It was Kipling who spoke of “waiting and not being tired by waiting”.
The season of Advent is all about WAITING. We wait in expectant hope and prayer all through Advent. But in the final seven or eight days of the season this ardent desire and longing is intensified and deepened as we draw nearer the liturgical celebration of the Birth of Christ.
Yesterday, we began our nine-day novena for the great feast of the Birth of Christ and for the next seven days, beginning today, we accentuate that longing which finds its expression most beautifully in the great Vespers antiphons for the Magnificat, called the “O” Antiphons, because they all begin with “O”. These antiphons will be used each evening before and after the Magnificat, and as the Gospel acclamation at Mass. Repetition helps us keep the antiphon in mind so that we can reflect on it and let it keep reverberating in our hearts.
In a few moments now, we will sing the first “O” antiphon in Latin. “O Sapientia” which translated means
O 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.
It is an antiphon almost self explanatory.
O Wisdom which comes out from the mouth of the most High ….
The Wisdom book of the Old testament contains many, many passages in praise of Wisdom : Wisdom proceeding from God,….. as being begotten by Him, …. as the breath of His power. Wisdom is the beloved daughter who, at the beginning of creation, stood before God, assisting in the creation of the visible universe. From the concept of Wisdom there later developed the doctrine of the LOGOS, the WORD in St John’s Gospels (chap. 1 : 1-18) :
“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” We all know the Prologue of St John by heart : “The Word was made flesh, he lived among us, and we saw his glory, the glory that is his as the only Son of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
And in St John, chapter 14, Jesus declares : “ I am the Truth.”
St Paul says : “Christ is the wisdom of God – He is our Wisdom – in Him are contained all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.”
In John 17, Jesus prays : “Grant that they may know you the only true God and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”
So, in the second half of the “O” antiphon, we cry out from our hearts:
“O come and teach us the truth !”
Teach us about Jesus, the Word and Wisdom of God, and how to live with the spirit of Jesus inspiring our everyday life.
We ask Mary – seat of Wisdom – and Mother of the Word incarnate, to put into our hearts in this Wisdom.
Veni Come !
Teach us Wisdom,
Teach us LOVE.