It takes hands to build a house, but only hearts can build a home.

Author Unknown

Friday, December 16, 2005

A Little Something Extra to Add to Your Advent Devotions

On the evening of December 17 the final phase of preparation for Christmas begins with the first of the great "O Antiphons" of Advent.

The "O Antiphons" were first used by the Church in the 8th and 9th centuries. They are based on various titles for the Christ and are scripturally-based short prayers for the 17th to the 23rd of December.

In these "O Antiphons" the Church expresses her deep longing for the coming of the Messiah.

It is especially in the final week of Advent that our attention is fixed on the messianic promises proclaimed by the ancient prophets of Israel.

The seven titles attributed to Jesus in the antiphons are Wisdom (Sapientia in Latin), Ruler of the House of Israel (Adonai), Root of Jesse (Radix), Key of David (Clavis), Rising Dawn (Oriens), King of the Gentiles (Rex). and Emmanuel. In Latin the initials of the titles make an acrostic which, when read backwards. means: "Tomorrow I will be there" ("Ero cras"). To the medieval mind this was clearly a reference to the approaching Christmas vigil

They can be prayed at family dinner times or with the lighting of the Advent wreath

For December 17th


O Sapentia 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." See Isaiah 11:2-3;28:29

Symbols: oil lamp, open book

For December 18th


O Adonai: "O Sacred Lord of ancient Israel, who showed yourself to the burning bush, who gave him the holy law on Sinai mountain: come, stretch out your might hand to set us free
Exodus 3:2, 20:1

Symbols: burning bush, stone tablets

For December 19th


O Radix Jesse: "O Flower of Jesse, you have been raised up as a sign for all peoples; kings stand silent in your presence; the nations bow down in worship before you. Come, let nothing keep you from coming to our aid." See Isaiah 11:10; Micah 5:1

Symbol: vine or plant with flower - especially a rose

For December 20th


O Clavis David: "O Key of David, O Royal Power of Israel controlling at your will the gate of heaven: Come, break down the prison walls of death for those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death; and lead your captive people into freedom." See Isaiah 9:6; 22:22

Symbols: key; broken chains.

For December 21st


O Oriens: "O Radiant Dawn, splendor of eternal light, sun of justice: come, shine on those who dwell in darkness and the shadow of death." See Isaiah 9:1-2

Symbol: rising sun

For December 22nd


O Rex Genitium: "O King of all the nations, the only joy of every human heart; O Keystone of the mighty arch of man, come and save the creatures you fashioned from the dust." See Isaiah 2:4

Symbols, Crown, scepter

For December 23rd


O Emmanuel, God is With Us: "O Emmanuel, king and lawgiver, desire of the nations, Savior of all people, come and set us free, Lord our God." See Isaiah 7:14

Symbols: tablets of stone, Chalice and Host

O, Come Let us Adore Him, Christ the Lord

'On Ya '

(May the JOY of the Lord be on You !)


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