Reflections for Advent - Lesson IV: (Clavis David: Key of David)

Based on the Writings of Blessed John Henry Newman 

Antiphon: (O Clavis David)

O Key of David and Sceptre of the house of Israel, who openest and none shutteth, who shuttest and none openeth: come Thou, and bring forth the captive from the house of bondage, who sitteth in darkness and in the shadow of death. (Newman, Tracts, vol. III)


Behold my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen, in whom my soul delights; I have put my Spirit upon him, he will bring forth justice to the nations. He will not cry or lift up his voice, or make it heard in the street; a bruised reed he will not break, and a dimly burning which he will not quench; he will faithfully bring forth justice. He will not fail or be discouraged till he has established justice in the earth; and the islands wait for his law. Thus says God, the Lord, who created the heavens and stretched them out, who spread forth the earth and what comes from it, who gives breath to the people upon it and spirit to those who walk in it: "I am the Lord, I have called you in righteousness, I have taken you by the hand and kept you; I have given you as a covenant to the people, a light to the nations, to open the eyes that are blind, to bring out the prisoners from the dungeon, from the prison those who sit in darkness. I am the Lord, that is my name; my glory I give to no other, nor my praise to graven images. Behold, the former things have come to pass, and new things I now declare; before they spring forth I tell you of them." (Isaiah 42: 1–9)


David was the son of a Bethlehemite, one among the families of Israel, with nothing apparently to recommend him to God; the youngest of his brethren, and despised by them. He was sent to feed the sheep; and his father, though doubtless he loved him dearly, yet seems to have thought little of him. For when Samuel came to Jesse at God's command, in order to choose one of his sons from the rest as God might direct him, Jesse did not bring David before him, though he did bring all his other children. Thus David seemed born to live and die among his sheep. His brothers were allowed to engage in occupations which the world thinks higher and more noble. Three of them served as soldiers in the king's army, and in consequence looked down upon David; on his asking about Goliath, one of them said to him in contempt, "With whom hast thou left those few sheep in the wilderness?" Yet God took him from the sheepfolds to make him His servant and His friend. Now this is fulfilled in the case of all Christians. They are by nature poor, and mean, and nothing worth; but God chooses them, and brings them near unto Himself. He looks not at outward things; He chooses and decrees according to His will, and why He chooses these men, and passes over those, we know not. (Newman, "The Call of David")

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