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The “O” Antiphons: O King…

O_King

From December 17-23, I’d like to share with you these antiphons, that you will pray with them and they will help you continue to prepare for the Advent of our Lord. May they become part of your Advent tradition as they are becoming part of mine.

For December 22, the antiphon is based on Isaiah 2:4; 11:10, Psalm 47:8; Jeremiah 10:7, Daniel 7:14; Haggai 2:8, Romans 15:12 and Ephesians 2:14, 20.

O Rex Gentium, et desideratus earum, lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unum: veni, et salva hominem, quem de limo formasti.

O King of all peoples and their hope, cornerstone uniting Jews and Gentiles in one people: Come, and save man whom You formed from the dust of the earth.

From Evening prayer
O King of all the nations
the only joy of every human heart; O Keystone of the mighty arch of man:
Come
and save the creature you fashioned from the dust.

From O Come, O Come Emmannuel:
Verse 7:
O Come, Desire of the nations, bind
in one the hearts of all mankind;
bid every strife and quarrel cease
and fill the world with heaven’s peace.

King of All Peoples
By His word, God made the first man, from whom all men and women have been born – people now divided into many peoples and nations struggling against one another.

In Christ, the Word incarnate, God gathers all who are of good will again into one, in the unity of His Mystical Body; and thereby He fulfills the desire of mankind through the ages for true union and peace. We beg Him to come and save our warring world, to re-establish all things in His love.

-
(Reflection taken from Bible and Liturgy, a Sunday parish bulletin published by the Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minn. Edited by Rev. William Heidt, OSB. Published with the approval of Bishop Peter W. Bartholome of St. Cloud. Printed in 1959 by the North Central Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota (c) 1959 by the Order of St. Benedict, Inc.)

The “O” Antiphons: O Dawn…

o_dawn

From December 17-23, I’d like to share with you these antiphons, that you will pray with them and they will help you continue to prepare for the Advent of our Lord. May they become part of your Advent tradition as they are becoming part of mine.

For December 21, the antiphon is based on Isaiah 9:1; 58:8; 60:18-20, Malachi 4:2, Luke 1:78-79, John 8:12 and Revelation 22:16

O Oriens, splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae: veni, et illumina sedentes in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

O Dawn in the East, splendor of the everlasting Light and Sun of Justice: Come and give light to those sitting in darkness, in the shadow of death.

From Evening prayer
O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice:
Come,
shine on those who dwell in darkness
and the shadow of death.

From O Come, O Come Emmanuel:
Verse 6:
O Come, Thou Dayspring from on high,
and cheer us by thy drawing nigh;
disperse the gloomy clouds of night
and death’s dark shadow put to flight.

Dawn in the East
We pray our Lord to give us light of His revelation and life to all mankind, to lead everyone on earth out of spiritual darkness into the glory of a life unending.

-
(Reflection taken from Bible and Liturgy, a Sunday parish bulletin published by the Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minn. Edited by Rev. William Heidt, OSB. Published with the approval of Bishop Peter W. Bartholome of St. Cloud. Printed in 1959 by the North Central Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota (c) 1959 by the Order of St. Benedict, Inc.)

The “O” Antiphons: O Key of David…

o_key_of_david

From December 17-23, I’d like to share with you these antiphons, that you will pray with them and they will help you continue to prepare for the Advent of our Lord. May they become part of your Advent tradition as they are becoming part of mine.

For December 20, the antiphon is based on Isaiah 22:22, Jeremiah 13:13; 51:19, Matthew 4:16; 16:19 and Luke 1:79

O Clavis David, et sceptrum domus Israel, qui aperis, et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperuit: veni, et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.

O Key of David and sceptre of the House of Israel! You open and no one closes, You close and no one opens: Come and lead out of prison the captive who sits in darkness and the shadow of death.

From Evening prayer
O Key of David, O royal Power of Israel,
controlling at your will the gate of heaven:
Come,
break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death; and lead your captive people into freedom.

From O Come, O Come Emmannuel:
Verse 5:
O Come, Thou Key of David, come,
and open wide our heav’nly home,
make safe the way that leads on high,
that we no more have cause to sigh.

Key of David
Jesus, our Lord possesses the royal power of His ancestor David in a far fuller and higher way. What he commands is done. By His death on the Cross, He broke open the gates of death and led the souls of the just into everlasting life. He broke the power of the devil who had helped all people captive in sin and the fear of death. We pray Him to come and free us from slavery to sin and to the fear that sin brings with it.

