Monday, Third Week of Advent (O Wisdom)
Today, we begin a period called the “golden nights”, the final count-down to Christmas,
during which we pray the O Antiphons–they all begin with “O” and are antiphons (responses)
to the Magnificat (Mary’s song of praise: Luke 1:46-55).
These antiphons were originally composed at least 1000 years ago
for use during Evening Prayer of the Liturgy of the Hours,
the prayer that priests and Religious promise to pray every day
(laypeople are encouraged to pray it too).
These antiphons are also used as the Alleluia verse during Mass during these count-down days.
In the O Antiphons we call Jesus by titles given to Him in the prophesies of Isaiah
and plead with Him to come and save us.
In Latin, the initials of the titles of Jesus used in the O Antiphons, when read backwards,
form an acrostic for the Latin “Ero Cras” which means “Tomorrow I come”
(which will be true the night before Christmas Eve,
when we will have prayed all of these antiphons).
These titles for Christ are:
Radix Jesse (Root of Jesse),
Clavis David (Key of David),
Oriens (Morning Star),
Rex Gentium (King of the Gentiles),
These antiphons are also found in the song, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel”.
In the home, the O Antiphons could be prayed together around the Advent wreath
when you light the candles (if you don’t have an Advent wreath,
lighting any candle while you pray helps set the atmosphere).
For a longer prayer, you could pray the O Antiphon before and after the Magnificat,
the way it’s prayed during Evening Prayer.
You could also make symbols for the antiphons to use in decorating
(oil lamp, burning bush, key, stump with shoot, rising sun, etc.)
Here’s today’s antiphon:
Who issued from the mouth of the Most High,
Reaching out mightily from end to end,
And ordering all things tenderly
Come to teach us the way of prudence.
Note the relationship with the following verses:
And the spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him: the spirit of wisdom, and of understanding,
the spirit of counsel, and of fortitude, the spirit of knowledge, and of godliness.
And he shall be filled with the spirit of the fear of the Lord
(see also Isaiah 28:29, Sirach 24:2-3 & Wisdom 8:1.)
A shift in the readings of Advent begins today too.
From here on our Gospels will be dealing more directly
with the events immediately leading up to Jesus’ birth.
Rejoice, O heavens, and exult, O earth,
for our Lord will come to show mercy to His poor
O God, Creator and Redeemer of human nature,
who willed that Your Word should take flesh
in an ever-virgin womb,
look with favor on our prayers,
that Your Only Begotten Son,
having taken to Himself our humanity,
may be pleased to grant us a share in His divinity.
Who lives and reigns with You in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, for ever and ever.
Genesis 49:2, 8-10 (Jacob’s blessing of Judah, ancestor of Jesus)
Psalm 72: 3-4, 7-8, 17 “Justice shall flourish in His time and fullness of peace forever”
+ Matthew 1:1-17 (genealogy of Jesus)
Prince Judah learned the hard way.
He didn’t have the guts
to take the risk the first time.
They could’ve killed him
(as they would his brother, Joseph).
He fell for second-best
(see Genesis 37:26-27).
Two wicked sons,
two early graves,
a burst of shame
he’s not the same
(see Genesis 38).
Three days in prison,
(see Genesis 42:17, 43:)
now made of sterner stuff,
he takes a stand.
Let the boy go with me…
I myself will stand surety for him…
If I fail to bring him back…
you can hold it against me forever
-Genesis 43:8, 9
His power’s on the line.
Three sons passed over,
he is the next in line
to lead the family
when dad is gone…
(see Genesis 49: 3-7)
unless he blows it now
He took the chance.
From bad to worse-
his charge condemned
the evidence concrete
(see Genesis 44:6-12)-
he follows through.
Judah then stepped up to him and said…
Let me, your servant…remain in place of the boy
as the slave of my lord,
and let the boy go back with his brothers
-Genesis 44:18, 33
He’s shining now!
That was enough,
the test complete,
the blessing came to all
with joyful tears!
(see Genesis 45:1-15, 46:29)
The lion won the day
(see Genesis 49:9)
This is the way God’s leadership
This is His hidden wisdom
(see I Corinthians 2:7)
Passed down through David
to the Christ,
is the lamb
(see Revelation 5:5-6).
Now it’s your turn.