Friday, December 19, 2008

O Antiphons

The “O Antiphons” are a series of seven brief Advent prayers developed by Benedictine monks in the Middle Ages. These prayers are said/sung during the last 7 days of Advent. Based on Isaiah’s prophecies about Jesus, each one begins with the beseeching “O” and then addresses Christ using a particular title (Wisdom, Lord, Root of Jesse, Key of David, Dayspring, King, Emmanuel). We often pray these prayers ourselves when we sing the ancient hymn “O Come, O Come Emmanuel.”
The order of the prayers is significant. Starting with the last title in reverse order, the first letter of each (Emmanuel, Rex, Oriens, Clavis, Radix, Adonai, Sapienta) forms an acrostic: the Latin words Ero cras, which speak Jesus’ response and promise to us. “Tomorrow, I will come.”

December 17th - 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.
December 18th - 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.
December 19th - 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.
December 20th - O KEY OF DAVID, and Sceptre 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.
December 21st - 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.
December 22nd - 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.
December 23rd - 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.

1 comment:

Margaret said...

Roberta,
thanks for this wonderful resource.
your advent gal,
Margaret