-
(Reflection taken from Bible and Liturgy, a Sunday parish bulletin published by the Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minn. Edited by Rev. William Heidt, OSB. Published with the approval of Bishop Peter W. Bartholome of St. Cloud. Printed in 1959 by the North Central Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota (c) 1959 by the Order of St. Benedict, Inc.)

Christmas eve mass from St. Peter’s Basilica

ChristmasMass

On Christmas Eve Pope Francis leads the church in celebrating the birth of Christ with Mass at The Vatican. S+L brings you full coverage with English commentary.

Wednesday, Dec 24 3:30 pm ET / 12:30pm PT

Hanukkah and Advent: Christians & Jews share a common hope for lasting justice & peace in the world

Menorah

This evening at sundown, Jews begin their eight-day celebration of Hanukkah at sundown. In a few days, many Christians celebrate their Christmas. During the eight-day period of Hanukkah, Jews celebrate the Festival of Lights and continue to long for the Messiah’s coming.

For many Christians and Jews celebrating these two seasons and feasts in the northern hemisphere, we do so during the season of winter. Both faith communities draw on the symbols of candles and lights that shatter the winter darkness.

Both holiday seasons invite Christians and Jews to ask the deeper questions: How do we continue to long for the salvation that the Messiah will bring? What can we do to spread God’s light around us and dispel the darkness of fear, sin and despair? The Messianic kingdom for all of us still lies ahead.

While I was a student at Jerusalem’s Hebrew University years ago, I heard a story about a certain Rabbi Menahem. When the old sage lived in Israel, a wild man climbed a high mountain, unnoticed, and from the top of the mountain began to blow a trumpet over the city below.

There was a great deal of excitement among the people and a rumour quickly spread: The trumpet is announcing our liberation!

When the rumour came to the ears of Rabbi Menahem, he looked at the world outside his window and said gruffly, ‘What I see is no renewal.’

At the first Christmas, there was just as little to see through the window of the world. Outside the later Gospels, only a couple of secular Roman historians of the time mention in passing the name of Jesus.

Even today, the questions arise: If Jesus is the Messiah ‘the bringer of peace’ and if he really was born in Bethlehem some 2,000 years ago, why is there still so much sin and suffering and turmoil in the world? Why so much terror, hatred violence and war, much of it in the name of God?

Why is there no renewal? Was the Messiah’s project a failure?

The kingdom that Jesus preached was the daring vision of Israel’s God of compassion, mercy, justice and righteousness, a kingdom that involved reforming lives, adhering to the law of love, alleviating the pain and suffering of others, building community, worshiping God in Spirit and truth. There is still much work to be done to realize God’s daring vision, made known to us through his only son.

Where do we begin? We start by working together as Christians and Jews to protect the most important human values, which are threatened by a world in continual transformation. Christians and Jews have a special affinity for life and must do everything in our power to uphold the dignity of human life, from conception to natural death. We must promote the dignity of the human person.

At the core of Christian and Jewish life is the sacredness and centrality of the family. Christians and Jews must be known for our efforts in the areas of social justice, peace, and freedom for all human beings.

As Christians and Jews, we continue to pray together to God. The Jewish ‘Kaddish’ and the Christian ‘Our Father’ express a common hope: ‘Thy kingdom come!’

We must utter this prayer more loudly and clearly in these days of darkness for so many in the world, especially for the people of Syria, the Holy Lands of the Middle East that are still struggling for God‚s justice and peace, and for all those suffering in war, poverty, famine, injustice.

Miracle of Hannukkah engraving

Our common longing for the fruits of the Messianic kingdom invites us, Christians and Jews, to a knowledge of our communion and friendship with one another and a recognition of the terrible brokenness of the world.

As St. John Paul II taught us so powerfully through his friendship with the Jewish people, nothing and no one can ever wrench us away any longer from that deep communion and friendship.

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI allowed that friendship to deepen and mature in a remarkable way with his meetings with Jewish leaders during his pontificate, and his historic visits to Synagogues in Rome, Germany and New York City.

Pope Francis has written beautifully about our relationship with the Jewish people in his monumental Apostolic Exhortation ‘Evangelii Gaudium:’

“As Christians, we cannot consider Judaism as a foreign religion; nor do we include the Jews among those called to turn from idols and to serve the true God. With them, we believe in the one God who acts in history, and with them we accept his revealed word.”

