Saturday, 13 June 2020 16:00

The O Antiphons And Emma

Written by  Priscilla K. Garatti
We Are All Just Walking Each Other Home~Ram Dass We Are All Just Walking Each Other Home~Ram Dass Photo by Priscilla K. Garatti

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.





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What Readers Are Saying

In Missing God Priscilla takes a brave and unflinching look at grief and the myriad ways in which it isolates one person from another. The characters are full-bodied and the writing is mesmerizing. Best of all, there is ample room for hope to break through. This is a must read.

Beth Webb-Hart (author of Grace At Lowtide)

winner"On A Clear Blue Day" won an "Enduring Light" Bronze medal in the 2017 Illumination Book Awards.

winnerAn excerpt from Missing God won as an Honorable Mention Finalist in Glimmertrain’s short story “Family Matters” contest in April 2010.