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The O Antiphons – O Sapientia, O Wisdom

o antiphonsIn the seven days leading up to Christmas Eve, as a church we pray the O Antiphons. Part of the Liturgy of the Hours, also known as the Divine Office, they are sung immediately preceding the Magnificat at Vespers each day. To pray the O Antiphons, whether in a communal setting, or on your own, is to partake in an ancient and beautiful prayerful chants that call out for the coming of the Christ child. We are still in Advent, true, but our journey to the birth of Christ edges closer and closer.

o sapientiaThe O Antiphons are each named with the prophecy of Isaiah as a backdrop and each one calls out a name for the messiah, beginning with today’s antiphon, O Sapientia, or O Wisdom!

O Sapientia, quae ex ore Altissimi prodisti, attingens a fine usque ad finem fortiter, suaviter disponensque omnia: veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiae.

O Wisdom, O holy Word of God, you govern all creation with your strong yet tender care: Come and show your people the way to salvation.

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O Antiphon – O Oriens

O_OriensYesterday I had a moment of spontaneous prayer-writing as I prepared the O Clavis David post. The words that came to me were:

We await the dawn, the coming of the Son of Justice, opening the door to lead us out of darkness and into the light!

Today we have the O Antiphon in which that door opens – O Oriens! Or O Rising Sun! This is why I always stand in awe of how the Holy Spirit works. While it was not my intention to connect one day to the next in quite that way, as usual, God has other plans. Better ones than we have.

O Antiphons – O Radix Jesse

l_antiphons3O Radix Jesse
O Root of Jesse, standing as a sign among the peoples;
before you kings will shut their mouths,
to you the nations will make their prayer:
Come and deliver us, and delay no longer.

About four years ago I read a book about liturgy and worship, I believe that it was by Nathan Mitchell. I can’t find the book right now, so that’s as accurate as I can get at the moment.

Mitchell was talking about the communal nature of liturgy and of how networks arise. Trust me – it made sense in the book, which I hope to get my hands on and quote more directly. He wrote about the roots of rhizomes, which unlike tree roots, that go deep, reach out to connect to one another. While I have thought of this many times over the years, I never thought of it in relationship to this O Antiphon until today. Continue reading

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