“Dialogue and friendship with the children of Israel are part of the life of Jesus‚ disciples. The friendship which has grown between us makes us bitterly and sincerely regret the terrible persecutions which they have endured, and continue to endure, especially those that have involved Christians.”

The ‘tikkun haolam,’ the healing of the world, its repair, restoration and redemption, including the redemption of Israel, depends upon us, together.

To our many Jewish friends who view our network and know us through our many media platforms, Hag Sameach! Happy and blessed feast of lights! Let us go forward in peace! We have much good work to do together to heal a broken world and wounded humanity.

Video: Hanukkah 2012; Argentine Catholics & Jews celebrate Hanukkah & Christmas together
Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio’s last Hannukkah in Buenos Aires

The “O” Antiphons: O Stock of Jesse…

o_stock_of_jesus

From December 17-23, I’d like to share with you these antiphons, that you will pray with them and they will help you continue to prepare for the Advent of our Lord. May they become part of your Advent tradition as they are becoming part of mine.

For December 19, the antiphon is based on Isaiah 11:1, 10, Isaiah 52:15 and Romans 15:12.

O Radix Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt reges os suum, quem gentes deprecabuntur: veni ad liberandum nos, jam noli tardare.

O stock of Jesse, set up as the rallying sign for the nations! In Your presence rulers are silent and the peoples make supplication: Come deliver us; do not delay.

From Evening prayer
O Flower of Jesse’s stem,
you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples;
kings stand silent in your presence;
the nations bow down in worship before you.
Come,
let nothing keep you from coming to our aid.

From O Come, O Come Emmannuel:
Verse 4:
O Come, Thou Rod of Jesse’s stem,
from ev’ry foe deliver them
that trust Thy mighty power to save,
and give them vict’ry o’er the grave.

Stock of Jesse
In His human nature, Christ is the descendant of Jesse, Father of David, the great king of God’s people.

Our Lord is the King of kings. His power extends to all peoples and to their rulers. In the desperate perils of our age, we pray Him to come quickly and deliver us, to establish in all hearts His kingdom of truth and of life, of justice, love and peace.

-
(Reflection taken from Bible and Liturgy, a Sunday parish bulletin published by the Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minn. Edited by Rev. William Heidt, OSB. Published with the approval of Bishop Peter W. Bartholome of St. Cloud. Printed in 1959 by the North Central Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota (c) 1959 by the Order of St. Benedict, Inc.)

The “O” Antiphons: O Adonai…

o_adonai

From December 17-23, I’d like to share with you these antiphons, that you will pray with them and they will help you continue to prepare for the Advent of our Lord. May they become part of your Advent tradition as they are becoming part of mine.

For December 18, the antiphon is based on Exodus 3:2, Isaiah 33:22; 63:11-12, Micah 6:4 and Acts 7:30-31.

O Adonai, et dux domus Israel, qui Moyse in igne flammae rubi apparuisti, et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.

O Adonai and Leader of the House of Israel! You appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush and gave the Law on Mount Sinai: Come, and redeem us with outstretched arm.

From Evening prayer
O Adonai,
Sacred Lord of ancient Israel,
who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush, who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain:
Come,
stretch out your mighty hand to set us free.

From O Come, O Come Emmannuel:
Verse 3:
O Come, O Come, Thou Lord of might,
who to thy tribes on Sinai’s height
in ancient times didst give the law,
in cloud, and majesty, and awe.

Adonai

Adonai means Lord (thus the translation, “Sacred Lord of Ancient Israel). It was one of the titles used when speaking of or to God in the Old Testament. It was Adonai who led the Chosen People out of captivity in Egypt “by the mighty arm of his power” and gave them His law on Mount Sinai.

Similarly Christ, the Lord led us out of our captivity to Satan by dying “with outstretched arms” on the Cross of Calvary; and He has given us His law of love. We beg Him to come at Christmas and redeem us completely from slavery to sin; and to vie us the power to live more fully in obedience to His law.

(Reflection taken from Bible and Liturgy, a Sunday parish bulletin published by the Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minn. Edited by Rev. William Heidt, OSB. Published with the approval of Bishop Peter W. Bartholome of St. Cloud. Printed in 1959 by the North Central Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota (c) 1959 by the Order of St. Benedict, Inc.)

