“My heart is ready, God, my heart is ready; I will sing, and make music for You. Awake, my glory, awake, lyre and harp, that I may awake the Dawn. I will praise You among the peoples, Lord, I will make music for You among nations, for Your faithful love towers to heaven, Your constancy to the clouds. Be exalted above all the heavens, God! Your glory over all the earth!” – Psalm 57:7-11
“Venite, adoremus!” You probably know the spirit and meaning of that Latin phrase that is emblazoned over the door of the chapel of Greyfriars Abbey and are not aware that you know it so well. “Venite, adoremus!” “Venite, adoremus!” “Venite, adoremus!” Three times a verse we sing it with exuberant joy each Advent and Christmas season, “O Come, let us adore Him! O Come, let us adore Him! O Come, let us adore Him … Christ the Lord!” Yes, it is the original wording for that refrain in the Christmas carol, “O Come, All Ye Faithful” … “Venite, adoremus!” means “O come, let us adore Him!” It is an invitation that borders on being a command … to intentionally be about the act of adoring the Lord. Yet … down deep, at the heart and the essence, what do we meaning by “adoring”?
I adore my wife Debbie. And what is involved in that? When I gaze upon her, when I feel hear near, when I watch the love in her heart come forth, when my mind pictures her in a remembering embrace… a spiritual sense of well-being rises up from within and my soul smiles a joyful smile, not so so much a raucous laughter but a joyful smile. I think that our adoration of the Lord is somehow akin to that.
Now in this slower pace I live, I have begun to observe matters about my humanity that in the busyness of my former life, I failed to notice. For example, I have observed that each and every time I see a young child, I am overcome with joy, almost to the point of laughter. I can’t help myself … I smile with a joyful smile that rises up instinctively from within the deeper waters of my inner soul. And I think that our adoration of the Lord is somehow akin to that,
Brother Michael of Ireland is the Brother at the Abbey who most resembles a leprechaun. He is short of stature, no more than 5 foot 2. Within his greying head of curls, the last remnant of his fiery red hair can be found. His eyes are alive with a sparkling blue, almost a sky blue, only a shade darker. Brother Michael is also our resident musician, our pianist, our organist, our music director. He sings like an angel, not with the booming bass of a proclaiming archangel, but the lyric tenor of a more playful angel. He is always singing, whistling … even when he is observing the Holy Quiet keeping the music tucked quietly just behind his countenance, somehow singing and whistling in a silent sort of way. Ad Brother Michael is also a birdwatcher, a very, very avid birdwatcher.
Yes, Brother Michael is a birdwatcher … a hobby I never have had the patience to involve myself with …. oh, I like birds … but I always let them come to me rather than my going searching for them. Possibly, Brother Michael sensed this lacking in my nature … for he suddenly one morning invited me to go with him on one of his birdwatching expeditions. He gave me a spare set of binoculars and we were off. As we began our walk, he said to me a phrase that I will long and often consider … both theologically and spiritually …he said with a blend of both seriousness and whimsy … “Well, Brother Andrew, let us be off to the woods, for I do believe there are songs to be found there...”
“Let us be off to the woods, for I do believe, there are songs to be found there…” As I contemplate those words, I sense that our intentional adoration of the Lord is somehow akin to that. “Let us be off to the woods, for I do believe there are songs to be found there.” And Brother Micheal’s intention and hope were fulfilled, we found many songs there in the woods, one sung by a cardinal, a waxwing, a chickadee, and a number of warblers of diverse ethnicities.
My Loved Ones, “Venite, adoremus!” It is an invitation that borders on being a command. “O come, let us adore the Lord” … in the face of a child, in the embrace of a loved one, in the birds that dwell among the pines and the oaks, in the whistling of the winds and in the dancing of the waters … let us always be off to the woods (and to the streets and byways, as well, for there is music also in the city), searching for the divine music to be found there. And when we find it … something will rise up from within the deeper place in our souls … a sense of well-being that smiles a joyful smile, a heaven-sent smile that comes almost to the point of laughter. But we must remember that the birds don’t always come to us to sing their serenade … sometimes, maybe, even far more often, … we must go searching for the music until we come upon it.
Brother Anthony of the Cross