The O Antiphons

Tonight is the first of the seven "Golden Nights" of Advent (Dec. 17-23) in which the O Antiphons are traditionally prayed.  Known in English primarily by their versification in O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, the O Antiphons (so-called because each begins with "O") each address Jesus with a unique Messianic title from Old Testament prophecy.  Each antiphon is prayed--chanted or spoken--on its corresponding night this week:

* December 17: O Sapientia (O Wisdom)
* December 18: O Adonai (O Adonai)
* December 19: O Radix Jesse (O Root of Jesse)
* December 20: O Clavis David (O Key of David)
* December 21: O Oriens (O Dayspring)
* December 22: O Rex Gentium (O King of Nations)
* December 23: O Emmanuel (O Emmanuel)

Note that the first letters of each title form the Latin acrostic ERO CRAS ("I shall be [here] tomorrow") when read backwards from the 23rd.

I encourage you to make use of these prayers as part of your Advent devotionals.  I'll be posting each antiphon on its prescribed day, along with relevant Scripture passages.  Tonight's is included below, first in its original Latin, and then in English translation.

O Sapientia (O Wisdom)
Isaiah 11:2-3 / Proverbs 8 / I Corinthians 1:18-31

O Sapientia,Sapientia
quæ ex ore Altissimi prodiisti,
attingens a fine usque ad finem fortiter,
suaviterque disponens omnia:
veni ad docendum nos viam prudentiæ.

O Wisdom,
proceeding from the mouth of the Most High,
pervading and permeating all creation,
mightily ordering all things:
Come and teach us the way of prudence.

Update: Issues, Etc. has posted some fantastic audio commentary on the O Antiphons from Rev. Wil Weedon of St. Paul's Lutheran Church in Hamel, IL.  Click below to listen:

O Wisdom / O Adonai / O Root of Jesse / O Key of David
O Dayspring / O King of Nations / O Emmanuel

blog post |
Derek White

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