The O Antiphons December 17-24th



Since the seventh century these short prayers have been sung in monasteries all over the world at the evening hour of Vespers for the last seven days of Advent, December 17th to Christmas Eve.
These antiphons are a mosaic of hope, based on biblical references to the coming of Christ  into a waiting world. 
The antiphons all begin with a title starting with "O". These became the basis of the popular carol "O come, O come, Emmanuel". The initials, when read backwards, form the Latin "Ero Cras" which means "Tomorrow I come."

They are now also used , in shortened form, in the Alleluia verses before the days' Gospel readings. There are many different translations of the original O Antiphons.



The importance of 'O' Antiphons is twofold: each one highlights a title of the Messiah: 


O Sapientia : O Wisdom 

O Adonai : O Lord 

O Radix Jesse : O Root of Jesse
O Clavis David : O Key of David 

O Oriens : O Rising Sun 

O Rex Gentium:  O King of the Nations
and O Emmanuel : O God is With Us

Each one also refers to the prophecy of Isaiah looking forward to the coming of the Messiah.







In the first  "O Antiphon" - "O Sapientia" - "O Wisdom", we are drawn into the Old Testament's wisdom literature. 

Wisdom is a divine attribute. The divine Wisdom is personified. Wisdom is the beloved daughter who was before Creation, Wisdom is the breath of God's power, Wisdom is the shining of God's transforming glory. 




17th December

O Wisdom, you come forth from the mouth of the Most High. 
You fill the universe and hold all things together in a strong yet gentle manner.
O come to teach us the way of truth

 18th December
 
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.
 

19th December

O stock of Jesse, you stand as a signal for the nations; kings fall silent before you whom the peoples acclaim. O come to deliver us, and do not delay.

20th December 

O key of David and sceptre of Israel, what you open no one else can close again; what you close no one can open. O come and lead the captive from prison; free those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

21st December

O Rising Sun, you are the splendour of eternal light and the sun of justice. O come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.

22nd December 

O King whom all the peoples desire, you are the cornerstone which makes all one. O come and save man whom you made from clay.

23rd December
O Emmanuel, you are our king and judge, the one whom the peoples await and their Saviour. O come and save us, Lord, our God.


2 comments:

claire said...

The width and depth and length and height of your information never fail to amaze me.

Bravo again!

Philomena Ewing said...

Thanks so much Claire.

You are ver generous !!

Your kind and encouraging words always support, always encourage and always hearten me.
All Blessings come your way as we approach the end of this Advent 2010 and all love and best wishes for the coming week.