The O Antiphons of Advent

Since the seventh century the short "O"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. 
The 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
and each one also refers to the Old Testament prophecy of Isaiah looking forward to the coming 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

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.

No comments: