The O Antiphons are verses that are sung or chanted preceding the Magnificat ("My soul magnifies the Lord, my spirit rejoices in God my Savior...") at vespers during the last week of Advent...Each one addresses Christ by a different title: "O Wisdom," "O Adonai," "O Root of Jesse," "O Key of David," "O Radiant Dawn," "O King of Nations," "O Emmanuel." The chant tones are uncommonly beautiful, and combine with an uncommon wealth of imagery to fulfill one role of chant, that is, to engage us more fully, more bodily, with our faith each time we hear or sing them.~Kathleen Norris (From The Cloister Walk)
It was just so sudden. Or so it seemed. We knew Emma was at the end of her life. But so soon after we'd heard she'd tested negative for COVID? After I'd just updated you here at the website that we rejoiced that Emma was recovering? I don't doubt that every one of your prayers was answered, though. Giovanni and I learned that the day before she died, Emma still recognized her daughters and was alert. In good spirits. She died peacefully in her sleep. She left a still smile upon her face. I like to imagine that her smile indicated she heard the O Antiphons--that the gorgeous strains of "O Wisdom, O Adonai, O Root of Jesse, O Key of David, O Radiant Dawn, O King of Nations and O Emmanuel" were the sounds she heard as she made her procession into Heaven, the Kings of Kings welcoming her, embracing her. "You're home now, Emma. Well done my good and faithful servant." (Speaking Italian, of course.)
Emma and I were two very different women. Different cultures. Different languages. Our common theme was that we both loved Giovanni. I'll be ever grateful that she loved my husband well. He loves me similarly. Providing me acceptance that is hard to find in this world. Emma was the type of person that, sitting in her presence, you found yourself feeling more peaceful, your breathing calmed. She didn't require you to be anyone but who you were. She spoke love with her eyes. She didn't have an agenda for our encounters. Let's just be together. That's enough. I never felt rushed with her. I never felt anxious in her presence. Her heart was Kingdom love brought to earth.
Our lives will not be the same without Emma and simultaneously, they are forever changed.