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Saturday, Third Week of Advent (December 17, O Antiphons, O Wisdom)

December 17, 2016


Blessed Ember Saturday!

Also, 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:
Sapientia (Wisdom),
Adonai (Lord),
Radix Jesse (Root of Jesse),
Clavis David (Key of David),
Oriens (Morning Star),
Rex Gentium (King of the Gentiles),
Emmanuel (God-With-Us).

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:

O Wisdom
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:
Isaiah 11:2-3:
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.

Jesse Tree
King Solomon, I Kings 6:1-38
Suggested symbol: temple
The image I’m using here can be downloaded in printable form here: 4jesse-tree-pictures

His father
had begun the work,
drawn up the plans,
rich supplies,
but God would not
permit him
to fulfill his dream
of building
a house.
That was reserved
for David’s son,
for Solomon,
the king
whose name means

It is in peace
that God resides.

O glorious Lord,
although the storms
still rage
within my soul,
help me to build
a haven
wherein I may dwell
with You
’till they pass by.

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