Skip to comments.The Great Advent Antiphons
Posted on 12/17/2004 7:45:51 AM PST by Pyro7480
The Great Antiphons
The public prayers of the Church consist not only of the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass but also of the Divine Office, the prayers of the priets' Breviary. The Office was at one time chanted daily by the faithful, and is still chanted by some religious Orders. Certain parishes are reviving the custom of having Solemn Vespers on the eve or afternoon of major feasts. The Magnificat or Canticle of the Blessed Virgin Mary is chanted near the end of Vespers. Starting on December 17 a series of Antiphons are added to Vespers before and after the Magnificat. Just to read these "O Antiphons" each day would be a wonderful part of any Catholic's prepartion for Christmas!
"The following great Antiphons are said entire before and after the Magnificat, from the 17th to the 23rd of December, inclusive. If the Vespers are of a first or second class double, the great Antiphon is said after the prayer of the feast, for the commemoration of Advent."
Antiphon for the 17th of December
O SAPIENTIA, quae ex ore Altissimi prodiisti, attigens a fine usque ad finem, fortiter suaviterque disponens omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.
O WISDOM that comest out of the mouth of the Most High, that reachest from one end to another, and dost mightily and sweetly order all things: come to teach us the way of prudence!
Antiphon for the 18th of December
O ADONAI, et dux domus Israel, qui Moysi in igne flammae rubi apparuisti, et ei in Sina legem dedisti: veni ad redimendum nos in brachio extento.
O ADONAI, and Ruler of the house of Israel, who didst appear unto Moses in the burning bush, and gavest him the law in Sinai: come to redeem us with an outstretched arm!
Antiphon for the 19th of December
O RADIX Jesse, qui stas in signum populorum, super quem continebunt reges os suum, quem Gentes deprecabuntur: veni ad liberandum nos, iam noli tardere.
O ROOT of Jesse, which standest for an ensign of the people, at whom the kings shall shut their mouths, whom the Gentiles shall seek: come to deliver us, make no tarrying.
Antiphon for the 20th of December
O CLAVIS David, et sceptrum domus Israel: qui aperis, et nemo claudit; claudis, et nemo aperit: veni et educ vinctum de domo carceris, sedentem in tenebris, et umbra mortis.
O KEY of David, and Sceptre of the house of Israel that openest and no man shutteth; and shuttest and no man openeth: come to bring out the prisoner from the prison, and them that sit in darkness, and in the shadow of death.
Antiphon for the 21st of December
O ORIENS, splendor lucis aeternae, et sol justitiae: veni, et illumina sedentis in tenebris, et umbra mortis.
O DAYSPRING, Brightness of the everlasting light, Sun of Justice: come to give light to them that sit in darkness and the shadow of death!
Antiphon for the 22nd of December
O REX Gentium, et desideratus earum, lapisque angularis, qui facis utraque unem: veni, et salva hominem, quem de limo formasti.
O KING of the Gentiles, yea, and desire thereof; O Cornerstone, that makest of two one: come to save man, whom Thou has made of the dust of the earth! (O KING of the Gentiles and their desired One, the Cornerstone that makes both one: Come, and deliver man, whom You formed out of the dust of the earth!)
Antiphon for the 23rd of December
O EMMANUEL, Rex et legifer noster, expectatio Gentium, et Salvator erum: veni ad salvandum nos, Domine Deus noster.
O EMMANUEL, our King and our Lawgiver, Longing of the Gentiles; yea, and salvation thereof: comes to save us, O Lord our God! (O EMMANUEL, God with us, our King and Lawgiver, the expected of the nations and their Savior: Come to save us, O Lord our God.)
I found some very interesting webpages about the "O Antiphons," the links to which are below.
I only wish more Catholics would actually celebrate Advent instead of indulging in secular Christmas hype.
I know what you mean! In my family's household when I was growing up, the wreaths and outdoor lights went up in the middle of December, and some other minor decorations, but we wouldn't get the tree until almost the last minute, and we would light the Advent wreath on the Sundays of Advent, and sometimes on other days. We would also have a "Scripture wheel" that had different prophetic reading about the coming of the Messiah for each day of December before the 23rd, and had an Advent calendar some years too. I wish people who put up outdoor nativity scenes would not put out the baby until Christmas eve.
Please ping your lists.