Remembering Mary

Maria

The Season of Advent helps us to prepare for Christmas where we recall in faith Christ’s coming among us. It is also a time in which we look at our present lives and reflect on the second coming of Christ in our own lives and at the end of the ages.

It is definitely a season of joyous expectation in light of the Feast of Christmas. However it is also a time of preparation in which we are invited to renew our Christian faith. We can become more attentive to the gift of our faith and to explore the implications of what it means to believe in the person of Christ and above all to become more grateful for the presence of God’s love which is fully manifest in the person of Christ.

On the very First Sunday of Advent these very themes we addressed in the Opening Prayer at Mass:

Father in Heaven, our hearts desire the warmth of your love and our minds are searching for the light of your Word. Increase our longing for Christ our Saviour and give us the strength to grow in love, that the dawn of his coming may find us rejoicing in His presence and welcome the Light of his Truth.

Notice that in this prayer we acknowledge Advent as a time in which our hearts are to become more aware of the warmth of God’s love.

It is also a time for our minds to receive in new ways the Word of God through the Scriptures and thus to welcome the light of his Truth.

Finally it is a time to grow in the strength of Christ’s love, so that as we prepare to celebrate the dawn of his coming at Christmas he may find us rejoicing in His presence more fully each day.

In the Office of Readings St. Charles Borromeo also echoes the importance of this Advent season:

Each year the Church recalls this mystery and she urges us to renew the memory of the great love God has shown us.

He also goes on to state:

This holy season of Advent teaches us that Christ’s coming was not only for the benefit of his contemporaries (in history) but that the power of his coming has to be communicated to us all ( most especially in our present day) …

As Christians we are called to share in this power of His coming through faith.

The Church proclaims this faith in Christ’s coming through the prayers we express, the Scriptures we read, the songs and hymns we sing, in the very rituals and Sacraments we celebrate during this time of preparation.

One important gift of faith which we can receive in Advent and Christmas is a profound sense of gratitude for his presence and thus the need to prepare our hearts for the power of such an event in our lives today. This Christian attitude and disposition to gratitude is most vividly reflected in the role of Mary- the Mother of our Lord.

In the early Church we know that there was a progressive discovery through faith to see the fullness of Mary’s role in God’s plan of salvation history.

Scripture records her role in God’s plan of salvation from the outset as the Mother of our Lord.

In the first two chapters of Matthew’s Gospel he records the infancy of Christ but what is most interesting is that Mary is only named and speaks no words. The birth of our Lord is recorded almost exclusively from the viewpoint and experience of Joseph.

Maria2

In contrast, Luke’s gospel portrays Mary in a much more prominent role.

And thus it is through this inspired narrative that we see the outline of her vocation from God, the Annunciation – the greeting and the message from the angel Gabriel. The stirrings of Mary’s heart and her initial response in faith is that of a question “How can this be?” … then “Let it be done unto me according to your Word.”

The progress of her belief in God’s promises and her confidence to say “ Let it be done according to your Word” is truly inspiring for each Christian who has struggled to answer their vocation call.

Then through prayer and the reflection upon God’s grace at work in her life we see the ultimate response of gratitude: “Mary treasured all of these things and pondered them in her heart.”

In a homily given by John Paul II on the Solemnity of Mary the Mother of God he made the following statement: “Mary was the memory of the Church.”

From the beginning she was fixed on the mystery of this newborn child, that she was attentive to this experience as the mystery of God’s salvation, and that her “fiat,” her yes, progressively unfolded in her life and that thus her memory played an important role in the faith of the Church.

In the Advent season the Church’s memory becomes reflected through the memory of Mary.

To identify with Mary in faith during this season of Advent is to be open to receive what she received.

The first gift was that of a profound sense of gratitude for the warmth of God’s love given to her in Christ. His birth, his coming into this world was to reveal the fullness of God’s love and Mary was the first to believe in this love and to experience it in her life.

In my years of experience as a priest I have always been inspired and humbled by the stories that people have shared with me concerning their lives of faith, which I have encountered countless time through ministry. This sense of profound gratitude for how they have come to experience Christ has been a gift to me. Each story is unique but it is inspiring to see how they have come to the faith through family, parents and grandparents, through teachers at school, in the pastoral care of a parish community, the meeting with a priest or the impact and witness of individuals who live their life with joy because of faith. This gratitude is very evident in those men and women who are moved to inquire about the faith and enter the process of Christian Initiation of Adults (RCIA) through our parishes. If you have ever been involved in this process of inquiry and catechesis in the faith you will see this expression of gratitude. The RCIA program is a process of birth in the Church; it is a symbol and sign of the Incarnation; it is a “Christ event,” a birth of faith.

