O Emmanuel (December 23) O Emmanuel (Isaiah 7:14; 8:8; Luke 1:31-33), our King and Lawgiver (Genesis 49:10; cf. Ezekiel 21:32), the Expected of the nations and their Savior (Isa 33:22): Come, and save us, O Lord our God.
O Rex Gentium or O King of the Nations (December 22) O King of the Gentiles (Jeremiah 10:7; Haggai 2:7), and the Desired of all, You are the Cornerstone that binds two into one (Isaiah 28:16; Matthew 21:42; Ephesians 2:20). * Come, and save man whom You fashioned out of clay (Genesis 2:7).
O Oriens or O Rising Dawn or Morning Star (December 21) O Rising Dawn, (Jer 23:5; Zechariah 3:8; 6:12), Radiance of the Light eternal (Habakkuk 3:4; Wisdom 7:26; Hebrews 1:3) and Sun of Justice (Malachi 3:20): * come, and enlighten those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death (Ps 107:10; Lk 1:78).
O Clavis David or O Key of David (December 20) O Key of David, (Isaiah 22:22; Revelation 3:7) and Scepter of the house of Israel (Numbers 24:17): You open and no man closes; you close and no man opens (Isaiah 22:22). * Come, and deliver him from the chains of prison who sits in darkness and in the shadow of death (Ps 107:10).
O Radix Jesse or O Root of Jesse (December 19) O Root of Jesse, (Isaiah 11:1) You stand for the ensign of mankind (Isaiah 11:10); before You kings shall keep silence and to You all nations shall have recourse (Isaiah 52:15). * Come, save us, and do not delay (Habakkuk 2:3).
O Adonai or O Lord and Ruler (December 18) O Adonai (Exod 3:14) and Ruler of the house of Israel (Matt 2:6; Micah 5:1; 2 Sam 5:2), You appeared to Moses in the fire of the burning bush (Exod 3:2) and on Mount Sinai gave him Your Law (Exod 20). * Come, and with an outstretched arm redeem us (Jeremiah 32:21).
A few months ago Mrs Pearce and I decided that to add to our family evening devotions, we would begin commemorating the feast of the day by opening our family rosary by singing the Magnificat antiphon and Collect of the day. We are very much into liturgical living and our meals, house decorations and family activities mark out the feasts and fasts of the church calendar. This is especially important for children who also learn a lot through practice and culture rather than only academic learning.
This practice really comes into its own in the next few days when the Church sets before us a different Magnificat antiphon each day which take typological titles of Jesus relating to the incarnation. These are a reflection bon the expectations that the people of Israel had of the coming Messiah and in the Church we reflect on these in the knowledge of how Christ fulfilled them each one begins with ‘O’ and so they are called the ‘O’ Antiphons.
The first is sung at Vespers on the 17th of December and is O Sapientia. We are reminded that, as the last Gospel of the Mass presents, Jesus is the eternal Logos, the Word or Divine Mind made flesh. He is Wisdom incarnate.
O Sapientia or O Wisdom (December 17) O Wisdom (Sirach 24:3), You came forth from the mouth of the Most High (Sirach 24:3), and reaching from beginning to end You ordered all things mightily and sweetly (Wisdom 8:1). * Come, and teach us the way of prudence (Isaiah 40:14).
You will no doubt have sung this hymn already this year- we are half way through Advent already. This classic Advent hymn consists of the Magnificat Antiphons for the coming week leading up to Christmas. I’ll be posting about each of them individually so, in the meantime, enjoy this beautiful arrangement in Latin sung by the Gesualdo Six and the familiar English below.