Years ago, when Joe and I were climbing around in an architectural salvage shop in downtown Houston, we literally stumbled across several large wooden beams. When we looked, we could see carved into the pieces various Latin phrases, highlighted with faded gold leaf. We bought all the pieces and hauled them home, having been told only that they had been salvaged from the tear down of a Catholic church in Boston built in the 1800’s. Now 2 of these beams hang in our home. We are not Latin scholars, but have had some help from various Catholic friends and their priests. This apparently is from the “old’ Latin, and although there was not agreement among our sources, the consensus was that this one in particular is translated “Holy God, Holy fortress, Holy Immortal, Have mercy on us.”
On a Sunday afternoon not long ago, I rested for a while on the couch in our living room. I opened my eyes to see sunlight moving across the Latin words, and received a powerful awareness of the glowing light on the word Sanctus. In Advent, we are called to watch for the Light, to be aware of the Holy. It is only by watching and waiting during these Advent days I can open my eyes to see the LIght of holiness that shined in Bethlehem..