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22nd December - O King

O King whom all the peoples desire,
You are the cornerstone which makes all one.
O come and save man
Whom You made from clay.

This antiphon draws our attention to the relationship between God and man.

We coming from clay and burned with God’s love, become living stones in the Mystical Body of Christ.

Mary’s own mystery is so much interwoven with that of her Son. At the Annunciation the angel came and said to her:

"Rejoice full of grace,the Lord is with you... You will conceive in your womb and bear a son,

20th December - O Clavis David

Tonight the O Antiphons continue in the theme of Our Lord’s Davidic Kingship. The “Key of David” reflects the kingly powers conferred on Jesus as successor to the throne of the David, as well as the fulfilment of God’s promise made to him in 2 Samuel 7 that he would rule over the House of Israel forever. These ‘kingly’ O Antiphons draw forth this aspect of the Lord’s character as Messiah and focus strongly on the nature of His Power.

19th December - O Radix Jesse

Tonight we sing to the Lord and address Him as the ‘Root of Jesse’ who stands as a signal for the nations, and the question could arise as to how a root can be said to stand so that it is visible to our sight. But Isaiah also prophesied, ‘a shoot shall spring from the stock of Jesse.’

Thus Christ is both root and fruit of Jesse. He is the One source and foundation of existence which is impregnable, indestructible, unchanging and therefore utterly dependable.

18th December - O Adonai

Oh Adonai and leader of Israel, you appeared to Moses in a burning bush, and gave him the law on Sinai.
Oh, come and save us with your mighty power.

Recently I saw two photographs that have stayed with me and have inspired me to write this refection. The first was taken seconds after a healthy baby girl was born. By the expression on her face, and her little arms and fingers outstretched, it looked like she was in awe and praise of God for this gift of life. The next photo was this same baby all wrapped up snug in her mother’s arms.

17th December - O Wisdom

This evening we begin the first of the ‘O’ Antiphons. These antiphons are a set of seven Magnificat antiphons used at Vespers during the last seven days of Advent in Western Christian traditions. They are also known as the Great Advent Antiphons or the Great ‘O’ Antiphons. The texts of these antiphons are believed to have originated in Italy in or before the sixth century.

Each antiphon is a title of Christ, one of his attributes mentioned in Isaiah 11:1-2. We sing these antiphons from December 17th to December 23rd. The first letter of the titles, from last to first, appear to form a Latin acrostic. “Ero cras,”

20th December - O Key of David

In this antiphon the coming Messiah is given the title of Key of David. A key is used to open and close, to lock and unlock. How are we to use this key? The answer is found in this morning’s Gospel of the Annunciation.
As I have been sitting with this Gospel what stands out for me are all the emotions: the joy, fear and uncertainty, but above all, the excitement of the Angel Gabriel.

18th December - O Adonai

In a few minutes we will sing the second great ‘O’ antiphon in Latin, just before the Magnificat. The translation in our breviaries reads:

O Adonai, and leader of Israel, you appeared to Moses in a burning bush, and gave him the law on Sinai. O come and save us with your mighty power.

17th December - O Wisdom

The first Advent ‘O Antiphon’, ‘O Wisdom’, is woven from the book of Wisdom of Sirach (24:3) and the book of Wisdom (8:1). The wisdom that has come from the mouth of the Most High is His Son, the eternal Word of God. As St. John of the Cross say, in this one Word that the Father spoke, there is hidden everything he had to say - all Divine Wisdom. According to it, he created the world, according to it, he rules it and saved it.
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