Sunday, December 17, 2006

The First "O" Antiphon. . .

. . .begins this evening.

These antiphons are composites of biblical allusions and images. We are familiar with all of them because each opens a verse of the hymn, O Come, O Come, Emmanuel. Beginning this evening, O Sapientia, introduces the Magnificat, the gospel canticle of the Liturgy of the Hours.

Jesus personified Divine Wisdom (Sapientia).

Together with six other titles, Sapientia, is the first of seven messianic titles of Messiah Jesus. We await his return in glory, his Second Advent. This week we also prepare to celebrate his birthday as God-with-us, his First Advent, which was marked by most humble beginnings.

The first letter of these antiphons, which date from the medieval, monastic evening prayer, when spelled in the reverse order in which they appear, spell Ero cras, "I will be there on the morrow." Hence, the church's long practiced verse/response of Advent:
"Come Lord Jesus!"
"Come quickly!"

Photo by Andreas Praefcke Source: Wikimedia Commons; permission granted under GNU Free Documentation License

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