The second gift that Mary received was the grace of being ready and attentive, of being open to God and the power of this event in her life. This coming of Christ would disrupt her plans, it would challenge her life, the relationships of family and friends, yet through her yes she would begin to see how God had chosen to reveal the Incarnate vision of His Son through her life. This is the grace that each of us receives to respond in truth and freedom to our vocation and calling in life. We are called to model our response of Mary in accepting and choosing our life’s vocation.

I witnessed this vocational gift in my ministry of seminary formation, in the accompaniment of those discerning their call to the priesthood. In a spiritual and communal way it was very evident when the men came together to pray the Rosary at night in the chapel. It was an expression of their devotion to our Blessed Mother but it was a daily time in which they entered into the mystery and the memory of Mary. I could not help but think in my prayer with them that Mary’s model and disposition of accepting her own vocation was being received as grace in such moments.

As Advent unfolds it is my hope that the gifts Mary received may be part of our own preparation and reflection of the coming of Christ in our lives: a gratitude for our faith and an openness to live our vocations in Christ with greater fidelity.

Most Rev. William McGrattan
Bishop of Peterborough

(CNS photo/Mike Crupi, Catholic Courier)
(CNS photo/Bob Roller)

The Advent Season’s Brightest Jewels

Antiphons

“Come, Lord Jesus!”  “Tomorrow, I will be there!”

During the final week of Advent the Church offers us an intense time of preparation for the feast of the Nativity, and the Roman Church in particular sings a series of antiphons at Vespers that magnificently set forth the nature of the coming One.

In the Liturgy of the Hours, Evening Prayer, also know as Vespers, always includes Mary’s great hymn known as the Magnificat. Each evening, the Magnificat is preceded by a short verse or “antiphon” that links the prayer to the feast of the day or the season of the year. In the last seven days of Advent (December 17-24), the antiphons before the Magnificat are very special.  Each begins with the exclamation “O” and ends with a plea for the Messiah to come. As Christmas approaches the prayer becomes increasingly urgent.

It is believed that the “O Antiphons” were composed in the 7th or 8th century when monks put together texts from the Old Testament, particularly from the prophet Isaiah that looked forward to the coming of our salvation. They form a rich mosaic of scriptural images. The “O Antiphons” became very popular in the Middle Ages when it became traditional to ring the great bells of the church each evening as they were being sung.

Each of the O Antiphons highlights a different title for 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.  Also, each one refers to the prophecy of Isaiah of the coming of the Messiah.  A particularly fascinating feature of the O Antiphons is that the first letter of each invocation, when read backwards, forms an acrostic in Latin: the first letters of Sapientia, Adonai, Radix, Clavis, Oriens, Rex, and Emmanuel in reverse form the Latin words: ERO CRAS.  These can be understood as the words of Christ, responding to his people’s plea, saying  “Tomorrow I will be there.”

Here is a rendering of this ‘season’s brightest jewels’ that can help us understand more clearly how Jesus has fulfilled the hopes, dreams and aspirations of Israel.

O antiphons 1December 17  O Wisdom, O Holy Word of God (Sir. 24:3), you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care (Wisd. of Solomon  8:1).  Come and show your people the way to salvation (Isa. 40:3-5).

December 18  O Sacred Lord of Ancient Israel (Exod. 6:2, 3, 12), who showed yourself to Moses in the burning bush (Exod. 3:2), who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain:  come, stretch out your mighty hand to set us free.

December 19  O Flower of Jesse’s Stem, you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples (Isa. 11:10; Rom. 15:12); kings stand silent in your presence (Isa. 5:15); the nations bow down in worship before you.  Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid (Hab. 2:3; Heb. 10:37).

December 20  O Key of David, O royal Power of Israel, controlling at your will the gate of heaven (Isa. 22:22; Rev. 3:7); come, break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death; and lead your captive people into freedom (Isa. 42:7; Ps. 107:14; Luke 1:79).

December 21  O Radiant Dawn (Zech. 6:12), splendor of eternal light (Heb. 1:3), sun of justice (Mal 4:2):  come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death (Luke 1:78-79; Isa. 9:2).

