et Dux domus Israel,
qui Móysi in igne flammæ rubi apparuísti
et ei in Sina legem dedísti:
veni ad rediméndum nos in bráchio exténto.
“O Adonai and leader of Israel, you appeared to Moses in a burning bush and you gave him the Law on Sinai. O come and save us with your mighty power.”
Approaching the feast of God as man, we remember that this baby is the God and leader of Israel. “Adonai” is the name which is pronounced whenever the too-sacred name “YHWH” occurs in the Hebrew scriptures. It means “Sovereignty”, and by its use in sacred contexts it itself becomes too sacred to be used in ordinary speech.
This is the second great Vesper antiphon in the seven-day countdown to Christmas. Vespers is the appropriate time for this antiphon since this is when the Magnificat, Mary’s own hymn of praise, is sung or said.