Living the O Antiphons
Come to rescue us with your mighty power! ALLELUIA VERSE
Yesterday, we began a “season within a season,” often referred to as the “Great Advent.” Since the seventh century, the O Antiphons have been sung in monasteries throughout the world during Vespers on the last seven days of Advent.
Since the Second Vatican Council, the O Antiphons have been adapted for the Alleluia verse before each day’s gospel reading on these days. These antiphons are also kept alive for us in the hymn “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.”
Each Antiphon begins with a biblical title and closes with a specific petition related to the title, and the cry for him to “Come.” The titles for Jesus are Wisdom, Leader of the House of Israel, Root of Jesse, Key of David, Rising Dawn, King of Nations, and Emmanuel. In Latin the initials of the titles make an acrostic, which, when read backwards, means: “Tomorrow I will be there” (“Ero cras”).
A custom in the monasteries was for different monks to provide treats on these days to the community. The gardener might share his finest fruits when they prayed: “O Root of Jesse ….”The wine steward might unlock the best wine for “O Key of David ….”
DAILY PRACTICE: In these “Great Advent” days, give a simple gift related to the theme of one of the O Antiphons to someone who is not expecting a gift from you.
ADVENT PRAYER: O Adonai and Ruler of the House of Israel, who appeared to Moses in the burning bush: Come with an outstretched arm and redeem us.
From: ADVENT 2014. Daily reflections, practices and prayers.
The Marvels and Mysteries of Advent. Janet Schaeffler, OP.
Twenty-Third Publications. www.23rdpublications.com