My bride and I bought our tree early in Christmas and I put lights up immediately on it, but we are leaving it off until Christmas day. (I've done the same with the lights on our house and I'll have them on until Christmas is really over, which may confuse a lot of my neighbors :-) In the meantime, my bride bought some elegant purple ribbon to wrap around the tree as we wait in anticipation of the "light" that is to come into the world. The ribbon will be removed on Christmas Eve of course as we go nuts with ornaments and garland, but celebrating Advent in the meantime can be a lot of fun. It makes the entire Christmas season (the several weeks after Dec. 25th) so much more meaningful....and fun!
...and of course there's an advent wreath :-)
For this upcoming Fourth Sunday in Advent, the Old Testament and the Holy Gospel both include the Immanuel prophecy, and the Hymn of the Day is "Oh, Come, Oh, Come, Emmanuel."
For our final midweek Advent service next Wednesday, I will be preaching on Christ as Immanuel, and I will include a section on the "O Antiphons" and the ERO CRAS reverse acrostic. I want to include a bulletin insert with a nice-looking layout of the Latin titles, like this, only fancier:
Can anyone post such here on this thread, or at least a link?
Wonderful post. When I get back to Oregon I will post some material I have there!
The Magnificat of Mary is always part of the Churchs evening prayer. Sometime around the eighth century, an anonymous author composed a set of antiphons to frame the Magnificat on the seven days leading up to Christmas Eve (December 17-23).
These antiphons all begin with o and express our longing for the coming of the Savior. The one best known is O come, O come Emmanuel which is the last one, used on December 23.
Today, December 17, these O Antiphons begin. The first addresses God as Wisdom:
O Wisdom, holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care: come and show your people the way to salvation.
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This is an opportunity to start and end each day with one of the "O" Antiphons!
Please join in prayer.
The O Antiphons
The O Antiphons refer to the seven antiphons that are recited (or chanted) preceding the Magnificat during Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours. They cover the special period of Advent preparation known as the Octave before Christmas, Dec. 17-23, with Dec. 24 being Christmas Eve and Vespers for that evening being for the Christmas Vigil. The O Antiphons have been part of our liturgical tradition since the early Church (we see them mentioned in letters and documents around the time of 500 B.C.). They speak of humanitys desire and longing for God, a longing which has existed throughout the history of Gods people from the beginning of time through Abraham, Moses and David, fulfilled on the night when Emmanuel (God with us) was born.
The importance of O Antiphons is twofold. Each one highlights a title for the Messiah and each one refers to the prophecy of Isaiah of the coming of the Messiah. Here is each antiphon with a sample of Isaiahs related prophecies:
O Sapientia: 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.
Isaiah had prophesied, The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: a spirit of wisdom and of understanding, a spirit of counsel and of strength, a spirit of knowledge and fear of the Lord, and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord. (11:2-3), and Wonderful is His counsel and great is His wisdom. (28:29).
O Adonai: O 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.
Isaiah had prophesied, But He shall judge the poor with justice, and decide aright for the lands afflicted. He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth, and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked. Justice shall be the band around his waist, and faithfulness a belt upon his hips. (11:4-5); and Indeed the Lord will be there with us, majestic; yes the Lord our judge, the Lord our lawgiver, the Lord our king, he it is who will save us. (33:22).
O Radix Jesse: O Flower of Jesses 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.
Isaiah had prophesied, But a shoot shall sprout from the stump of Jesse, and from his roots a bud shall blossom. (11:1), and A On that day, the root of Jesse, set up as a signal for the nations, the Gentiles shall seek out, for his dwelling shall be glorious. (11:10). Remember also that Jesse was the father of King David, and Micah had prophesied that the Messiah would be of the house and lineage of David and be born in Davids city, Bethlehem (Micah 5:1).
O Clavis David: 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.
Isaiah had prophesied, I will place the Key of the House of David on His shoulder; when he opens, no one will shut, when he shuts, no one will open. (22:22), and His dominion is vast and forever peaceful, from Davids throne, and over His kingdom, which he confirms and sustains by judgment and justice, both now and forever. (9:6).
O Oriens: O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death.
Isaiah had prophesied, The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; upon those who dwelt in the land of gloom a light has shown. (9:1).
O Rex Gentium: 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.
Isaiah had prophesied, For a child is born to us, a son is given us; upon his shoulder dominion rests. They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero, Father-Forever, Prince of Peace. (9:5), and He shall judge between the nations, and impose terms on many peoples. They shall beat their swords into plowshares and their spears into pruning hooks; one nation shall not raise the sword against another, nor shall they train for war again. (2:4) .
O Emmanuel: O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver, desire of the nations, Savior of all people, come and set us free, Lord our God.
