Monday, December 19, 2016

"O" Antiphons

On Saturday, December 17 we marked the beginning of the "O" Antiphons an ancient part of our liturgy, dating back to the fourth century, one for each day until Christmas Eve. These antiphons address Christ with seven magnificent Messianic titles, based on the Old Testament prophecies.  The antiphons beg God with mounting impatience to come and save His people. The order of the antiphons climb climatically through our history of Redemption.  The "O" Antiphons are the verses for the ancient hymn O Come, O Come Emmanuel. The first letter of the Messianic titles: Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapientia—spell out Latin words ERO CRAS, meaning, "Tomorrow, I will come."  This song provides a wonderful source of prayer for all of us during these final days of Advent..
O Come, O come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lonely exile here until the Son of God appear.
Refrain:  Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel!
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.
O come, O come, Thou Lord of might, who to thy tribes on Sinai's height in ancient times did give the law, in cloud, and majesty, and awe.
O come, Thou Rod of Jesse's stem, from every foe deliver them that trust Thy mighty power to save, and give them victory o'er the grave.
O come, Thou Key of David, come, and open wide our heavenly home, make safe the way that leads on high, that we no more have cause to sigh.
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.
O come, Desire of nations, bind in one the hearts of all humankind; bid every strife and quarrel cease and fill the world with heaven's peace. 
Pat Schifini, OSU

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