December 18, 2013

For the 7 days (or octave) before Christmas Eve the great 'O Antiphons' are recited or sung during vespers.  Each antiphon highlights a title of the Messiah and refers to a prophecy from Isaiah.  They are, in order:

Dec. 17 - O Sapientia (Wisdom)
O Wisdom, coming forth from the mouth of the Most High,
reaching from one end to the other,
mightily and sweetly ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence. 

Dec. 18 - O Adonai (Lord)
O Adonai, and leader of the House of Israel,
Who appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush,
And gave him the law on Sinai:
Come and redeem us with an outstretched arm.

Dec. 19 - O Radix Jesse (Root of Jesse)
O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples,
Before you kings will shut their mouths,
To you the nations will make their prayer:
Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.

Dec. 20 - O Clavis David (Key of David)
O Key of David and scepter of the House of Israel,
You open and no one can shut,
You shut and no one can open:
Come and lead the prisoners from the prison house, those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

Dec. 21 - O Oriens (Dayspring)
O Morning Star,
Splendor of light eternal and sun of righteousness:
Come and enlighten those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.

Dec. 22 - O Rex Gentium (King of the nations)
O King of the Nations, and their desire,
The cornerstone making both one:
Come and save the human race,
Which you fashioned from clay.

Dec. 23 - O Emmanuel (God is with us)
O Emmanuel, our king and our lawgiver,
The hope of the nations and their Saviour:
Come and save us, O Lord our God. 

If you take the first letter of each antiphon (after the 'O') from the bottom up, you get 'Ero Cras', which means 'Tomorrow, I will come’ in Latin.  

I love the rich symbolism of each antiphon.  I love the intensity of the buildup to Christmas that still allows us to ponder the attributes of Him who is coming.  And I especially love how the intensity of the liturgical season mirrors the intensity of the real-life preparations going on right now.  There is a reason we're all frantically cooking, cleaning, buying, thinking and preparing.  We're like a "Martha" right now; busily making everything perfect and set for the Lord's coming.  The O Antiphons help us not to forget "Mary" in the meantime and spend time pondering the Christ Child's presence.   

The Prophet Isaiah


  1. It's only in the past few years that I've really come to appreciate the O Antiphons, thnaks to a friend of mine. Love the corelation between Mary and Martha.



What is a woman? What does it mean to be feminine? There is softness and hardness, compassion and ferocity. There is contentment and adventure, freedom and service. We're conundrums, especially to ourselves, but we all, in some way, possess beauty, creativity, intuition and love. We were made for love, and we are loved, cellulite and all. Here we aim to show every woman the richness and beauty of her own femininity and explore current issues relating to women in our world. We also wish to share our own experiences - exploring the joys and challenges of stay-at-home moms and single professionals and everyone in between. Welcome! So glad you're here!


Follow by Email


Popular Posts

Powered by Blogger.