December 22  O King of all the Nations, the only joy of every human heart (Hag 2:8); O Keystone (Isa. 28:16) of the mighty human arch (Eph. 2:14); come and save the creature you fashioned from the dust (Gen. 2:7).

December 23  O Emmanuel (Isa. 7:14; 8:8), king and lawgiver (Isa. 33:22), desire of the nations (Gen. 49:10), Savior of all, come and set us free, Lord our God.


The “O” Antiphons: O Wisdom

 

o_wisdom

I vaguely remember my mother telling us, during the Season of Advent, while growing up, about the “O” antiphons. I never really understood what these were. Even as an adult, she would occasionally send me various reflections on the “O” antiphons. I must say, with regret that while I thought it to be an important part of our Advent Tradition, I didn’t really see them as part of my tradition.

Until I began praying the Office of the Church.

As a Deacon, I have made a promise to pray the Liturgy of the Hours: Morning prayer (laudes) and Evening prayer (vespers). This prayer of the Church allows us to pray with (and through) the Psalms. They have been part of the prayers of the Church since very early in our history. As we pray the psalms, each one is introduced by an antiphon (not unlike the refrain we pray at Mass during the Responsorial Psalm). Added to the Psalms, which are different every day, there are two canticles from the Gospel of Luke that are prayed every day: The Canticle of Zechariah (Luke 1:68-79) in the morning for laudes; and the Canticle of Mary (the Magnificat: Luke 1: 46-55) in the evening for vespers.

On the last seven days before the Vigil of Christmas, December 17-23, our Church sings antiphons that are slightly different than the rest of the year. For evening prayer, before the Magnificat, each of these antiphons begins with the word, “Oh” (or in Latin “O”), thus the short-handed name, the “O” antiphons.

Each of these seven prayers-songs consists of
a) an invocation addressed to Christ, using one of his prophetic titles (O Wisdom; O Key of David etc.);
b) a development of that title reflecting passages in the Old and New Testaments;
c) an ardent request expressed by the word “Come”;
d) the reason why we want Christ to come.

Not only are these antiphons prayed during vespers, but they have also been placed in the daily Liturgy as the verse of the Gospel Acclamation. With the new translation of the Roman Missal, these are sometimes summarized or even repeated, but, in their essence, they are the same. If you go to daily Mass between December 17 – 23, you’ll hear them.

I recently discovered that, not only are these found in the Liturgy of the Hours and in the daily Mass, but they are actually, also the verses to a song that all of us know very well, O Come, O Come Emmanuel.

All of us can make use of these anthems in our family and personal prayers for they sum up everything that we want our Lord to be toward us and our world, to do for us and our world in His Christmas coming.
For the next seven days, I’d like to share with you these antiphons that you will pray with them and they will help you continue to prepare for the Advent of our Lord. May they become part of your Advent tradition as they are becoming part of mine.

For December 17, the antiphon is based on Wisdom 8:1; Isaiah 11:2-3; 28:29, Proverbs 8:1-36 and John 1:1-5.

O Sapientia, quæ ex ore Altissimi prodiisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiæ.

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: come to teach us the way of truth. (Isaiah 11:2-3; Isaiah 28:29)

From Evening prayer
O Wisdom,
O holy Word of God,
you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care:
Come
and show your people the way to salvation.

From O Come, O Come Emmannuel:
Verse 2:
O Come, Thou Wisdom, from on high,
and order all things far and nigh;
to us the path of knowledge show,
and teach us in her ways to go.

Wisdom
In the ancient civilizations of the Near East, “wisdom” was first understood as the science and art of managing men. It meant the principles involved in “getting along” successfully oneself and in making the whole state function smoothly. In Israel, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, the search for human wisdom became more and more oriented toward the supreme Wisdom of God by which He creates and governs all things, His hidden design for mankind and its mysterious ordering of everything to achieve His plan.

Christ our Lord is this eternal Wisdom incarnate. He clarified and carried out God’s plan to re-establish everything in Himself as head. May He come more fully to each of is and to the whole world this Christmas, to show us how we may take our part in carrying out that plan for our own happiness and for the happiness of all people.


(Reflection taken from Bible and Liturgy, a Sunday parish bulletin published by the Liturgical Press, Collegeville, Minn. Edited by Rev. William Heidt, OSB. Published with the approval of Bishop Peter W. Bartholome of St. Cloud. Printed in 1959 by the North Central Publishing Company, St. Paul, Minnesota (c) 1959 by the Order of St. Benedict, Inc.)