to his house, his heart filled with great joy, and spent that whole night there. Among many things, Lord Bernard said to him, ‘If, for many years, someone holds on to the possessions – many or few – he has acquired from his lord, and no longer wishes to keep them, what is the better thing for him to, do with them?’ Blessed Francis answered that he must give back to that lord what was received from him. And Lord Bernard said, ‘Then, brother, I want to give away all my worldly goods for the love of my Lord who gave them to me, as it seems best to you.’ The saint told him, ‘We will go to the church early in the morning and, through the book of the gospels, we will learn how the Lord instructed his disciples.’

O sacred Lord of ancient Israel, who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush, who gave him the holy law on Sinai Mountain: come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free.

Be sure to visit us tomorrow for O Radix Jesse …

O Wisdom, Come and Show Your People the Way to Salvation.

A reading from ‘The Legend of the Three Companions’ of Saint Francis.
While he was completing the church of San Damiano, blessed Francis wore the habit of a hermit: a staff in his hand, shoes on his feet and a leather belt around his waist.  Then, one day at Mass, he heard those things which Christ tells the disciples who were sent out to preach, instructing them to carry no gold or silver, no wallet or purse, bread, walking stick, or shoes, or two tunics. After understanding this more clearly because of the priest, he was filled with indescribable joy. ‘This,’ he said, ‘is what I want to do with all my strength.’
And so, after committing to memory everything he had heard, he joyfully fulfilled them, removed his second garment without delay, and from then on never used a walking stick, shoes, purse or wallet.   He made for himself a very cheap and plain tunic and, throwing the belt away, he girded himself with a cord.
Applying all the care of his heart to observe the words of new grace as much as possible, he began, inspired by God, to be a messenger of evangelical perfection and, in simple words, to preach penance in public. His words were neither hollow nor ridiculous, but filled with the power of the Holy Spirit, penetrating the marrow of the heart, so that listeners were turned to great amazement.

As he later testified, he learned a greeting of this sort by the Lord’s revelation, ‘May the Lord give you peace!’  Therefore, in all his preaching, he greeted the people at the beginning of his sermon with a proclamation of peace.

O Wisdom, O holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care.  Come and show your people the way to salvation.

Be sure to visit us tomorrow for O Adonai …

The Great Antiphons – Seven Last Days of Advent


Christmas is approaching!  Anyone foolhardy enough to attempt to steam their way through Chermside or Stafford City in the last week or so would know this.   In the hurry and panic of purchasing gifts, in the anxiety and apprehension that can be attached to preparing Christmas celebrations for relatives and friends, in the mere longing for the festivities to come to rest, for the tinsel to be packed away in the shed and for the decorations and tree to be stacked away somewhere you will (hopefully) remember for next year.     At Bondi Junction yesterday, I was in Westfield (what was I thinking?!!) and walked past Santa’s dais – it was vacant as Santa was off on his union-sanctioned lunch break – a neat, little sign was placed on his chair and in nice, snowcapped, letters it read “Please don’t climb up on the throne.”   This reminded me of the Great Antiphons as marking our last week before that day when a King is born in Bethlehem to rule in our hearts.    And we are certainly permitted to ascend the throne to be with Christ but not to ask for a new iPad or a pair of Nike TNs – we are invited to share a vision of the world with Christ, one where love reigns and where to rule is to serve.


So, The Hill will feature one of these Antiphons for each day before Christmas.  They are ancient and usually preceed the Magnificat at evening prayer.   They are O Sapientia (O Wisdom), O Adonai (O Adonai), O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse), O Clavis David (O Key of David), O Oriens (O Rising Sun), O Rex Gentium (O King of the Nations), O Emmanuel (O God-with-us).    It forms the acrostic “Ero Cras” – Tomorrow, I will be there.     A reflection will accompany each day as well as a Franciscan reading and prayer.

Hope you can join us in this last stage of our Christmas journey.


Father, creator and redeemer of us all, you decreed and your Word became man, born of the Virgin Mary.  May we come to share the divinity of Christ, who humbled himself to share our human nature, for he lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, on God forever and ever.

The New Order of Mass!

 The long-awaited New Order of Mass is now here and is being used in Parishes.   The National Liturgical Commission has some good resources for you to become proficient at the new responses.

Post Navigation


Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 38 other followers