Isaiah had prophesied, The Lord himself will give you this sign: the Virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and shall name him Emmanuel. (7:14). Remember Emmanuel means God is with us.
If one starts with the last title and takes the first letter of each one - Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia - the Latin words ero cras are formed, meaning, Tomorrow, I will come. Therefore, the Lord Jesus, whose coming we have prepared for in Advent and whom we have addressed in these seven Messianic titles, now speaks to us, Tomorrow, I will come. So the O Antiphons not only bring intensity to our Advent preparation, but bring it to a joyful conclusion.
Catholics can celebrate, do penance, ask for forgiveness, thank God, whatever, by going to Mass.
It's that simple: go to Mass. Ain't that easy for the rest of the world but it is SO EASY for Catholics: GO TO MASS.
"The O Antiphons refer to the seven antiphons that are recited (or chanted) preceding the Magnificat during Vespers of the Liturgy of the Hours."
Thanks for the info! The Liturgical celebrations have such a nice history.
And before that -- receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation!
Not shallow at all, huh?
I can go to Mass every day to celebrate Advent...but to the Sacrament of Reconciliation every day? Now even I need that. :o)
I understand. I did not realize you were talking about DAILY Mass. My bad reading -- and commenting!
Have a blessed Christmas.
Thank you. Same to you and your loved ones.
In my family it's tradition to put up the tree on Christmas Eve, and take it down (or at least finally turn off the lights) on January 5th.
It always pains me a little to see trees taken down and discarded on the 2nd Day of Christmas. *\:-|
On the evening of December 17 the final phase of preparation for Christmas begins with the first of the great "O Antiphons" of Advent. These prayers are seven jewels of liturgical song, one for each day until Christmas Eve. They seem to sum up all our Advent longing for the Savior.
The "O Antiphons" are intoned with special solemnity in monasteries at Vespers, before and after the Magnificat, Mary's prayer of praise and thanksgiving from the Gospel of Luke (2:42-55), which is sung every evening as the climax of this Hour of the Divine Office.
A vestige of the "Great Os" can be seen in verses of the familiar Advent hymn, "O Come, O Come Emmanuel".
Families interested in the liturgy have discovered these gems of liturgical poetry and use them in their evening prayers. An "O Antiphon House" -- similar to an Advent Calendar -- can be made, with seven windows, each concealing an appropriate symbol for the different "O Antiphons", and an eighth window hiding the Nativity scene. As with an Advent calendar, one window is opened each day.
The sublime meditation of the "Great Os" would be excellent for families with children who have outgrown the Jesse Tree or Advent calendar. In any case, they are beautiful additions to your family prayers in the days just before Christmas. And they form part of the classic Christmas Novena.
The "O Antiphons" appear below in English translation, with scriptural sources and suggested symbols.
O WISDOM, who came from the mouth of the Most High, reaching from end to end and ordering all things mightily and sweetly: Come, and teach us the way of prudence.
Sirach 24:2; Wisdom 8:1. Symbols: oil lamp, open book.
O LORD AND RULER of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the flame of the burning bush and gave him the law on Sinai: Come, and redeem us with outstretched arm.
Exodus 3:2, 20:1. Symbols: burning bush, stone tablets.
O ROOT OF JESSE, who stands for an ensign of the people, before whom kings shall keep silence and unto whom the Gentiles shall make supplication: Come to deliver us, and tarry not.
Isaiah 11:1-3. Symbol: vine or plant with flower (especially a rose).
O KEY OF DAVID, and Scepter of the House of Israel, who opens and no man shuts, who shuts and no man opens: Come, and bring forth the captive from his prison, he who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death.
Isaiah 22:22. Symbols: key; broken chains.
O DAWN OF THE EAST, brightness of the light eternal, and Sun of Justice: Come, and enlighten them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death.
Psalm 19:6-7. Symbol: rising sun.
O KING OF THE GENTILES and their desired One, the Cornerstone that makes both one: Come, and deliver man, whom You formed out of the dust of the earth.
Psalm 2:7-8, Ephesians 2:14-20. Symbols, Crown, scepter.
O EMMANUEL, God with us, our King and Lawgiver, the expected of the nations and their Savior: Come to save us, O Lord our God.
Isaiah 7:14; 33:22. Symbols: tablets of stone, Chalice and Host.
Adapted from Celebrating Advent and Christmas A Sourcebook for Families
BTTT for Day One of the Great "O Antiphons."
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