Help Now >
The "O" Antiphons
FREE Catholic Classes
There are seven short verses sung before the Magnificat during Evening Prayer of the Church on the seven days before the vigil of Christmas. They each begin with the exclamation "O". Each of them ends with a plea for the Messiah to come. As Christmas approaches the cry becomes more urgent.
The antiphons were composed in the seventh or eighth century when monks put together texts from the Old Testament which looked forward to the coming of our salvation. They form a rich mosaic of scriptural images. These seven verses, or antiphons as they are called, appear to be the originals although from time to time other texts were used. They became very popular in the Middle Ages. While the monastic choirs sang the antiphons the great bells of the church were rung.
A curious feature of these antiphons is that the first letter of each invocation may be taken from the Latin to form an acrostic in reverse.
So the first letters of Sapientia, Adonai, Radix, Clavis, Oriens, Rex, and Emmanuel, provide the Latin words: ERO CRAS . The phrase spells out the response of Christ himself to the heartfelt prayer of his people: "Tomorrow I will be there".
Why not join with the Prayer of the Church each evening and reflect on these words preparing for Christmas day by day:
O Sapientia - December 17thO Wisdom, you come forth from the mouth of the Most High. You fill the universe and hold all things together in a strong yet gentle manner. O come to teach us the way of truth. Read More...
O Adonai - December 18thO Adonai and leader of Israel, you appeared to Moses in a burning bush and you gave him the Law on Sinai. O come and save us with your mighty power. Read More...
O Radix Jesse - December 19thO stock of Jesse, you stand as a signal for the nations; kings fall silent before you whom the peoples acclaim. O come to deliver us, and do not delay. Read More...
O Clavis David - December 20thO key of David and scepter of Israel, what you open no one else can close again; what you close no one can open. O come to lead the captive from prison; free those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. Read More...
O Oriens - December 21stO Rising Sun, you are the splendor of eternal light and the sun of justice. O come and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death. Read More...
O Rex Gentium - December 22ndO King whom all the peoples desire, you are the cornerstone which makes all one. O come and save man whom you made from clay. Read More...
O Emmanuel - December 23rdO Emmanuel, you are our king and judge, the One whom the peoples await and their Savior. O come and save us, Lord, our God. Read More...
More Advent & Christmas
The word Advent derives from the Latin word meaning coming. The Lord is coming. We may reflect that every year at this time we celebrate his coming , so that in a sense we can lose the feeling of expectancy and joyful anticipation, because at the end of the season, everything seems to return to pretty much the same routine. If that is the case, then our preparation may have been lacking ... continue reading
To become the mother of the Savior, Mary "was enriched by God with gifts appropriate to such a role."132 The angel Gabriel at the moment of the annunciation salutes her as "full of grace". In fact, in order for Mary to be able to give the free assent of her faith to the announcement of her vocation, it was necessary that she be wholly borne by God's grace... continue reading
The weeks of Advent remind us to set aside some of the hectic business of the holiday season, and to quietly reflect on the promise of the baby born in Bethlehem 2000 years ago. The Bible readings listed below relate to the Advent themes of waiting, preparation, light in the darkness, and the coming of the promised Messiah. continue reading
More Advent & Christmas News
Vatican City, (CNA) - A person's weakness and sin does not change Christ's love for them, and Catholics should strive to treat others the ... continue reading
The death of St. Stephen, the Church's first martyr, teaches Catholics to renew their commitment to charity and self-gift, part of the ... continue reading
A group of local Catholics gathered outside Melbourne prison on Christmas Eve to sing carols for Cardinal George Pell, currently ... continue reading
Advent Reflection - Day 24 - The Fourth Tuesday of Advent This is the last day of this year's Advent preparations. Tonight, we greet the ... continue reading
Advent Reflection - Day 23 The Fourth Monday of Advent Some families wait until this time to put up their Christmas trees. The reason ... continue reading
Copyright 2020 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2020 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.
Catholic Online is a Project of Your Catholic Voice Foundation, a Not-for-Profit Corporation. Your Catholic Voice Foundation has been granted a recognition of tax exemption under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code. Federal Tax Identification Number: 81-0596847. Your gift is tax-deductible as allowed by law.